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December 2013

Family keeps Christ center of Advent with daily prayer, faith-filled traditions

Mel and Susan Schrader steep their family in faith-filled traditions during Advent as they strive to keep their focus on Jesus in preparing for Christmas.

The family - members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish near Gretna - gathers each night for prayer, goes to reconciliation at the beginning and end of the season, leads and participates in music ministry at Christmas Eve Masses and reaches out to people in need through charitable acts.

Prepare the way of the Lord

"See the Lord coming from afar. His splendor fills the earth." - Liturgy of the Hours antiphon from the first week of Advent.

Every Saturday evening during Advent, 28 Missionary Benedictine Sisters gather around a large Advent wreath decorated with evergreen boughs and ribbons in the chapel at their priory in Norfolk.

They light the wreath's candles - one for each week as Advent progresses - and devote their prayers to preparing for the coming of the Messiah at Christmas.

New youth program builds community through small groups

Creating lifelong disciples to spread the message of Christ is the goal of a youth ministry program coming to the archdiocese in January.

Based on intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral formation - the same process used in seminaries during priestly formation - YDisciple features small groups of high school students meeting about 90 minutes once a week over four years under the guidance of adult leaders - often parents - who serve as mentors, said Jen Moser, coordinator of youth ministry in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

New youth program builds community through small groups

Creating lifelong disciples to spread the message of Christ is the goal of a youth ministry program coming to the archdiocese in January.

Based on intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral formation - the same process used in seminaries during priestly formation - YDisciple features small groups of high school students meeting about 90 minutes once a week over four years under the guidance of adult leaders - often parents - who serve as mentors, said Jen Moser, coordinator of youth ministry in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

Teens find community at national conference

Sharing the faith with nearly 23,000 people from across the country was a powerful highlight of the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), said local teens and leaders who attended the biennial event in Indianapolis.

About 275 high school students and 85 adults from the archdiocese traveled on seven buses to the Nov. 21-23 conference, said Jen Moser, archdiocesan coordinator of youth ministry.

Teens find community at national conference

Sharing the faith with nearly 23,000 people from across the country was a powerful highlight of the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), said local teens and leaders who attended the biennial event in Indianapolis.

About 275 high school students and 85 adults from the archdiocese traveled on seven buses to the Nov. 21-23 conference, said Jen Moser, archdiocesan coordinator of youth ministry.

Omaha woman marks 30-years-plus of caroling for seniors

Nearly every Christmas for more than 30 years, Jane Wernimont of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Omaha has donned a sweater adorned for the holidays and spent a December afternoon caroling for senior citizens.

She plans to do the same thing Dec. 15 as part of the 39th annual Omaha Holiday Caroling Festivities - which will include Sally Ganem, wife of Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, former Nebraska running back Calvin Jones and many other politicians, sports celebrities and musicians among some 300 people of all faiths who sing each year.

Archbishop's Appeal registers quick start

Just two months into the latest effort, 59 parishes have reached their pledge goals in the Archbishop's Annual Appeal, seven more than this time last year, an appeal official said.

This year's goal is $3.25 million, which will fund 22 percent of the archdiocese's budget. Helping support sacramental preparation, youth ministry programs, Catholic education and seminarians, the campaign's impact reaches all parishes, schools and archdiocesan ministries, said Kaitlyn Maloney, archdiocesan stewardship and development coordinator.

Annual collection aids retired religious, priests

Rather than marking the end of her ministry, retirement for Sister of Mercy Johanna Burnell simply meant a change in focus.

Sister Burnell, 75, stepped away from the work world last year after a long career in education - including 21 years as president of Mercy High School in Omaha. Now, she devotes her time to volunteer work and prayer ministry, also in Omaha.

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