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March 2014

Priests offer advice to grow in faith this season

Some Catholics "give up" something for Lent as an act of self denial. Others introduce a new activity into their lives to grow in their faith.

The endeavors are meant to draw people closer to Christ as they prepare to commemorate his passion, death and resurrection.

What might priests suggest? The Catholic Voice spoke with four archdiocesan priests, and they offered this advice:


Ash Wednesday, prayer, penance and almsgiving open hearts to Christ

During Lent, the church encourages the faithful to open the doors of their lives to Christ - through prayer, penance and almsgiving - in order to dwell more closely with him.

For Father Michael Swanton, that involves stepping away from worldly concerns before moving forward.

"Throughout the year we get comfortable in our routines and our way of life, and sometimes we need to re-boot," said Father Swanton, pastor of St. Mary of the Seven Dolors in Osmond and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Randolph.

Ash Wednesday, prayer, penance and almsgiving open hearts to Christ

During Lent, the church encourages the faithful to open the doors of their lives to Christ - through prayer, penance and almsgiving - in order to dwell more closely with him.

For Father Michael Swanton, that involves stepping away from worldly concerns before moving forward.

"Throughout the year we get comfortable in our routines and our way of life, and sometimes we need to re-boot," said Father Swanton, pastor of St. Mary of the Seven Dolors in Osmond and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Randolph.

Open the doors to Christ

Prayer, penance and almsgiving are disciplines that help the faithful open the doors of their lives to Christ. And they are the pillars of Lenten preparation for commemorating the passion and resurrection of our Lord.

HELPING HANDS

Michelle Stinson of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha, left, prepares to pour grain into a funnel Feb. 19 as more than 300 parishioners package 15,000 meals bound for the west African nation Burkina Faso. Jennifer Peters, right, and her children, kindergartner Riley Peters and first-grader Leo Peters (in black), also help. Sixth-grade son, Owen Peters, is not shown. Religious education director Nicholas Emanuel spearheaded the effort.

POLAR PLUNGE

Juniors Sierra Shupe, left, Anna Winkeler and Anna Vasko lead the way Feb. 15 as 34 students and Spanish teacher Andrew Bauer from Marian High School join about 500 other people in a plunge into Lake Cunningham in Omaha to help raise money for Special Olympics Nebraska. The organization raised about $110,000 from donations given to participants in the event, including more than $6,000 from Marian's Polar Plunge Club.

REMARKABLE REPLICA

A wooden replica of Elgin's St. Boniface Church, on display in town Feb. 12, drew students from St. Boniface School and Pope John XXIII Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School, also in Elgin. Bill Parks, a Pope John graduate and member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Gretna, built the replica.

Catholic Charities raises $455,000

Catholic Charities of Omaha raised more than $455,000 March 1 at its annual Irish Fest benefit gala.

Held at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, the event - this year titled "Blazin' Shamrocks" - drew nearly 660 people and included dueling piano performers, a dinner and silent and live auctions.

Event chairs were Jean and Jim Ambrose and Theresa and Bob Gunia. Honorary chairs were Molly and Toby Schropp.

Jackson named K of C Agent of the Year

Kurt Jackson of St. Leonard Parish in Madison has been named Agent of the Year for the Pfeifer Agency of Knights of Columbus Insurance, which serves Knights members and their families in the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Jackson will be honored April 25-27 during the Knights' state convention in Kearney. He also is being recognized nationally for finishing 2013 as the company's No. 10 field agent, outperforming more than 1,200 agents in the United States and Canada.

MarianFest raises nearly $300,000

More than 550 people helped raise nearly $300,000 for tuition assistance at Marian High School in Omaha Feb. 22 at the 32nd annual MarianFest dinner and auction.

The auction's theme was "Live from Marian, It's Saturday Night!" with decorations similar to the set of the TV show "Saturday Night Live" and a registration table resembling the program's "Weekend Update" desk.

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