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If I had this list, these three ladies would be on it

Check out some of the so-called news sites online and you’ll often find as many lists as news stories. You’ll learn about the best places to retire, the best hamburger in each state, the most inexpensive weekend getaways, the most popular action heroes, the best college quarterbacks of the 1990s. And there are new lists every day … sometimes more often.

Of course, it’s difficult to blame these so called news sites; the lists are part of their entertainment package, part of what draws traffic to the site. And besides, we all have our lists – our bucket lists, our favorite music or books, our favorite vacation spots, our favorite sports teams … the list is almost endless.

One list I don’t have, but probably should, is a list of people I’d like to meet. Pope Francis would be at the top of my list and basketball legend Larry Bird would be a given. Others might include former First Lady Barbara Bush, Father Ron Rolheiser, filmmaker Ron Howard and journalist Bob Woodward.

But the list also would include people not so well known, perhaps known only by their families and circle of friends. And based on Senior Writer Mike May’s "Mercy" story on Page 9, I’d like to add Marilyn White, Donna Foxhoven and Joan Koch to my list.

The ladies were a little camera shy, so May’s story, part of the final installment of his series on mercy, doesn’t include a photo of these ladies. But the story paints a picture of three back-to-the-basics servants of the Lord.

They are part of the funeral luncheon ministry at St. Michael Parish in South Sioux City. And since almost every parish has a funeral luncheon ministry, every parish probably also has a Marilyn, Donna and Joan.

In the story, you’ll find three women who are dedicated to what they do, something that’s evident both in their years of service and how they talk about this special ministry. That ministry goes well beyond providing sandwiches, potato salad, chips, a veggie tray and an array of desserts you find only at funeral luncheons.

Marilyn and Donna talked about how the food is prepared and offered in love and support, and how food, often at the center of family celebrations, provides a sense of comfort as a family gathers in grief. While they don’t necessarily attend the funeral or go to the cemetery, they agreed the funeral luncheon ministry is a big part of the corporal work of mercy to bury the dead. It’s a ministry of compassion, kindness and faith.

And this unsung and often overlooked ministry serves people almost every day thanks to Marilyn, Donna and Joan, along with the 50 or so others at St. Michael, and the hundreds of others throughout the archdiocese.



In the fall of 2012, the Catholic Voice began appearing in classrooms across the archdiocese. With this issue, Catholic Voice in the Classroom begins its fifth year, with more than 1,600 copies of the newspaper mailed to more than 70 schools and religious education programs in the archdiocese.

An estimated 8,000 – probably more – students will take part in the program, using the Catholic Voice as a resource for religion, social studies, English and journalism classes. And very creative math teachers might even find a way to use the newspaper.

While the participation of teachers, catechists and students drives the program, it wouldn’t happen without the sponsors who underwrite the administration and promotion of the program.

Our thanks goes out to those sponsors who continue to support this special program: the State Council Nebraska Knights of Columbus, Creighton University, AC Lightning Protection, Inc., U.S. Bank and Woodhouse Auto Family.

The Catholic Voice thanks you … the students thank you.


Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at

The Catholic Voice

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