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November 18, 2005

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>> A roundup of news from around the archdiocese

Celebrating women religious
Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss greets a table of women religious at the Oct. 29 gathering of women religious in Omaha. The event, hosted by the West Omaha Serrans, included a special Mass and recognition brunch at Happy Hollow Country Club in Omaha. A record 150 guests attended the annual gathering.


Woman didn't believe call on house lottery

When Kathi Jensen received a call telling her she had just won the St. Stephen the Martyr Church house lottery, she thought it was a prank call.

'I had to check the caller ID," said Jensen about the 10 p.m. Nov. 5 call telling her she was the winner.

For her $50 ticket, Jensen, who lives not far from the church with her husband, Steve, won a three-bedroom house in the Mission Park neighborhood at 5619 S. 169th St. The home is valued at about $250,000.

The winning ticket was drawn at the church's annual Martyr Magic fund-raising dinner and auction. Jensen had planned to be at the dinner, but did not make it.

I wanted to be there to see the look on the winner's face, said Jensen. 'I thought it would be exciting. I never dreamed it would be me."

More than 7,100 tickets were sold in the lottery, which included a second prize of $5,000 and a third prize of $1,000.

Money raised by the lottery and the dinner will be used to reduce the debt at the church, which is currently the largest Catholic parish in Nebraska with more than 3,000 registered families and 12,000 members, said Father James Tiegs, St. Stephen the Martyr pastor.

The house was constructed on a lot donated by a couple who have grandchildren attending St. Stephen the Martyr School. Melvin Sudbeck and Jim Stover, St. Stephen the Martyr parishioners and professional homebuilders, supervised the construction process.

The 1,850-square-foot ranch-style home features a three-car garage, a master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower, a great room with a tiled fireplace, wood and ceramic tile floors and a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and a walk-in pantry.

Jensen purchased the ticket, but had never toured the house until the day after her name was drawn. 'It is a beautiful home," she said. She now has the choice of accepting the house or $100,000 in cash.

The lottery could not have been possible without volunteers involved, said Joan Stover, development director. 'We are grateful for the support of our volunteers, for the builders, our parishioners and all the people who sold and bought tickets."


Successful Honey Sunday for Madonna School

Madonna School conducted its annual Honey Sunday fundraiser Nov. 6.

Volunteers sold honey bears at various locations throughout the city for $4 each and raised $5,500 to benefit Madonna School.

For over 30 years, Honey Sunday has been a fundraiser for people in the Madonna School community with cognitive disabilities. This year, Madonna School partnered with Ollie Webb Center to organize this event.

Patron saints alive at O'Neill elementary

Fourth grade students from St. Mary's Elementary School in O'Neill brought saints to life Nov. 1 in a parade of saints program after Mass on All Saint's Day.

The students researched, wrote and memorized reports on their patron saints and dressed as their patron saint for the presentation.

The parade of saints program has been a long tradition at St. Mary's. Fourth grade teacher, Peg Wettlaufer remembered how she enjoyed dressing as her patron saint when she was a fourth grader at St. Mary's and started the tradition again 14 years ago.

Theater group uses grant to fight violence

An Omaha theater group has received a grant to provide violence prevention theatre programs to Catholic schools involved in CORE (Catholic OutReach for Education) programs.

The McAuley Ministry Fund $20,000 grant was supplemented by a grant from the John and Carol Maginn Family Foundation to provide educational theatre, materials, programs and training for students, parents and teachers this fall.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T² "“ Relationship Empowerment for Students Parents Educators and Community Through Theatre "“ is a non-profit organization that has provided programs to more than 80,000 students across Nebraska and Iowa since 2001. The program includes professional Omaha actors and five plays written by staff and the actors.

Core schools include Holy Name, Blessed Sacrament, Ss. Peter and Paul, Sacred Heart, St. Bernard, Assumption/Guadalupe, All Saints and St. Richard. The funds will provide 24 educational theatre programs to teach students how to handle bullying and various forms of violent and abusive relationships. Additional sessions for students, parents and teachers also are being scheduled.

The McAuley Ministry Fund sponsored a 'Retreat About Respect" for core school seventh and eighth graders Oct. 25. Plays and programs began in August and are ongoing this semester. For more information call 930-2001 or go to

Pantry reaps rewards of successful haunted house

Sixth graders from St. Mary School in O'Neill and their teacher, Mrs. Nancy Berg, held the annual Haunted House, but this year they decided to help others with the proceeds.

Students spent the $108 from the Haunted House on food, cleaning products, and hygiene products for the local Central Nebraska Community Service Food Pantry.

 $50,000 fund drive underway for school

Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School in Elgin has set a goal of $50,000 for its annual fund drive.

The money will be used to support operating expenses of the school, said Father Daniel R. Andrews, president of Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School.

The school is asking parents, alumni and friends of Pope John to be part of their teaching ministry by contributing to the fund.


Federal grant ties agencies together

Catholic Charities will provide domestic violence intervention services to women, training to program partners, referral services and general social work, as part of a federal grant involving several agencies.

The $849,000 federal grant, administered through Legal Aid of Nebraska, will help Nebraskans in abusive situations, especially women, mothers and children. The services will be delivered by a partnership with social services organizations.

Doug German, Legal Aid executive director, hailed the grant and its 'unique collaboration" among several groups working together to provide a range of services. Participating groups include Catholic Charities, Lutheran Family Services, the YWCA and Heartland Family Services.

'This grant recognizes that Legal Aid and each of these groups has its own special role to play in battling domestic violence," said German. 'The social services groups now will be able to better address the social issues while Legal Aid of Nebraska addresses the legal matters."

Through Catholic Charities' Latino Resource Center in South Omaha, Hispanic Women who are in domestic violence situations will be identified and referred to Legal Aid when services such as protection orders or legal representation are needed, said Scot Adams, Catholic Charities executive director.

Catholic Charities also will assist in the training of lawyers, Adams said.

The Violence Against Women grant money establishes a unique partnership among faith-based and secular groups, he said. 'The key is that we all know our roles and responsibilities and that becomes our strength in the delivery of these important services."


Sister Clark to make perpetual profession

Sister Carole Ann Clark, OSB, will profess her final vows Dec. 3 in the chapel of Immaculata Monastery in Norfolk.

Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss will preside at the 10:30 a.m. Mass and Father Harold Buse will give the homily.

Sister Clark was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, and raised in David City. She attended Neumann College in Wichita and graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

She taught in many elementary schools in Nebraska as well as Kansas until 1997 and was married to Paul J. Clark of York for 27 years until his death in 1995.

Sister Clark then spent two years as a lay missionary in Tanzania, East Africa. It was during her ministry with the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Ndanda, Tanzania, that she experienced the call to religious life.

Since joining the Norfolk Priory, Sister Clark has worked as the monastery's facility coordinator and has instructed foreign sisters in English.

Sister Clark has three daughters, Ann (Todd) Robbins of Omaha, Paula (Paul) Brungardt and Amy (Jeff) Meier both of Kearney. She also has eight grandchildren.

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