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October 21, 2005

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>> A roundup of news from around the archdiocese

St. Columbkille School creates care packages
Thanks to the generosity of parish families and the time of St. Columbkille School in Papillion students, more than 100 care packages were created to send to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The care packages were created with hygiene in mind, each package including shampoo, toothpaste, a toothbrush, anti-bacterial cleanser and combs. Some of the students working on the project included (from left) Carson Ashburn, Nick Hefflefinger, Landen Weisbeck, Hailey Weisbeck, Kendra Ashburn and Megan Hefflefinger.


Terri Schiavo's parents to speak in Omaha

Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo, will be speaking in Omaha Nov. 1 as part of Pro Sanctity's All Saint's Day celebration.

Schiavo was at the center of an end-of-life controversy when she died March 31, 2005 after having her feeding tube removed.

The theme for the Pro Sanctity movement this year is Saints in Every Vocation. 'We thought the Schindlers were the obvious choice to exemplify our theme," said Teresa Monaghen, national director. 'They have taught us so much about trusting God no matter what."

The Schindlers will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 72nd and Grover streets, Omaha. The evening will close with brief comments and a prayer by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss.

Organizers note that 100 percent of the Schindler's speaker fee goes to the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation for the protection of the vulnerable disabled.

The celebration of All Saint's Day begins Oct. 31 with a holy hour at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Omaha at 8 p.m. Father Joe Hanefeldt will preside at the service that includes Eucharistic adoration, communal prayer and music.

Tickets are available at Gloria Deo Bookstore, KVSS Radio Station, Pro Sanctity Retreat Center and on-line at

Youth group holds annual Haunted Forest

Dangerous Minds, the youth group from St. Mary Parish in West Point, is once again this year holding its annual fund-raiser, "“ the Haunted Forrest.

The Haunted Forrest, open Friday and Saturday nights, Oct. 21 and 22 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., was created by 100 members of Dangerous Minds at Brian and Mary Kreikemeier's farm, eight miles southwest of West Point.

Not only do students prowl the forest and scare people, they also help run the concessions stand and the kid's games in the 90-year-old barn where the forest-goers wait for their turn to be scared.

'There are a lot of hours spent preparing for this," said Cheryl Kreikemeier, the group's leader. 'It's a great time to see the members of the group brainstorm and then work hard to make it all happen."

Money raised from the event will be used to help students attend the national Catholic Youth Conference at the end of October.

Admission is $6 and all ages are welcome. For more information visit

3 tons of food donated to pantries

Food Bonanza donated three tons of food to Catholic Charities' food pantries as part of its grand opening celebration Oct. 19.

Representatives from Food Bonanza and Catholic Charities attended the celebration.

Food Bonanza, a national chain, is located at 2900 Leavenworth.


Weier finishes third in national poetry contest

Lisa Weier of Hartington earned third place honors in the national level of the Catholic Daughters of the America's Education Contest Poetry Division for her poem entitled, 'I Can Make a Difference."

Weier, an eighth grader at Cedar Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Hartington, entered the contest through the local CDA court Hartington #457. She won the local and state events to qualify for nationals.

Weier is the daughter of Jerry and Adrienne Weier of Hartington.

Student's persistence pays off for orphanage

As a result of the persistence of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart senior Emily Schulte, Creighton University's Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) program is receiving a $5,000 First Data Western Union Foundation grant.

The grant money will be used to purchase medical equipment for Hogar Luby, an orphanage for severely handicapped children in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Schulte was inspired to help the orphanage because of her experiences during a Dominican Republic service trip with Duchesne Academy and ILAC in 2004.

She heard about the First Data Western Union Foundation grant from her father Bob Schulte, an executive with First Data Corporation, and decided the orphanage would be a prefect candidate.

Since applying for the grant needed an organizational effort, Schulte contacted ILAC director Terri Lynch about her idea. 'She bugged me several times," said Lynch. 'At home, at work, she was really persistent."

Lynch completed the grant application, which included an essay from Schulte about the needs at the orphanage. 'Even the orphanage director in the Dominican Republic cried when he read it," said Lynch.

First Data awarded its check at a reception at Duchesne Academy Oct. 3. Representatives from ILAC in Santiago, Dominican Republic were on hand to accept the check.

Fifth grader donates hair to Locks of Love

Sophia Deseck dsiplays the 10 inches of her hair she donated to Locks of Love.

When she heard about the Locks of Love program, Sophia Deseck, a fifth grader at St. Bernadette School, decided to put her long hair to good use,

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children 18 or younger suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

In a special assembly for the third through sixth grade students, Denise Anderson, a hairdresser from Hair on Q, did the honors by cutting off 10 inches of Deseck's hair.

'I want to help people who are suffering," said Deseck. 'It feels good to help others."

Susanne Nuss, a nurse from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, spoke to the students about what cancer is, its causes, and how and why Locks of Love needs people such as Deseck to donate their hair.

Deseck is the daughter of Dale and Yessica Deseck of St. Bernadette Parish.

Pro Sanctity members given annual awards

Two annual awards were presented to Pro Sanctity members last month, after a membership Mass on the Feast of the Archangels at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Omaha.

The Spirit pf Bishop Giaquinta Award was presented to Len and Rita Higgins, and the volunteer of the year award was presented to Greg Gaddie, Web master of Pro Sanctity's site.

The Mass was concelebrated by Father Frank Jindra, spiritual director of the local board and Father Mark Bridgman. Both priests are affiliated with Pro Sanctity through the priestly confraternity of Apostolic Sodales.

Kay Parlor, who is the new director of the local board, welcomed all participants, and members were given blessed membership pins and packets containing a variety of prayer and holy cards.

Pro Sanctity is an international movement made up of laity, consecrated and ordained members who strive to promote the universal call to holiness in daily life.

Winners recognized in 'hero' essay contest

Five students from Omaha area Catholic schools won top honors in the American Red Cross' 'hero" essay contest. The students were selected based on essays they wrote last spring.

Winners included Veronica Hrovat and Joanne Stimson, St. Mary School in Bellevue; Kelly Wieczorek, St. Thomas More School in Omaha; and Jen Branhall and Matt Salerno, St. Vincent de Paul School in Omaha.

The students were recognized last month during the sixth annual Heroes in the Heartland breakfast, sponsored by First National Bank, Mutual of Omaha and Union Pacific. Each winner was awarded a $100 cash prize.

Many of the essays 'were about heroes that resided in the writer's own family," said Carol Russell, event chairperson. 'That simple fact illustrates one of the main tenets of the Heroes in the Heartland philosophy, and that is that heroes are all around us."

Eight Servants of Mary celebrate anniversaries

Eight Servants of Mary were honored for jubilee anniversaries of 50 or more years at an Oct. 2 celebration.

The celebration included a Mass with vow renewal at the Servants of Mary chapel and a reception at Marian High School.

Jubilarians celebrating anniversaries included Sisters Veronica Marie Balazs and Mary Celeste Lawler, 70 years; Mary Lucy Bottosto, 60 years; Barbara Bouchard, Carol Claussen, Carolyn Foley, Mary Esther Joyce and Dolores Kriegler, 50 years.

A teacher for many years, Sister Balazs is currently providing prayer ministry and community service at the Servants of Mary motherhouse in Omaha.

Sister Lawler has ministered as a teacher at schools in Anthon, Iowa, Detroit, Denver, Fairview Heights, Ill., and Omaha. She currently provides prayer ministry and community service at the Servants of Mary motherhouse in Omaha.

Having served in housekeeping for parishes in Omaha, Sioux City, Detroit and St. Louis, Sister Bottosto is currently providing prayer ministry and community service at the Servants of Mary motherhouse in Omaha.

A teacher in schools in Omaha, Sioux City, Detroit and Denver, Sister Bouchard also served as a group home manager for community administrative services at Durson House in Detroit. She currently ministers as the intake/program manager for Heartline in Detroit.

Sister Claussen's work as a teacher took her to Jamaica where she served for 20 years. She is currently a resource teacher at Holy Name School in Omaha.

A teacher, assistant principal and principal for many schools in the area, including Head of School for Marian High School, Sister Foley also served as a Servants of Mary Provincial Councilor for five years. She is currently providing campus ministry to Mount Michael High School in Elkhorn.

Schools in Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Sioux City and Omaha were stops in Sister Joyce's teaching ministry. She currently provides prayer ministry and community service at the motherhouse.

Sister Kriegler has served as a teacher, principal, secretary to Archbishop Daniel Sheehan, chancery secretary and served as a business office assistant and archives assistant for the motherhouse. She currently volunteers as a secretary for Jesuit Middle School in Omaha.


Teen band enhances Mass participation

Teens at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Blair have another opportunity to get involved at Mass thanks to the Power of Praise (POP) band.

Fifteen singers and six musicians make up the band, which serves as music ministers at the second Sunday of each month's 10 a.m. Mass. They also perform in the parish's annual dinner theater and Christmas Mass.

'I feel strongly about getting kids involved in the parish, we are grooming the future members of the parish," said Susan Juza, director and founder of POP.

The band has been well received by the parish community, 'It is a wonderful experience to be able to have young people encouraging us to use our gifts and talents to sing," said Father Al Salanitro, pastor at St. Francis Borgia.

Current members of the POP band are Alyssa Arlauskas, Ashley Belsky, Kelsey Dawson, Liam Dawson, Jason Harris, Brent Horky, Ben Johnson, Callie Johnson, Stephen Juza, Brian Kellog, Scott Kellogg, Matt Klimek, Andrew Morgan, Chris Reznicek, Amy Sand, Carissa Stier, Michelle Stier and Zach Weishaar.

Mass held to honor people with special needs

St. Joan of Arc parish honored people with special needs and disabilities with a Mass and dinner Oct. 15.

More than 300 people attended the Mass, which was concelebrated by Father Carl Sodoro, pastor of St. Joan of Arc, and Father Eugene Jakubek, SJ, of Creighton University. Father Jakubek spoke of the closeness between people with special needs and God in his homily.

People with special needs and their families were invited from all parishes and communities in Omaha, Lincoln and Iowa.

Music was provided by the bell and chime choir composed of young adults with special needs and under the direction of Ginger Britt.

The Mass was held 'to honor the courage and positive attitudes (people with special needs) demonstrate each and everyday," said Margaret Benak, co-coordinator of Eucharistic liturgy for special needs. 'They teach everyone they meet beautiful lessons in living while overcoming many obstacles."

The dinner after Mass was prepared by the Human Needs Committee of St. Joan of Arc and the Knights of Columbus.

Confirmation classes participates in pilgrimage

The confirmation classes from Dodge and Howells held their annual pilgrimage Oct. 16, traveling to Winnebago and Sioux City.

This is the 11th year the classes "“ from St. Wenceslaus Parish in Dodge and St. John Nepomucene and Ss. Peter and Paul parishes in Howells "“ have come together for a pilgrimage.

In Winnebago, The group attended Mass celebrated by Father Dave Korth, pastor of St. Augustine Parish.

Sarah Berridge also spoke to the group about Native American customs, challenges faced by Winnebago Native Americans, her own experiences growing up in Winnebago and the joy she finds living as a Catholic.

In Sioux City, the group went to Trinity Heights, where the students toured the Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel and participated in the rosary around the statue of Mary. Each student was given a rosary and prayer card with the prayers of the rosary on it.

The group included 21 candidates from Dodge and 23 candidates from Howells.


Mount Michael invites Sports Night nominations

Congressman Tom Osborne, former University of Nebraska football coach, will be the featured speaker at Mount Michael Benedictine High School's Sports Night dinner.

Set for Feb. 4, 2006, Sports Night recognizes the role of sports in the development of youth and honors the dedication, time and patience of volunteer coaches.

Nominees for coaching honors should be long-time volunteer (non-paid) coaches committed to youth sports. These coaches should be active in coaching below the high school level and should be dedicated and committed to the development of youth. Nominees need not necessarily be Catholic or coach for a Catholic school.

Send nominations to Brother James Pope, Mount Michael Benedictine School, 22520 Mount Michael Road, Elkhorn, Neb. 68022 or

Seating for this event is limited and tickets are $100. Call 289-2541 extension 1203 or 1204 for more information.

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