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LOCAL BRIEFS - April 15, 2005


Polish tribute celebrates pope
Omaha's Polish parish, St. Stanislaus, held a special prayer vigil for Pope John Paul II April 1, the night before he died. On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, the parish celebrated Mass for the pope, which included traditional Polish dress, prayers for the pope and this tribute, set before the altar.

College of St. Mary observes service day

More than 100 students, faculty and staff from College of Saint Mary observed the college's sixth annual Spirit of Service Day April 6 by volunteering at Omaha-area agencies.

This year's event was themed "One in Service to All," and included volunteers from the Omaha women's college reaching out to the Omaha Food Bank, Omaha 2000 child-care center, Joslyn Museum, Social Settlement, Metro Community College Adult Basic Education, AAA Pregnancy Counseling, all in Omaha, and the Micah House in Council Bluffs.

"This event is an annual means for us to engage in the 'compassionate service' that is one of the greatest traditions of the Sisters of Mercy," said Dr. Maryanne Stevens, president of College of Saint Mary. "With Spirit of Service Day, we help fulfill this institutional mission by doing important volunteer projects throughout the community."

School to help pupils in Sri Lanka

When the Home and School parent association at St. Wenceslaus School challenged pupils to raise money for tsunami relief, they received more than cash from the Omaha pupils.

In addition to the $4,638.75 collected in one day, pupils also committed to participate in a scholarship program assisting pupils on the tsunami-ravaged island of Sri Lanka.

St. Wenceslaus will sponsor 10 sixth-graders from St. Theresa Catholic School on Sri Lanka through a scholarship program called "Giving Friends International."

The Omaha pupils donated $1,500 from the money they collected to help educate the Sri Lanka pupils this year, and committed to raising an additional $1,500 a year for four years to continue the scholarships.

In return, the pupils at St. Wenceslaus will receive correspondence from the scholarship recipients and have the opportunity to learn about their culture.

The remaining money that pupils collected was donated to Catholic Relief Services along with $1,000 the Home and School parent association contributed in matching funds.

Omaha pupils assist diabetes association

Pupils at St. Joan of Arc/St. Gerald Middle School in Omaha raised more than $750 for the American Diabetes Association out of concern for peers affected by the disease.

The money was raised through an April 3 bake sale held at St. Gerald Catholic Church in Ralston. The funds will be used to help finance research, teach people how to manage their diabetes and protect the rights of all people affected by diabetes.

The pupils also will participate in a walk/run for the American Diabetes Association in partnership with the Creighton University Medical School in Omaha April 16 at Lake Zorinsky.

Sacred Heart honors two at 'The Gathering'

Dave Erker and Maria Sauvageau were honored April 2 at "The Gathering," a fund-raising dinner for Sacred Heart School in Omaha.

Erker, senior vice president of Union Bank and Trust, received the Kenefick Award for his dedication and leadership as chairman of the 2004 CUES Corporate Drive fund raiser.

Sauvageau was honored as the Heart Award recipient for donating her time and support to the pupils of Sacred Heart for many years.

In his student address, Sacred Heart eighth-grader Allen Tunstall told the 650 guests about his experience at Sacred Heart and his goals after graduating from the school.

The benefit dinner, held at Creighton Prep High School in Omaha, was sponsored by the Christian Urban Education Service with the theme "Reflections of the Heart."

Honorary chairs for the evening were Congressman Tom and Nancy Osborne. Event co-chairs were Bart and Jane McLeay, Scott and Colleen Schmidt and Paul and Annette Smith.

Catholic students to gather in Fremont

Catholic students from colleges and universities around Nebraska will gather April 23 at St. Patrick Church in Fremont to discuss witnessing to the Catholic faith at a non-Catholic university.

Students will meet from 2-8 p.m. for the 2005 College Catholic Gathering. The day will include various student-led activities as well as a Mass and dinner.

Participating will be students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Dana College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Wayne State College and Metro Community College. All students are welcome and should bring comfortable clothes, a Bible, friends, a notebook, pen and a donation for dinner.

For more information, contact Mike at Dana College at 402-690-2160, Sophie at Wayne State College at 402-375-6874, or MJ at the University of Nebraska at Omaha at 402-319-6726.

Local pupils win top 3 speech spots

Three Omaha-area Catholic school pupils took top honors April 9 in a district speech contest sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America.

Placing first with her presentation on this year's topic, "A Great Time in American History," was Shelby Seier, a seventh-grader at St. Pius X/St. Leo School.

Seier won a $50 cash award and a trophy. Her school also received a trophy.

Taking second was Sara Lang, a sixth-grader from St. Cecilia School, while Ian Bless, a fifth-grader from Blessed Sacrament School, was third. Lang and Bless also received trophies.

The speech contest is one of six Youth Educational Programs Modern Woodmen, a national provider of fraternal financial services and programs, offers to schools nationwide. Nearly 100,000 pupils compete in the contest each year.

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