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LOCAL BRIEFS - January 21, 2005


Seminarian dinner

Father Ralph O'Donnell (center), director of the Vocation Office for the Archdiocese of Omaha, looks on as Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss greets seminarian Chris Meiergerd, who attends Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., at the archbishop's annual dinner for seminarians. The event, held Dec. 21 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, was atteneded by 115, including semininarians, priests and Serrans. Sponsored by the West Omaha Serra Club, the evening began with a prayer service in the cathedral.

Beckman retires after 36 years of service

A 36-year career with Catholic Charities of Omaha ended, Jan. 7 with the retirement of Mary Ann Beckman.

Beckman began working at Catholic Charities in 1968 as a nurse to supervise the care of children at St. James Orphanage. She retired as the senior director for community services, overseeing community outreach programs at the Juan Diego and Latina Resource Centers in south Omaha and St. Martin de Porres in north Omaha.

Scot Adams, executive director of Catholic Charities, said Beckman's "generous spirit, non-judgmental, loving and caring nature" have been an inspiration to many and a model of Christian charity and love.

"She dedicated her life and career to serving the poor, the disheartened and the disenfranchised," he said.

Workshop examines 'difficult situations'

"Working with Difficult Situations in the Pastoral Setting," is the topic of a workshop planned for March 3 at St. Patrick's Church in Fremont.

The presenter, Sister Donna Markham, OP, has given presentations throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Egypt and Europe, and to the Pontifical Council on Health Care at the Vatican.

Sister Markham is considered an authority on the topics of organization transformation, resistance to change, community building and problem solving.

The workshop, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is designed for priests, deacon couples, diocesan leadership, parish staff members and lay leaders. Cost is $17 per person with lunch being offered for $8.

Gross Catholic takes first at decathlon challenge

Students from Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School used a recent decathlon to flex their academic muscles.

The Omaha school's academic decathlon team finished first at the Jan. 10 River Cities Conference Academic Decathlon Challenge held at V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha

The team, composed of Brian Rodenhausen, Kara Ryks, Tami Liechti, Megan Bystrom, Cameron Tysor, Bob Orsi, Colin Dorwart, Ben Peterson and Stephen Wendover, also took first place in the Super Quiz on the subject of astronomy.

Christmas Mass held at correctional center

A multicultural Christmas Mass was celebrated for prisoners at the Platte County Correctional Center in Columbus.

Mary Jo VanAckeren, a member of St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus, helped organize the Mass as part of the prison ministry she's been doing on a volunteer basis since 1986.

The Mass included live music and was celebrated by Father Bill Bond, associate pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Schuyler, assisted by Deacon Kelly McGowan of St. Anthony Parish in Columbus.

Parts of the Mass were said in Spanish and inmates from many different cultures attended.

VanAckeren said it's important for inmates to hear the word of God.

"One message that can be very comforting is of a God that forgives even if they don't forgive themselves," she said.

Mount Michael now a national partner

Mount Michael Benedictine School in Elkhorn has joined a select group of boarding schools from around the nation.

The all-male school recently was named a Pathways to Success Partner School by the Commonweal Foundation of Silver Spring, Md., joining an approved group of 25 other independent partner boarding schools across the nation.

The Pathways to Success Program assists students by awarding scholarships to attend boarding schools. Award amounts are based on need on a case-by-case basis.

The school is operated by the Benedictine monastic community of Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey.

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