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LOCAL BRIEFS - July 15, 2005


Archdiocese provides leadership training

The Archdiocese of Omaha is bringing a national leadership training program for youth ministry to local parish and school leaders.

The Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies, offered in conjunction with the Center for Ministry Development, provides a ministry education for youth ministry, campus ministry and religious education leaders. The program combines resources for youth ministry theory, skills and practice.

Courses for the upcoming year include: Principles of Youth Ministry, Sept. 10-11; Practices of Youth Ministry, Nov. 12-13; Foundations for Ministry Leadership, Feb. 4-5, 2006; Skills for Ministry Leadership, March 25-26, 2006.

Special team rates are available. For more information contact Rita Ramos at 402-554-8493.

St. Joseph listing omitted one pastor

In a story published in the June 10 issue of The Catholic Voice, a list of pastors who have served St. Joseph Parish in Pierce was incomplete.

The name of Father Eldon McKamy, who served the parish as pastor from 1972 to 1974, was inadvertently omitted.

Father McKamy is currently serving as chaplain at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore.

Open house to honor 50 years of service

An open house recognizing Sister Angela Erevia, MCDP, for her golden jubilee is set for July 31 at the St. Rose Parish Hall, 4102 S. 13th St. in Omaha.

The Archdiocese of Omaha Permanent Diaconate Community will host the 3 to 5 p.m. event.

To RSVP, contact Barb Baughman at 558-3100 or Erika Hanson at

Servants of Mary install leadership team

The American Province of the Servants of Mary is under new leadership.

Sister Virginia Silverstri, the new prioress provincial of the Servants of Mary, was among four leadership team members installed at a prayer service June 5 at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent Chapel in Omaha.

The new team also includes Sister Margaret Stratman, assistant provincial, and two councilors – Sister Nancy Marsh and Sister Barbara Kennedy.

The outgoing leadership team – Sister Jean Morrow, prioress provincial; Sister Doris Durant, assistant provincial; and Sisters Sarah Deeby and Imelda Kirkey, councillors – also was honored at the prayer service.

The service was attended by Sister Rose Chang, prioress general of the international congregation of the Servants of Mary.

The new leadership team, which will serve a five-year term, is responsible for the administration and leadership of the American Province of the Servants of Mary,

Sister Silverstri entered the Servants of Mary in 1961 and spent 26 years as a teacher at Holy Name and Marian schools in Omaha.

A native of Omaha and a graduate of Holy Name High School, Sister Stratman has been a Servant of Mary for 40 years and served for a time as a campus minister at Marian High School.

Sister Marsh joined the Servants of Mary almost 47 years ago and is currently a part-time chaplain at Immanuel hospital in Omaha.

Sister Kennedy began her ministry teaching at St. James in Omaha. She obtained her degree in counseling from Creighton University.

Notre Dame Sisters select leadership team

A new leadership team has been selected for the Omaha province of the Notre Dame Sisters.

Serving a term of four years will be Provincial President Sister Celeste Wobeter and her councillors – Sisters Rosalee Burke, Mary Kay Meagher and Rita Ostry, who served on the previous team.

The team will be installed at a 2 p.m. prayer service July 31. The outgoing team includes Sister Margaret Hickey, who served as president, and Sisters Jan Ludvik and Anita Rolenc, councillors.

Sister Celeste earned a bachelor of science degree in math and science from Duchesne College in Omaha and has served at St. Therese's in Omaha and St. Wenceslaus in Dodge. She was pastoral associate at St. Patrick Parish in Fremont for 22 years.

Sister Burke earned a B.A. in English from College of St. Mary, a master's in speech communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's in pastoral ministry from Creighton University.

She taught at Notre Dame Academy and Roncalli Catholic High School, where she recently served as development officer. She also served as director of pastoral development for the archdiocese and as pastoral associate at St. Gerald Parish in Ralston.

An assistant professor of nursing at Creighton University the past 10 years, Sister Meagher has served with the Visiting Nurse Association and the Indian Chicano Health Center.

Sister Ostry holds a bachelor of science degree in education and a master of science degree in social work, both from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has taught at Ss. Peter and Paul in Howells and St. Adalbert and Assumption in Omaha. Sister Ostry is a member of the Omaha Archdiocesan Social Ministry Commission.

Omaha sister named to Sisters of Mercy leadership

Sister Patricia McDermott of the Omaha Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy has been named to the new leadership team of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, located in Silver Springs, Md.

Sister McDermott will serve the leadership team as vice-president.

The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas is an international community of sisters serving 25 regional communities with more than 4,600 members and 2,600 associates.

Serra Club of Omaha names officers

Ronald Bobka is the new president of the Serra Club of Omaha. A member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Omaha, he had been vice president of programs and served on numerous club committees the past 10 years.

Kevin Cooper, a parishioner at St. Leo Church in Omaha, was chosen as president-elect and will serve as vice president for programs for 2005-06.

Other officers are: Dale Kreher, vice president for affirmation; Dick Bene, vice president of vocations recruitment; Tim O'Neill, vice president of vocation committees; Bette Harken, vice president of membership; Geri Stratman, vice president of communications; Bill Ramsey, vice president of public relations; Sheila Haggas, secretary; and Jim Taphorn, treasurer.

Serra International is an organization of Catholic laymen and women that foster and affirm vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life.

West Omaha Serra elect new president

As one of his first official duties, Richard Kalal, the newly elected president of the Serra Club of West Omaha, presents outgoing president Jim Monaghan, with a plague. Kalal and his wife, Kathy, are parishioners at St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha.

Revival to feature accomplished academic

Father Joseph Brown, SJ, Ph.D., director of the Black American Studies program at Southern Illinois University will be the featured speaker July 22-24 at the annual St. Benedict the Moor Parish Revival in Omaha..

The revival, "Standing in Need of Prayer," is set for 7 p.m. meetings July 22 and 23 and will conclude at the 9:30 a.m. Mass July 24.

Father Brown earned a B.A. in philosophy from St. Louis University and a master's degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

After his ordination in 1972, Father Brown taught theater and poetry at Creighton University for several years before receiving a master's in Afro-American studies and a Ph.D. in American studies, both from Yale University. He went on to teach at the University of Virginia and at Xavier University in New Orleans.

In addition to directing the Black Studies program at Southern Illinois, Father Brown also is a professor in that department, and is active as a lecturer in the areas of African and African-American spirituality, and African-American history and culture. He has published a number of books.

The public is invited and welcome to attend the revival at 2423 Grant St. in Omaha. For more information call 348-0631.

Bergan High teacher earns top award

Joe Wojtkiewicz, a teacher at Archbishop Bergan Catholic High School in Fremont, is the Fremont Rotary and Hazel Keene Trust 2005 Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Wojtkiewicz, who teaches theology, English and social science, was nominated for the award – which includes a $4,000 prize – by Father Owen Korte, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Fremont and superintendent at Bergan; Neil Feser, guidance director at Bergan; and Dr. Jim Wewel, past Bergan school board president.

In addition to his teaching duties, Wojtkiewicz coaches cross country and girls basketball. He was honored as the Archdiocese of Omaha Rural Teacher of the Year in 2001.

Door Ministry prepares for back to school

The Holy Family Door Ministry in Omaha is making preparations for its annual "Back to School" program, set for July 26 from 4-7:30 p.m. and July 27 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Community volunteers and Door Ministry staff, as well as parishioners at Holy Family Church in Omaha, organize the annual event, which provides new underwear and socks for school-age children.

The ministry program has been conducted for more than 20 years as a means to assist families in getting children ready for the coming school year.

To volunteer to assist with the distribution or to donate funds to purchase underwear or socks, call Patricia Sullivan at 341-6561 or 493-1389.

Holy Name receives $32,000 Beaumont Foundation Grant

Holy Name School in Omaha is expanding the technology available to its students thanks to a grant from the Beaumont Foundation, a non-profit corporation based in Beaumont, Texas, that promotes access to information through technology.

The grant – valued at more than $32,000 – will provide the school with a wireless laptop computer lab, digital cameras, a laser printer and a document projector.

The document projector will be used with the school's third Reminiscence Project next fall, during which eighth-grade students will pair with senior members of the community to record the lives of the seniors and produce a booklet and video of the experience.

'Band Aid' benefits from $10,000 gift

The Music in Catholic Schools program "Band Aid" is getting extra support in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Morning Musicale, an organization that supported the arts in Omaha for about 70 years before recently disbanding.

Music in Catholic Schools provides band lessons at a number of Omaha's Catholic schools. The service is free to schools, but parents must pay to have their children in band. Through "Band Aid" students on free/reduced-lunch pay reduced band tuition.

Morning Musicale was founded by a group of Omaha women in the 1930's and, among other things, sponsored many classical concerts over the years.

After the concert series ended, the group continued to support organizations such as The Cathedral Arts Project and Music in Catholic Schools until its dissolution.

Columbus Students win national honor
Members of the St. Isidore School documentary team that placed sixth in the National History Day Competition display their medals. The Columbus sixth-graders are (from left) Stephen Pandorf, Devin Zeller, Jenn Gokie, Olivia Sonderman and Levi Phillips

Parishes host Bible schools

Vacation Bible Schools were held at parishes throughout the archdiocese this summer, including St. Anthony Parish in Columbus and St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha.

Nearly 120 children attended St. Anthony's program, which ran June 6-10.

As a service project at St. Anthony, students collected food items for the St. Vincent de Paul/Simon House Food Pantry in Columbus.

More than 250 children participated in the Bible school at St. Robert June 27 through July 1. Seventh-graders through college students ran the camp. Students shared Bible readings and participated in games, crafts and singing.

Archbishop lunches with CLI participants

Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss and Father Joseph Taphorn, chancellor, share a meal June 14 with students at the 2005 Christian Leadership Institute. This year's CLI, held June 12-17 at Wayne State College in Wayne, was attended by about 60 students representing parishes and high schools from throughout the Archdiocese of Omaha.

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