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LOCAL BRIEFS - May 20, 2005


St. Cecilia students sing opera

Members of the St. Cecilia Ragazzi, a select group of student singers from among the children's choirs of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum, gather around Arnold Rawls at an Opera Omaha production of "Turandot." Ragazzi members – from grades 3-8 – haven been a part of several Opera Omaha productions over the past five years.

Shown with Rawls, who played "Calaf" in "Turandot," are (front row, from left) Ana Carlson, Elena Carlson, Paul Brosnihan, Lily Nunn, Michelle Heimerman and Hannah Lajba; (back row, from left) Emily Fitzgerald, Joe Fitzgerald, Sarah Heimerman, Melanie Buer, Kolbe Fletcher, Sara Lang and Mary Beth Brosnihan.

Omaha native marks 50 years as priest

Omaha native Father Richard Farmer, OP, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood June 10.

Father Farmer serves in the Diocese of Arlington, Va., as the Catholic chaplain at National and Dulles airports in Washington.

He attended Our Lady of Lourdes School in Omaha and graduated from Creighton Prep before earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Iowa State University in Ames. His studies at Iowa State were interrupted by service in the military during World War II.

Father Farmer also earned master's degrees in philosophy and theology, studying at schools in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and California.

He was ordained in California, and his first assignment was to Nigeria, where he taught philosophy and served as a pastor for 33 years. He returned to the United States to serve as procurator at the Dominican Priory in River Forest, Ill., and as assistant Catholic chaplain at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Father Farmer has two sisters – Peg Jackson, who lives in Omaha, and Patricia Atwood of Springfield, Va.

Urban council honors 20 women

The Omaha Urban Council of Catholic Women recently honored 20 women for their kindness and willingness to serve their parishes.

The honorees, announced at the council's May 5 luncheon at Christ the King Parish, were chosen from parishes in the Omaha area.

Those recognized with the "Outstanding Catholic Women Awards" were: Paula Bonkiewicz, St. Stephen the Martyr; Mary Bryl, Blessed Sacrament; Margaret Christiansen, St. Richard; Lois Conrad, Holy Ghost; Lucretia Danielson, St. Margaret Mary; Colleen Finnochiaro, St. Robert Bellarmine; Gladys Goeken, St. Philip Neri; Louise Kuhse, Holy Cross; Eleanor Lukowski, St. Bridget; Theresa Medeiros, St. Cecilia; Edythe Miller, St. Stanislaus; Diane Rochford, St. Francis of Assisi; Margaret Schuler, Christ the King; Helen Smith, Holy Name; Sally Smolen, St. Mary; Virginia Sommer, Immaculate Conception; Anne Thomsen, St. Wenceslaus; and Mary Ann Vail, Mary Our Queen; Virginia Binko, St. Columbkille, Papillion; and Ruth Duffy, St. Mary, Bellevue.

The council also honored Kylie Han, a senior at V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha, who received a $250 scholarship. She is a member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Omaha.

Nearly 500 attended the luncheon, including Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss and 27 priests.

Schools donate computers to Africa

Students and moderators from Marian High School, Creighton Prep and Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart packed 160 computers for shipment to Africa May 7 as part of the Computers for Africa program.

The students and moderators have spent the year refurbishing and networking the donated computers to help bring technology to some of the world's most disadvantaged people.

"It is wonderful to see these student volunteers using their own talents to directly help someone in another country," said Elizabeth Kish, Marian Head of School.

Computers for Africa, nonprofit organization established in Omaha in 2000, has shipped more than 700 computers shipped to Africa, giving 12,000 people access to computers.

Mary Our Queen wins news bowl

The seventh grade News Bowl team from Mary Our Queen School in Omaha used knowledge of current events to top 219 other teams and take first place in the recent National News Bowl.

After weekly current events quizzes throughout the spring, a team of three Mary Our Queen seventh graders was chosen to take a March 31 on-line quiz, which was scored against other teams from around the country.

The national championship team consisted of Josh Gredys, Julie Pope and Christian Warneke. Team sponsors were teachers Cory Vasek and Susan Nave.

Parish musical set for June 10-12

As part of the centennial celebration at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Omaha, the St. Bernard Parish Choir and the Knights of Columbus will present "Anything Goes," a Broadway musical by Cole Porter.

The June 10-12 musical is planned as a dinner theater performance in the St. Bernard School gymnasium. Doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30.

Tickets are $12.50 in advance and are available from any choir member or by calling 493-5074 or 301-4397. Seating is reserved.

St. Bernard Parish was formed in 1904, under the leadership of Father D.P. Harrington. The parish first gathered in 1905 in a white frame church on 61st and Miami. The church was moved to the present location, 3601 N. 65th St., in 1912.

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