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Four parishes combine publicity efforts for Lenten missions

They booked him independent of one another, but four parishes are working together to publicize singer, songwriter and storyteller Steve Angrisano’s Lenten missions in Omaha.

"A lot of people have seen him and might want to see him again," said John Gencarelli, religious education (RE) director at St. John Vianney Parish, which will offer the Texas-based Angrisano’s intergenerational presentations of music, prayer and fellowship at pre-Lenten missions Feb. 19 and Feb. 21, both at 7 p.m.

With three other parishes inviting him, "we decided we ought to do a ‘Steve Angrisano Omaha tour,’" Gencarelli said.

The other parishes are St. Pius X, St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Cross. Over the years, Angrisano has brought his ministry to a number of parishes in the archdiocese and around the country, as well as National Catholic Youth Conferences and World Youth Days.

Rita Ramos, pastoral associate at St. Pius, said parishes in the archdiocese often work together on various projects. Four parishes booking the popular Angrisano this Lenten season was a coincidence, Ramos said, but after learning about the extent of his Omaha schedule in conversations with one another, parish leaders decided to help each other promote the missions.

The parishes wanted to work together so "as many people as possible can come to whatever place is most convenient for them," Ramos said.

Jenni Vankat, RE director at St. Vincent de Paul, said Angrisano will help her parish celebrate its 25th anniversary; and Kim Rookstool, RE director at Holy Cross, said her parish will let Angrisano take the mission where he wants it to go.

"We’ll let him decide," Rookstool said. "We’re going to let the Holy Spirit work."

Anne McGuire, director of liturgy and music at St. Pius X, said the parish’s Lenten theme will coincide with its effort this year to focus on hospitality and welcoming, and Angrisano will adapt his presentation to the parish’s needs.

"Lent is a preparation for and reminder of our baptismal identity," McGuire said. "By baptism we belong to this community. We welcome others to join us."

Parish missions, the Stations of the Cross and other faith opportunities are common during Lent, as pastors, RE directors and others look for additional perspectives and activities to inspire people in their faith.

Other Lenten events this year include Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Omaha offering a 7 p.m., March 6-8 mission with Deacons Eddie Ensley and Robert Herrmann of the Savannah Diocese in Georgia, and Catholic Cemeteries offering the Stations of the Cross several Wednesdays during Lent at Resurrection Cemetery in Omaha (see accompanying story).


WHAT: Lenten Missions with Steve Angrisano

WHERE: St. John Vianney, Feb. 19 and 21; St. Pius X, March 12 and 14; St. Vincent de Paul, March 19 and 21; Holy Cross, March 26 and 28

TIME: 7 p.m.

COST: Free will offering

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