Golf clubs part of several leisure opportunities
Editors note: Seven archdiocesan priests retired this year, each after decades of service. Links to each story are at the bottom of the webpage.
Father Dennis Hanneman, who retired this month as pastor of St. Mary Church in Bellevue, hasn’t played golf in a long time.
"I might try to take that up again," he said. "The guys who moved me out of my residence were a bunch of retired Knights of Columbus. They took a look at my clubs and said, ‘Father, those are ancient!’ And I said, ‘They’re only 20 years old.’"
Father Hanneman, who was ordained 44 years ago, plans to stay in the Omaha area. After "a little while to rest," he will provide help to various parishes.
But he’s also excited about the opportunity to read and study and is open to traveling, particularly to Arizona where he has several friends.
He pointed to three high points in his career as a priest.
The first was serving the church in the archdiocesan office, where he was the director of the office of religious education.
"I was able to get to know the diocese pretty well. It offered opportunities for me to come to know and understand what was going on nationally in the field I was in, religious education, evangelization and adult education," he said. "Also, it gave me the opportunity to work in a collaborative way with several very talented people who worked in the archdiocese at that time."
Another was helping to establish the parish of St. Vincent de Paul in west Omaha. Father Hanneman, who recently returned to St. Vincent de Paul for its 25th anniversary celebration, called the process of watching it grow "wonderfully exciting."
"It was truly a graced time for me, and I think, for the people of St. Vincent de Paul," he said.
Finally, he pointed to his time at St. Mary, where strong traditions and an older population offered different opportunities.
"In a time when many parishes are struggling, St. Mary’s is very stable and very vital. It’s been a real honor to serve here."
Father Hanneman, 69, said he is grateful to the people "who have allowed me to serve them and to preach to them and to celebrate sacraments with them."
"As I reflect back on my priesthood, the power of the Holy Spirit has been so present so many times at moments when good things happened," Father Hanneman said.
"I’ve had a very rich ministry, and it wasn’t because of a lot of the things I did – it was God working through me. I humbly credit God for always being there, and letting me be his instrument for the people whose lives I was able to touch."
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