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Retired Msgr. James Gilg chats with retired Father Hugh Schwartz Oct. 30 at St. John Vianney Residence in Omaha during the Serra Club of Omaha’s “Priesthood Sundae” event to mark Priesthood Sunday and honor retired priests. Photo by Joe Ruff/Staff.

Serra Club of Omaha honors retired priests with ‘Priesthood Sundae’

Second annual treat falls on Priesthood Sunday tribute to all priests

Retired Msgr. James Gilg picked Neopolitan ice cream with chocolate syrup and bananas.

Others among 18 retired priests of the archdiocese chose vanilla or chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup, with toppings including candy sprinkles, maraschino cherries and whipped marshmallows.

And together they enjoyed the second annual "Priesthood Sundae" Oct. 30 at St. John Vianney Residence in Omaha, where 20 retired priests live.

The event is one way Serra Club of Omaha honors priests during Serra International’s Priesthood Sunday, which is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of each October.

"We thank you for your vocations," said Tim O’Neill, immediate past president of Serra International and a member of Serra Club of Omaha and Christ the King Parish in Omaha.

O’Neill and his wife, Sally, shared photographs and stories about some of their experiences while O’Neill presided over the international organization, which promotes and supports the priesthood and religious life. Those at the gathering included Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss and retired Bishop Anthony M. Milone.

The O’Neill’s travels included Italy, Paraguay, Thailand and in September, Washington, D.C., for the canonization Mass of St. Junipero Serra, the patron of Serra International. Everywhere they went, priests were held in high esteem, O’Neill said.

"It was a great year to see a lot of nice things, including the true respect people have for priests," he said.

O’Neill said he even got an opportunity Oct. 21 to thank Pope Francis for his vocation, when the pope greeted him and others in Rome for a Congress on Vocations offered through the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.

Retired Fathers Eldon McKamy, Hugh Schwartz and Dennis Hanneman were among those who enjoyed "Priesthood Sundae." Father McKamy, a former chaplain for the Serra Club of West Omaha, said he was grateful to the Serrans for sponsoring the event.

"Serra Club does a lot of work, they support the priests wonderfully," Father McKamy said.

For decades, Serra Club of Omaha honored retired priests at a luncheon meeting in October. But as it became more difficult for health and other reasons for some of the priests to attend, the club decided to bring the party to them, said Betty Dineen Shrier, a Serra Club member who lives at St. John Vianney and helps organize the event.

Jean Hastings, a member of Serra Club of Omaha and St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha, helped scoop out the ice cream. She talked and laughed with the priests as she took their orders.

"It was a lot of fun to see priests I hadn’t seen for awhile," Hastings said. "It’s nice to see the smiles of our retired priests, to see happy faces. And I think they liked the ice cream."

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