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Father Jason Catania prepares the altar for Mass Oct. 12 at St. Barnabas Church in Omaha. Photo by Joe Ruff/Staff.

Former Anglican church to be dedicated

St. Barnabas Church in Omaha – whose then-Anglican congregation was received into the Catholic Church four years ago – will be formally dedicated as a place of Catholic worship Nov. 5 by Bishop Steven J. Lopes of the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

While not strictly required, the dedication marks a major renovation at the church and is a final step in a unification process made possible by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. To promote Christian unity, the pope provided a framework for Anglicans to become part of the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their heritage and liturgical practices.

"This is a very historic event for the life of the parish," said Father Jason Catania, pastor. "It’s a completion in a way. The people were received into the Catholic Church in 2013. Their sacrifices and the spiritual journey they made is now reflected in a physical way in the parish church."

Guests expected at the 10:30 a.m. Mass include Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss and Father Scott Hastings, vicar for clergy in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Father Catania said.

The dedication by Bishop Lopes – which includes consecrating the altar and church walls – also will be a first for the ordinariate, one of three set up by the pope worldwide to oversee the former Anglican communities.

But it will be followed in one week by a second church dedication – this one at Mount Calvary Church in Father Catania’s former parish in Baltimore. Church dedications spurred by the unification have been rare because many Anglican communities didn’t have their own churches, Father Catania said.

Renovations at the Omaha church began in September 2016 and were completed in August. They include tile floors instead of carpeting, a new ceiling, refurbished pews, lowering the sanctuary floor and applying fresh paint to the walls, Father Catania said.

The changes were made possible by the estate of William and Ella Templin, longtime parishioners who were part of the 2013 congregation that entered the Catholic Church, Father Catania said. The gift also allowed the parish to purchase some nearby buildings for a rectory, classroom and other space, he said.

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