Four couples were honored at this year’s Archbishop’s Committee for Development Recognition Dinner. Pictured with Archbishop George J. Lucas are honorees, from left: Sherry and Bill Wachtler, Mary Katherine and Bill Helget, Dr. Paul and Bernadette Esposito, and Mike and Colleen Gawley. COURTESY PHOTO

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Couples honored for their service to the archdiocese, parishes, schools and ministries

The Archbishop’s Committee for Development (ACD) honored four couples at the 46th Annual ACD Recognition Dinner June 2 at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha. With nearly 100 people attending, Archbishop George J. Lucas presented the awards to the following couples for their impact on the archdiocese and their generous support and dedication to their parishes, Catholic schools and other Church ministries. The ACD provides leadership and expertise to the archbishop concerning Catholic education, stewardship, estate planning, development and finance.

Dr. Paul and Bernadette Esposito – St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Omaha

Paul is a professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and surgeon in chief at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, both in Omaha. The couple are strong supporters of Catholic education.

Bernadette serves on numerous boards and ministries, including the Nebraska Federation of Catholic School Parents, Children’s Scholarship Fund, the Newman Centers at both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Omaha, Spirit Catholic Radio, the Serra Club of Omaha and the Nebraska Catholic Conference, and on the ACD’s education committee.

Mike and Colleen Gawley – St. Patrick Parish, Elkhorn

Mike has served on the St. Patrick school board and finance committee, and is currently a member of the parish council. He also volunteers as a parish coordinator of Live Lent Together and funeral ministry team member, is treasurer of the parish’s Knights of Columbus council, and is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (EMHC). He was also president of ACD’s education committee.

Colleen is also an EMHC, a Live Lent Together small group leader, a member of the parish’s marriage group, and is involved with Women of St. Patrick circles. She has been a religious formation committee member and teacher, a team member of Catholics Come Home, a member of the parish’s music ministry, a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults sponsor, companion and team leader, and a hospice and KVSS volunteer. She is a current member of Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion and serves as an Institute for Priestly Formation spiritual mother.

Bill and Mary Katherine Helget (Quarter Century Club) – St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Omaha

The couple have been founding members of two Omaha parishes – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Vincent de Paul. Bill chaired archdiocesan campaigns as a parishioner for both parishes and was an original member of St. Vincent’s development committee for 14 years, including three years as chair. He was a member of the ACD education committee for 12 years, including three years as chair, and also served on the board of Marian High School in Omaha. The couple co-chaired Marian’s “Spotlight On Our Future” capital campaign to upgrade the school’s infrastructure. 

Mary Katherine was a member of the Bergan Mercy Hospital’s auxiliary board and the Essential Pregnancy Services auxiliary board, has co-chaired the Bergan Ball, and coordinated funeral lunch volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul for nearly two decades. She is a member of the West Omaha Serra Club. The couple are members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

Bill and Sherry Wachtler (Quarter Century Club) – St. Gerald Parish, Ralston

The Wachtlers have been active in their parish as youth group leaders, RCIA mentors, EMHCs and fundraiser co-chairs. Bill served on the parish’s finance committee, while Sherry is a lector, bereavement ministry and funeral luncheon volunteer and writer for the parish newsletter.

Also active in their community, Bill is a past board member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Midlands and the Omaha metropolitan area YMCA. He served on the College of Saint Mary investment committee and currently serves on Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School’s Foundation board and investment committee, Concordia High School endowment investment committee, and the College World Series board, investment and audit committee. Sherry has dedicated nearly 25 years to the Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as a board member for two of those years.