Honoring clergy on special anniversaries

Eight priests celebrating 50 years of service, one marking his 25th anniversary, and Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss looking back on 60 years as a priest and 25 years as an Omaha archbishop. Those are among the landmark anniversaries that will be celebrated April 10 at the archdiocese’s annual priest jubilee Mass and dinner.
Archbishop George J. Lucas will be the principal celebrant at the 5 p.m. Mass at St. Patrick Church in Fremont, and the homilist will be retired Father Daniel Soltys, who is celebrating his golden anniversary.
Priests across the archdiocese are invited to the gathering, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. with an hour for adoration of the Eucharist, followed by 20 minutes of chanted vespers.
Joining Father Soltys celebrating 50-year anniversaries are retired Father James McCluskey, Columban Father John Comiskey, Benedictine Father Nathanael Foshage and Jesuit Fathers Hubert Boschert, Donald Doll, John Mace and Donald Rauscher. 
Father Steven Emanuel is celebrating 25 years as a priest. 
The Catholic Voice each year highlights silver and golden anniversaries, and during the Mass retired Fathers Fernando Benliro, William Fitzgerald and Joseph Finch also will be recognized for 60 years in the priesthood. 
Celebrating 40 years in the priesthood are Fathers Frank Baumert, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha; Lloyd Gnirk, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Valley and president emeritus of Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha, and David La Plante, on leave to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
A native of Baker City, Ore., who served 17 years as bishop of Helena, Mont., Archbishop Curtiss was appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1993. Reflecting on his years of service, the archbishop said he is grateful to God.
“I always knew I was going to be a priest, and I am grateful to the Lord for the 60 years I have had in ministry, 42 years as bishop,” he said. “Even though the realities of working with people, sometimes in difficult situations, tended to dull the glow I had at ordination, nevertheless, priestly ministry has been a joy to me all these years.
“I know this is what the Lord had in mind for me from my birth, so I have never regretted the call. I know I could never have been as happy and fulfilled if I had chosen another path. The Lord has truly blessed my life and ministry all these years.”
Click here for photos and biographies of the priests celebrating their silver and golden anniversaries this year.
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