Deacon Jack Finney was an example to those who followed him into ministry

Deacon John “Jack” Finney was the first permanent deacon to serve at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, beginning even before the church was built.

He became a deacon that new deacons in the parish could look up to and follow because of his example and quiet encouragement, said Deacon Denny Connor, also of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and longtime friend.

Deacon Finney was “a great example, a great friend and a great man of Christ,” his friend said.

Deacon Finney died Nov. 8, a few months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 83.

A funeral Mass was held Nov. 13 at the church.

After his ordination in 1983, Deacon Finney dove into service at his new parish, covering a range of ministries over the years, including serving at Mass, preparing people for the sacraments through baptism classes and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – as well as leading Communion services for nursing home residents.

Outside the parish, Deacon Finney was a chaplain at the Douglas County Jail, and he helped prepare meals for distribution to people in need at the former Holy Family Church in Omaha.

His wife, Phyllis, helped in many of those ministries, Deacon Connor said.

The couple were founding members of St. James Parish, where Deacon Finney was on the parish council and the building committee for the future St. Elizabeth Ann Church.

He worked at Omaha Public Power District and also raised pigs on his family’s farm.

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