News

Priestly lives dedicated to Christ and his people celebrated

Although coronavirus restrictions have claimed another casualty in the form of a postponed celebration, 11 priests serving or retired in the archdiocese will be marking their special milestones all the same.

These priests have devoted their lives to serving God and his people, and are celebrating landmark anniversaries this year.

Among them are golden jubilarians Father Carl Salanitro, Jesuit Father Dennis Hamm, Benedictine Father Eugene McReynolds and Columban Father Brendan O’Sullivan. Also celebrating is silver jubilarian Father Luke Steffes. Their personal profiles are below.

Also, celebrating 60 years of priesthood is Msgr. Thomas Furlong, and marking 40 years are Fathers Roger Kalscheuer, David Reeson, Richard Reiser and Richard Whiteing, and Jesuit Father Charles Baumann.

Traditionally, jubilarians gather each year with Archbishop George J. Lucas, Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss and their brother priests for a celebration including eucharistic adoration, vespers and Mass, followed by a dinner. That event was originally scheduled for April 21 at St. Patrick Church in Fremont.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the celebration has been postponed to a later date, said Father John Pietramale, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Adalbert Parish in Omaha, and coordinator of the event.

The Catholic Voice joins with Catholics in the Omaha archdiocese to thank and congratulate these priests for their many years of service.

50 YEARS

JESUIT FATHER DENNIS HAMM

Education: Marquette University, Milwaukee; St. Louis University.

Current assignment: Professor emeritus, Creighton University, Omaha; St. John Parish, Creighton University.

Previous assignments: Instructor, Creighton Preparatory School, and professor, Creighton University, both Omaha.

Clubs/organizations/hobbies/special interests: Film, concerts, theater, golf.

Appointments/offices: Archdiocesan social ministry commission.

Thoughts on priesthood: “I have learned to trust that God can and does work for our universal church for the good of the whole human family. Ordained to teach, preach and celebrate this rich tradition we live as church, I love that my priesthood allows me, in a special way, to minister to the suffering and to celebrate the joys that are experienced both within and outside this worldwide community of faith rooted in Jesus Christ.”

FATHER CARL SALANITRO

Education: Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha; the former St. John Vianney Seminary, Elkhorn; Conception Seminary College, Conception, Missouri.

Current assignment: Pastor, Holy Cross Parish, Omaha.

Previous assignments: Assistant pastor, Holy Cross, Omaha. Associate pastor, the former St. Richard, St. Robert Bellarmine, both Omaha. Pastor, Sacred Heart, Wynot; the former Ss. Philip and James, St. James; St. Frances Cabrini and Mary Our Queen, both Omaha.

Appointments/offices: Archdiocesan consultor, archdiocesan personnel board.

COLUMBAN FATHER BRENDAN O’SULLIVAN

Education: St. John Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts.

Current assignment: Promotions/fundraising, Columban Fathers Regional Headquarters, St. Columbans, Nebraska.

Previous assignments: Parish priest, president of St. Columbans College, district superior, the Philippines; councilor to superior general, Columban General Council, Ireland; regional director of Columbans in U.S., St. Columbans, Nebraska; superior general, Ireland; assistant pastor, St. Mary Parish, Fontana, California.

Thoughts on priesthood: “I continue to be blessed by sharing the joy people experience and express when receiving the sacraments. This is especially true when people return after a long absence. God does work through us in so many ways and in so many circumstances, whether we are aware of it at the time or not. This is one affirmation of the gift of priesthood.”

BENEDICTINE FATHER EUGENE MCREYNOLDS

Education: Conception Seminary College, Conception, Missouri; University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Current assignment: Retired

Previous assignments: Dean of students and teacher, Mount Michael Benedictine School, Elkhorn. Associate pastor, teacher and school chaplain, Boys Town.

Other assignments: Director of Boys Town’s drug and alcohol prevention programs as a state-certified alcohol and drug counselor. Retreat leader for National Serenity retreats for the 12-step drug/alcohol recovery community.

Civic honors or awards: On behalf of Boys Town, received Presidential Award for drug prevention and treatment programs.

Thoughts on priesthood: “I am tremendously graced by the priests of the Omaha archdiocese. A well-lived priesthood opens the hearts and trust of Christians that makes so much healing possible. My particular joy is in the held stare of an elder after a senior living center Mass, a penitent after confession, and the sick in the hospital as they say, ‘Thank you.’”

25 YEARS

FATHER LUKE STEFFES

Education: the former St. John Vianney Seminary, Elkhorn; Conception Seminary College, Conception, Missouri; St. Thomas Seminary, Denver; Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corners, Wisconsin.

Current assignment: Retired

Previous assignments: Assistant pastor, St. Philip Neri Parish, Omaha. Associate pastor, St. Leo the Great Parish, Omaha. Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Atkinson, and St. Boniface Parish, Stuart.

Church-related organizations: Knights of Columbus.

Clubs/organizations/hobbies/special interests: Family history and ancestry; college football, college basketball.

Thoughts on priesthood: “The priesthood is a journey – a journey that takes me into beginnings and endings, a journey that takes me into the life of a parish and parishioners to share and to be with them to celebrate their lives.”