Success of plan starts with input from parishioners

Just one meeting, but an important first step. That’s how the deanery planning sessions scheduled for Sept. 20 in Columbus and Sept. 21 in Norfolk might be described. The first of what will be a multi-year process in the archdiocese’s 87 rural parishes, these planning sessions bring together clergy, parish leaders and Archbishop George J. Lucas to look at how the church is fulfilling the mission of Jesus.

These first sessions will lay the groundwork for ongoing study, review and, most important, input. Parishes will be represented by various committee and council members, but those folks will be carrying the ideas and suggestions of their fellow parishioners as the process continues.

The planning process will mirror that used in east Omaha and the suburban metro area, and there will be similarities in many ways. After all, rural and urban Catholics share a faith, values and a Nebraska approach to life.

But this step into the rural area of the archdiocese also will open the door to new challenges and new opportunities because of differences in the rural and urban world, including;

Miles … distance does play a role in rural parish life.

Parish size … not only different from the urban area, but also from each other.

Clergy presence … priests serve two, sometimes three parishes.

The presence or absence of Catholic schools.

Those topics will be among many discussed, as parishioners, archdiocesan officials and consultants work together through the planning process, look at available pastoral, lay and professional resources, as well as church and school facilities, and develop plans to optimize those resources in bringing Christ to the people.

But those plans begin with input. And for this first round of rural planning, that’s the responsibility of the people of the rural southwest and rural central deaneries. They need to make their voices heard.



The colors are red, white and blue, but – at least in this case – they have nothing to do with Old Glory.

Instead, these colors are the names for Masses held in Omaha for specific professional groups, a way to bring a focus on faith in what these people do in their work.

A White Mass Sept. 24 at St. John Church on the Creighton University campus celebrating health care professions will be part of the Sept. 22-24 pro-life conference (Made in His Image: Human Dignity in the Secular World). First responders are the focus for the Blue Mass Sept. 27 at St. Pius X Church and the legal profession is honored at the Oct. 4 Red Mass, also at St. John Church on the Creighton campus.

These Masses might be focused on specific professions, but they send a message that applies to all of us about the importance of faith in our work, no matter what we do.



For centuries, she was known and revered the world over as Mother Teresa, the little woman from Albania who did so many small things and had such a big impact in Calcutta, India.

Then she became Blessed Teresa of Kolkata (the new name for Calcutta) and Sept. 4 was canonized by Pope Francis as St. Teresa of Kolkata (See story on Page 8).

But those name changes have been a little difficult. For most of us, there was some familiarity in Mother Teresa. There was a sense of compassion, of comfort and love. Mother Teresa just sounded right … and felt right.

Apparently, those of us feeling that way are in good company. Pope Francis said the new saint always will be Mother Teresa to him.


Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at

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