Unity is focus of ArchOmaha; event to be held in June

Imagine 15,000 Catholics, united and on fire for their faith, filling Omaha’s CHI Health Center arena.

That’s Archbishop George J. Lucas’ vision and hope for a major gathering June 8 – the eve of Pentecost – as organizers begin this month announcing ArchOmaha Unite in parishes around the archdiocese.

“The purpose of Unite is to bring thousands and thousands of Catholics from across the archdiocese together in one place to celebrate our one faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. 

This will be a practical way to help the archdiocese realize one of the goals contained in its pastoral vision – to create a culture of unity – the archbishop said. 

“We felt this was important because, as we articulate our pastoral vision, there are some things that might seem to divide us,” he said. “Traditionally, we’re divided by generations, between rural parishes and urban parishes, we’re divided by culture and sometimes by language.

“But, we know that the mission of Jesus Christ, and that which he has entrusted to the church, is a mission of communion – of bringing people together in him.”

During listening sessions held two years ago around the archdiocese leading to development of the pastoral vision, the archbishop said he heard “loud and clear” people’s desire to have a deeper sense of belonging to the one Body of Christ. 

Unity, therefore, is strongly represented in the pastoral vision, “One church: encountering Jesus, equipping disciples and living mercy.”

So, plans are underway for a full day of inspirational talks and testimonials, a multi-lingual Mass, breakout sessions, music, videos, presentations for youth and Spanish-speakers, and interactive exhibits and displays of life in parishes across the archdiocese, all aimed at fostering a shared experience of the faith.

The program also will include a featured speaker, yet to be determined. 

The archbishop said he also looks forward to answering submitted questions in some interactive fashion that is yet to be worked out.

“An important part of the Gospel is communication, so listening to each other – and discussing our challenges and our hopes – helps me be a better archdiocesan pastor,” Archbishop Lucas said.

The program will conclude with a multi-media depiction of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.

The archbishop said he hopes people attending Unite will have fun together and come away with a sense of joy and a renewal of faith, and experience an encounter with Christ in a profound way.

“I’m hoping that everyone who attends will enjoy themselves and be happy to have been there, that they receive gifts and encouragement to share with one another as a community of believers, and that they go back to their parishes energized as leaven for their communities,” Archbishop Lucas said.

“So, I personally invite everyone to learn more about Unite and consider attending,” he said. “I really believe the investment of time and planning for this event will yield good fruit.”

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