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8 November 2011 Vol. I No. 7

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Religious retirement fund collection

The 24th annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be taken up December 10-11, 2011, in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Sponsored by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C., the appeal asks Catholics to Share in the Care of more than 34,000 women and men religious past age 70.

Last year, the Archdiocese of Omaha contributed $174,080.60 to this collection. In 2011, the Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, Missionary Society of St. Columban, Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey, Notre Dame Sisters, Servants of Mary, and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas received a combined total of $575,294.17 in financial assistance made possible by the national appeal. As a result of the 2010 collection, which garnered $26.7 million, the NRRO was able to distribute $23 million to religious communities to help support the day-to-day care of senior members. An additional $2.7 million was allocated toward initiatives targeted for religious communities with the greatest needs. Ninety-three cents of every dollar aids elderly religious.

While the response to the collection is unprecedented, so is the need. In 2010 alone, the total cost of care for women and men religious past age 70 exceeded $1 billion dollars.

Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. bishops have urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Senate Judiciary Committee should uphold the DOMA, which defines marriage at the federal level as the union of one man and one woman, because of its importance to human rights and the common good, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Promotion and Defense of Marriage efforts. In a November 2 letter, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, California, asked the Committee to oppose any bill that would repeal DOMA, particularly the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598). Click here for more information.

ACTION ALERT: Defend Conscience Rights

22 national Catholic leaders call on Congress and the Administration to protect conscience rights in health care. Congress should strengthen conscience protections for health care providers and ensure that health care reform measures do not impede religious liberty, said the U.S. bishops' chairman of Pro-Life Activities on the eve of a hearing by the House Subcommittee on Health.

In a November 1 letter to subcommittee, chairman Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston urged support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179/S. 1467) and other measures to address flaws in health care reform. The full text of Cardinal DiNardo's letter is available here.

Spirit Catholic Radio app

Stream KVSS, Spirit Catholic Radio, directly to your mobile devices. It is accessible for Apple, Android and Blackberry users. Spirit Catholic Radio carries quality national programs, as well as programming that is relevant to the Archdiocese. Click here for instructions on downloading the KVSS app to your mobile devices.

eVents

Nov. 8 is big date for parish, school study

A meeting of about 150 pastors, school principals and lay leaders will meet today in the gym at St. Cecilia Cathedral School to receive a preliminary look at early findings of a study of 37 Catholic parishes and 18 elementary schools in east Omaha.

The Archdiocese of Omaha began this pastoral planning initiative last spring. The idea is to build on current strengths, forecast growth and anticipate future challenges. You can read more about this important study by visiting www.archomaha.org or click here.

The Son of God came to us with a mission and plan. He accepted that plan in a very public way at the Jordan. To help him carry out that plan, he gathered resources and formed leaders and disciples and committed to the mission all the way to Jerusalem. The four Gospels are the working documents of that plan and reveal the spirit in which it was accomplished.

Jesus was the first to understand the importance of effective pastoral planning. He left it up to the apostles to implement and expand his plan. In the modern Church, we get our direction for strategic pastoral planning from the Documents of Vatican II, especially #4 of the Pastoral Constitution of the Church: "…the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel."

Over the past number of years the Archdiocese of Omaha has witnessed many changes in parish and school life. Parishes have merged, many parishes share a pastor, schools have closed or consolidated, and several parishes have undergone a reduction in priest staffing. These realities have and will continue to affect all aspects of parish life.

In the throes of these changes we must discover again what it means to be Church. The challenges we face are also opportunities for us to deepen our commitment to and enhance our practice of collaboration in ministry.

Effective pastoral planning is the key to ensuring that the work of the mission of Jesus is carried out in the archdiocese. When archdiocesan and parish leaders come together to vision and plan for the future, prayer, discerning the "signs of the times" and a spirit of collaboration all play crucial roles in contributing to vibrant parish life.

March for Life Pilgrimage

Last chance to register! Defend the right to life and visit holy and historical sites in Gettysburg, Emmitsburg, and our nation's capital on a pilgrimage for high school youth and young adults ages 19-34. New this year: Registration and payment are online at www.RespectLifeOmaha.com. Final registration is $400 and closes November 21.

Public Forums with Rwandan Genocide Survivor

Immaculee Ilibagiza, Rwandan motivational speaker and author of "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust", will be discussing her book at the College of St. Mary, Gross Auditorium, Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, November 10, 9:00 a.m. Ilibagiza's book is an autobiographical work detailing how she survived during the Rwandan Genocide. The presentations are free and open to the public.

Workshop on serving older adults

The New Cassel Outreach Ministry is offering a workshop, Aging with Grace: Resources for Parish Ministers and Volunteers, Thursday, November 10, 2011, 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the New Cassel Auditorium. Join Michaela Williams, Care Consultants for the Aging; Chris Stewart, Respite Resource Center; and Mary Eileen Andreasen in discussing how parish ministers and volunteers can serve the older adults of their parishes. Continuing Education Units are available to health care providers. A free-will donation will be accepted. Many resources will be shared. To register, call 402.390.5339.

Holy Ghost Catholic Church Turkey Dinner

Holy Ghost Catholic Church will be serving turkey dinner Sunday, November 13, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at 5219 South 53rd Street (52nd & Q Street). Meal includes dessert and drink. Take-outs will be available. Dinner Prices: Adults - $9.00, Seniors - $8.00 (62+), Children (12 & under) - $5.00.

Cathedral Arts Project fund raiser

Plan on attending an evening of Stardust and Swing with Todd Murray at the Glo Lounge located in the Marcus Theatre at Midtown Crossing, Wednesday, November 16, 2011 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $65 with the proceeds going to the Cathedral Arts Project. Garage parking is free.

St. Cecilia Cathedral upcoming event

You are invited to a special "Saint Cecilia Sing" November 20 at 3:00 p.m. with honored guest Dr. David Hurd. Hurd is an internationally acclaimed composer, organist, and church musician who was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha to write Mass in Honor of Saint Cecilia in celebration of the reception of the new translation of the Roman Missal. This special day will include some reflections by Dr. Hurd, singing the new Mass setting, joining together to sing hymns, and to hear some of his own compositions and improvisation. We look forward to welcoming him, and to celebrating with him in honor of the Feast of Saint Cecilia, Patroness of Musicians. The event is free thanks to the generous benefactors of the Cathedral Arts Project.

Advent reflection

The New Cassel Retirement Center will present The Ghost of Advent Past, The Reality of Christ Present, Friday, December 2, 2011, 2:00-3:45 p.m. in the New Cassel Auditorium. Deacon Tom Schulte, an inspirational speaker throughout the archdiocese, will look back into Advents of the past in order to re-examine our longing for God. Join us for this Advent reflection as we start a new church year. Benediction will follow in the chapel. Cost is $5. To register, call 402.390.5339.

Limando Asperezas: Spanish Communication Workshop for Couples

The goal of this workshop is to improve married, dating, or engaged couples' communication in order to prevent abuse and domestic violence, thereby strengthening families in their mission to "guard, reveal, and communicate love." (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio.) PREP is a dynamic workshop that will help you to say what you need to say, reach the heart of your issues, and strengthen your union. Through talks, dialogue, and activities, you will learn respectful and effective communication strategies. The next PREP workshop is Sunday, December 4, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. in St. Peter's Church gym, 2706 Leavenworth, Omaha. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Register by December 1 by contacting Mariana Flores-Chávez, coordinator of Hispanic ministries, Family Life Office, by email mfloreschavez@archomaha.org, 402.551.9003, ext. 1303 or at 888.800.8352, ext. 1303.

¡Llamando a todas las parejas, casados o novios, que quieren mejorar su comunicación! PREP es un taller dinámico que les ayudará a decir lo que necesitan decir, alcanzar el corazón de sus problemas, y hacer más fuerte su unión. Por medio de charlas, diálogo, y actividades, aprenderán estrategias respetuosas y eficaces de comunicación. El próximo taller de PREP será domingo, el 4 de diciembre, de 8 am – 1 pm en el gimnasio de la iglesia de San Pedro, 2706 Leavenworth, Omaha. El costo es $10; incluye el desayuno. Regístrense a más tardar el 1 de diciembre con Mariana Flores-Chávez, 402-551-9003, ext. 1303 (gratuito: 888-800-8352, ext. 1303) o mfloreschavez@archomaha.org. Coordinado por la Oficina de Vida Familiar de la Arquidiócesis de Omaha.

Sing in Exultation!

A benefit concert of the Poor Clare Sisters of Omaha will be held Tuesday, December 6, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th Street, Omaha, featuring the Frontier String Ensemble of the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Please click here for more information.

Advent Night of Reflection

Attend an evening honoring Mary through story, prayer, scripture, song and celebration Monday, December 6, 2011, 6:00-7:00 p.m. at St. Bernadette Church, 7600 S. 42nd Street, Bellevue. Father James Keena, C.Ss.R. will give a presentation on the various ways we relate to Mary. A special opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place after the presentation, followed by fellowship & refreshments in the social hall. The event is free, but to help with planning, we ask that you contact the St. Bernadette Parish Religious Education Office by email jdiane60@hotmail.com, or call 402.731.4694 if you plan to attend.

UNO Art Gallery exhibit

Julie Green, an artist who teaches at Oregon State University, is bringing her art exhibit The Last Supper to the UNO Art Gallery, January 13-February 9.

The Last Supper is an on-going decades-long project in which the artist has painted on ceramic plates the last meal requests of death row inmates. This project began when Ms. Green noticed that final meal requests were announced in the local newspaper. Each plate represents a specific death row inmate; she has painted over 485 plates to date.

Click here for the artist's website and here to review the UNO Art Gallery.

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