Monday, April 24, 2017

Kindness Matters

St. Patrick's School in Elkhorn has been dealing with the sudden loss of their principal, Mr. Hale. Each student at St. Columbkille made a prayer shamrock for the students at St. Patrick's School to hang them on front doors and line their entryway with positive words. The hope was that when the students and staff returned from Easter break this past Wednesday, they were greeted with love and support from our St. Columbkille community.

This is what our Secret Agents Kindness Club did with the shamrocks the students prepared last week to support St. Pat's School. They will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Preparing the Easter Candle

In 1983, Brother William, Director of Office for Divine Worship in the Archdiocese of Omaha, taught one of our very own deacons, Eldon Lauber, how to prepare the Easter candle for the vigil service held on Holy Saturday.  For the past 34 years, Deacon Eldon Lauber has followed Brother William's instructions and carefully prepared the Easter "Paschal" candle at St. Columbkille.  

The Paschal candle represents Christ, the Light of the World. The pure beeswax of which the candle is made represents the sinless Christ who was formed in the womb of His Mother. The wick signifies His humanity, the flame, His Divine Nature, both soul and body.



Five grains of incense inserted into the candle in the form of a cross recall the aromatic spices with which His Sacred Body was prepared for the tomb, and of the five wounds in His hands, feet, and side. The wooden spikes are inserted into the candle and melted beeswax secure them in place.


The Easter Vigil begins with the blessing and lighting of a new fire, symbolizing our eternal life in Christ, and is used to light the new Easter candle. The candle, representing Christ himself, is blessed by the priest who then cuts a cross into the candle, the first letters and last of the Greek alphabet, (Alpha and Omega `the beginning and the end') and the current year, as he prays:

Christ yesterday and today; the Beginning and the End; the Alpha; and the Omega.  
All time belongs to him; and all the ages. To him be glory and power; through every age and forever. Amen. 

The priest then lights the candle from the new fire, saying: "May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds."

The Easter candle is used throughout the Easter season until Ascension Thursday.  It is also used at every funeral mass and Baptism throughout the year.



We are grateful to Deacon Lauber for taking the time and special care to prepare our Easter candle each year. Thanks also to Doug McWilliams, our candle preparation "apprentice" and Michelle Grzywa for her efforts to prepare our worship space for the Easter celebration.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Holy Week Reflection

In this Holy Week, the mystery that occupies our thoughts and prayers is that of Jesus’ suffering and death.  In the liturgy, the events of the last days of Jesus’ life are celebrated and they become present again.  We are taken to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering to pass him by and where his final prayer was one of submission to the will of his Father.  We hear the noise of the crowd as Jesus is arrested and we see Judas betray Jesus with a kiss.  We see Jesus scourged and mocked and standing before Pilate who tells the onlookers, “Ecce, homo”, behold the man.  We hear the shouts of the crowd seeking his crucifixion.  We watch him as he is nailed to the cross and hangs there in agony for several hours before he dies.  We see his lifeless body lowered from the cross and taken away for burial.  It is not only the events in Jesus’ own life that are brought to mind in Holy Week; for we also recall the experiences of his apostles, the soldiers who punished and mocked him, Pilate, the chief priests, the holy women who attended him, St. Peter who denied him three times, and his mother and St. John as they stood beneath the cross while he was dying.  These events are timeless because they go beyond any fixed time and they are holy and redeeming for all times.  They bespeak the drama of sin and holiness, life and death, the human struggle with evil and God’s determination to save the human family from all that keeps men and women from knowing the glory of the children of God.

There is more to Holy Week than memory.  In this week we find echoes of Jesus’ suffering and death and we come to see again that God continues to rescue God’s people from the depths and to seat them on the heights where Jesus reigns in glory and the fullness of life.  Our thoughts go to all the nursing homes and care centers where the elderly wait for death, some consciously and many in a world of half shadows and murmuring voices.  Some are ready and open to their passage to the next life and back to their loved ones who have gone before.  Some are fearful and held back by family members who are afraid to let them go.  Some have the comfort of the sacraments; many do not.  Some are accompanied in their journey by family and friends; others are alone: there is only God and them.

We also think of those who are dealing with terminal illness.  Some are literally between life and death, not knowing where they will be a month or a year from now, not knowing whether they can place any trust in the medical treatments they are receiving, not knowing whether it is time to let go or time to keep on fighting.  Some have help from their families and friends; others are quite alone.  Some of them feel as if they are hanging on the cross with Jesus, and they are not sure whether that is true or not.  Some have the assistance of the prayers of their communities; others do not know what prayer is or how it could ever help them.  Some of these suffering ones do not know what to do, they have just received their diagnosis and it is early in their illness.  Their suffering is more mental and emotional, and very much in their spirit.  Some call out to Jesus and know the meaning of his cry, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Others feel that cry but do not know the One to whom it is spoken or whether it is heard or just spoken into a vast emptiness.

We can consider, too, in this Holy Week, the suffering of children in our world, those who have lost their families in war and violence, those who are struggling with family to go somewhere that is safe, somewhere that is not in the eyesight of weapons and bombs, somewhere they are not victims of greed and power.  Some of these children have suffered terrible physical injuries.  They are missing limbs, eyesight and hearing.  Many of them are missing comfort and companionship.  They have suffered trauma and some of them will never recover even over their lifetime, whether that life be brief or long.  They know the suffering of Jesus and Jesus knows their suffering.

Our thoughts during Holy Week go also to the multitudes of those who suffer mental illness and addiction in its various forms.  They are prisoners of their confused feelings and perceptions, living in another world, coming and going and trying to make some kind of sense out of what they experience.  Some do not even have a home where they can feel some kind of safety.  Many are on the streets, subject to the danger of weather and others who would do them harm.  Many do not know where their next meal will come from, or whether the ones who are supposed to be caring for them will do that.  Some of them long for an end to their suffering and they do not even see death as a misfortune or cause for sorrow.  Jesus knows their suffering too.

The suffering of families caught up in division, breakdown, alienation and abandonment also come to mind in Holy Week.  There are parents who do not where to turn, what to do, how to help their children or where to seek help.  There are children who feel like pawns in the destructive relationships of their parents.  Many of these people feel very much alone, and they hope to find someone who will offer them a reason for hope.  Jesus also suffers with them.

We think too of our disabled veterans who are trying to piece together their lives, sometimes with one person or a few others to help, and sometimes by themselves.  We think of our military in harm’s way, wondering whether they will come back to their family safe or injured or dead.  Some are doing their job without any visible support, and many wonder whether their sacrifice is appreciated or valued by those who have the luxury of safety, protection and peace.  They hope that the trust they put in their comrades will come to their aid when the going gets rough.  Jesus serves with these men and women and suffers with them as well.

Holy Week might also be a time to consider those who are in power and whose decisions affect thousands and even millions of people.  Their suffering may be that of not knowing what to do, being afraid of doing the best thing, being pressured to do what they know is not right, being in a position where doing the least harm is not even a viable option anymore.  Their suffering may not be visible to many people, but they feel it in their gut, in their heart, and they long for someone to give them wisdom and courage.  Jesus also suffers with them.


In Holy Week, we do not indulge in mere memory of Jesus’ last days.  We find his encounter with suffering and death being lived out even today in these people and in their situations.  And we pray that God will find a way to reach out to all these, God’s suffering children, to let them know they are not alone, that God cares for them just as God cared for Jesus in his agony and his death.

Service to Others

During the season of Lent, Sacred Heart Preschool families donated items for the women and children staying at Bethlehem House.  The children enjoyed choosing items for the 9 babies currently living there with their mommies.  We were so happy to pass along 4 baskets of items.  Thank you preschool families!  


If you would like to learn more about the mission of Bethlehem House, please visit their website http://www.bethlehemhouseomaha.org/.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Holy Week

We begin the most sacred week in the Catholic Church this weekend. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday -- the final Sunday of Lent, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. The week ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. 

"The summit of the Liturgical Year is the Easter Triduum—from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, 
they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ's Paschal Mystery.
The single celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season, 
and leads to the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil." (USCCB.org)

Join us to remember, worship and celebrate next week!





Living Stations

The Teen Faith group presented the Living Stations of the Cross on Wednesday evening in the Church.  Thank you to our teens who took part in portraying the final hours in the life of Jesus Christ on Earth. The Stations of the Cross serve as a stark reminder of the humble manner in which Jesus was willing to set aside any privilege of deity in order to provide a path to salvation through His sacrifice. 

Special thanks to Tiffini Coveney and Paul DelSignore for the preparations, practice and direction with the teens who participated.

                  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2017 Ceili Buy-In

Are you a wine connoisseur? Would you appreciate sampling some wine varieties while enjoying a night out with delicious food, drink and delightful conversation with fellow parishioners? 

We still have availability for the Wine Tasting at Spezia from the Ceili Auction. Act fast by visiting http://www.columbsceili.org/buy-ins Wine Tasting at Spezia.

If you love to enjoy and learn about good food and wine, you’ll receive that and more at this exclusive wine tasting. Enjoy a four course tasting paired with select wines artfully presented and explained by the wine experts at Spezia. Join others from our parish community for a night of social grace and sharing. This is a night you do not want to miss!

Cost: $75 per person
Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Time: 6:00pm-6:45pm Cash bar and complimentary appetizers
          7:00pm Dinner and tastings begin

Location: Spezia (3125 S 72nd Street – Omaha)



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Parish Mission Week

The Parish Mission this week has been well attended. Those attending "Building a Strong Foundation", presented by Deacon Glenn and Linda Harmon, have gained insight on how to strengthen their relationship with God, the Church, and one another. The mission will assist you in experiencing the hope, faith, love, death and resurrection during this Lenten season.

The mission will conclude tonight. Please consider joining us at 7 p.m. in the church and come prepared to be blessed. A short reception for fellowship will follow in the Social Hall.





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Serra Club Award Recipients

As stated by the Archdiocese, being a server is one of the most ancient ministries in the Church; it is entrusted only to those who have completed their training and have the special blessing of the Church.  Servers are a direct link between the people and priest.  On behalf of the people, they assist the priest, representing the people in the sanctuary area. This is seen clearly, when the servers assist in the preparation of the gifts at the altar.  The gifts of bread and wine are sacred signs of our work and sacrifice. Our sacrifices are offered and united with the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

Every year Archbishop Lucas and the Serra Club of Omaha award servers who performed beyond the call of duty; servers who awake before dawn to assist at daily Mass; servers who volunteer for weddings and funerals; servers who check with the priest or deacon before Mass to see if their services are needed.

Last night, there was a Mass at St. Stanislaus honoring six servers from St. Columbkille, as well as servers from other parishes.  Each server received a Serra Club medal that they can wear when serving. “Serra Club Altar Server Award” certificates were provided and will be delivered to our award recipients soon. 

Congratulations to our servers who were recognized last night (from left to right): Charles Monico, Emilee Corbin, Thomas Anderson, Grace Rowe, Trey Krueger and Olivia Soukup.




Monday, March 27, 2017

Parish Mission Week

All parish members are invited to join us by participating in the Parish Mission. A Social follows each evening of the Mission, which enables us to continue to build community. At 8pm on the third evening of our Mission, after the talk and again on the following Sunday at 2pm, we will have the opportunity to celebrate God’s unconditional love and forgiveness with Reconciliation Services. The Social following the Reconciliation Services will include an awesome celebration hosted by our Women’s Guild that features cookies, crackers, cheese, punch and wine.

Please consider joining us for a very blessed week.