Friday, February 28, 2014

Visiting our Wax Museum

The 6th grade students each picked a 
historical  figure to depict at a Wax Museum.

These still figures would "come to life" in front of visitors
 and tell the museum visitor about that person.

 It was a fun way for students to use their English skills.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

God's Mighty, Everyday Deeds

"It's a common mistake to think that God's 'works' and 'mighty deeds' are told only in Scripture. Every person's life is God's work of art, an expression of His creative love, His goodness, His compassion." -- from the Magnificat prayer magazine

I think most people have moments in their lives in which they can clearly see the hand of God at work. At other times, equally or more important in our spiritual lives, God seems more hidden.

Let me relay one incident in my life, about 15 years ago, where I saw God's "mighty deeds."

It began when I heard or read that one of the best ways to promote vocations to the priesthood is to pray for them. Another recommendation: if you know someone whom you think would be a good priest, you should tell him.

Up to that point, I had never prayed much for religious vocations, nor had I thought about who would make a good priest. But I reflected for a moment and thought of my brother Tom. I had another single brother at the time, but Tom popped into my head, and he was the only person I thought about.

But how would I bring up the subject of the priesthood? It seemed like such an awkward and random topic to broach. It happened to be the beginning of Lent, so I decided to pray for vocations and my brother through Lent, particularly at holy hours before the Blessed Sacrament, and when I saw Tom on Easter, I would bring up the priesthood.

Lent went by quickly. Easter arrived . . . and I did nothing.

I never had time alone with my brother or the right opportunity to bring up the subject. More time passed -- more than a year, in fact -- and I continued to think and pray about the possibility of my brother becoming a priest.

He was passionately pro-life, and sometimes we talked late into the night about pro-life issues and spiritual matters. That happened one night as we walked out of the place where we both worked and lingered in the parking lot to talk. Finally that awkward moment came, and I asked: "Have you ever considered becoming a priest? I think you would make a good one."

He kind of paused and laughed. "Actually, I have. And just last night I asked God to give me a sign."

My brother talked to the archdiocese vocations director and entered the seminary when school began that fall. Tom later told me he was taught in the seminary not to rely on or expect signs from God. I wasn't too worried about that because his faith was rooted more deeply than that. But the moment in the parking lot remained special for both of us.

It gave me goosebumps at the time and made feel like I was soaring on the drive home. I think it's striking that if we are used by people we're left feeling shamed and embarrassed. But when we feel God using us in His plans, it's uplifting and intoxicating.

I continued to pray for Tom, for other seminarians and vocations. He spent several years in the seminary but never was ordained a priest. I'm not sure how his decision, after much discernment, to enter the seminary and then leave it worked into God's plans. I am convinced, though, that time spent in the seminary is never a waste of time. Tom was told early on that most seminarians don't become priests, but that God richly rewards the men who were willing to give their lives as priests.

I was happy for God working through me in His plans for someone else, but I realized I could take no credit. It was the Holy Spirit who planted the inspiration to pray into my heart, and he worked out the right moment to inspire my brother.

But to see God at work is a blessing in itself.

"Grant us wisdom to see Your works in our daily lives and to praise You at every turn . . ." Magnificat

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Get a Peek at the Ceili Program

The Ceili Program is now online. Take a peek here.

Also, see what you can win just be arriving before 6:00:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Son of God - The Movie

I do not often recommend a movie sight unseen, but from the previews I have seen and listening to what Cardinal Wuerl had to say about the movie after having seen it, I am encouraging all of you to go see the movie "Son of God."

  • Fr Damian

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 2014 Spirit of St Columbkille Awards

Kim and Kevin Pokorny were married at St. Peter’s parish in Bellwood, Nebraska, and recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.  Kim and Kevin became part of the St. Columbkille community in 1989 Their children Chris, a junior at Gross Catholic High School, and Megan, an 8th grader at St. Columbkille School, have grown up in the parish. 

Kevin, a police officer, is Captain with the La Vista Police Department.  Kim, a registered nurse, is manager of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Kevin has overseen the St Columbkille Festival Raffle for over 19 years; which has been a fun project for the entire family. Chris and Megan have been involved since they were babies.  The Festival is a great opportunity to ‘build family and community’ and the Pokornys would like to encourage others to become involved.

Kevin has coached soccer, softball and basketball. He is an EMHC/homebound, funeral adult altar server, delivers Thanksgiving meals, chaperoned Confirmation retreats and assists the Gross Trap Team.  Kevin is voluntary chairman of the Police Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee.  

Kim volunteers for funeral lunches, classroom projects, parties, special events and field trips.  She is on the City of La Vista Library Advisory Board, having served as President and Secretary. Kim is very involved volunteering with national transplant organizations working to improve the treatment and care of patients receiving blood and marrow transplants.  

Chris volunteers at the La Vista Public Library, as scorekeeper for St. Columbkille basketball, for the police children’s Christmas party, at the Papillion gun club, and delivers Thanksgiving meals.  As part of an engineering team, he helped to redesign the chapel at Gross Catholic High School.   

Megan volunteers at the La Vista Public Library, for the police children’s Christmas party, delivers Thanksgiving meals, and assisted with the Linus blankets project.  She is a member of St. Columbkille School’s Acts of Kindness through Service and Junior National Honor Society. 

Kim and Kevin believe in a strong Catholic education and feel very fortunate to be part of the St Columbkille Parish and School community. 

Dottie and Al Schmid, married for over 50 years, have dedicated their lives to community. Al’s background in farming coupled with his banking experience brought them to Papillion in 1964.

In 1988, Al, along with his son Jeff, chartered The American National Bank of Sarpy County.  The bank opened its doors in 1989 and after serving as President and Chairman of the Board for many years he is currently Chairman Emeritus. Dottie, born and raised in Massachusetts, met All while visiting an uncle at Offutt Air Force Base. After raising their children, Dottie began a 30 year career as a receptionist and in insurance billing.

Al has served as President of the Papillion Chamber of Commerce, Color Guard and Honor Guard for the American Legion, served on the Boards of the Midlands Hospital Foundation, Papillion La Vista Schools and the YMCA. He was a charter member of the Papillion Area Lions Club Al served on the Building and Finance Committee when the current church was built. He was also one of four original men to serve as Lectors and EME’s when laypeople were allowed. Al has been a member of the West Omaha Serra Club for many years.

Dottie has served as President of the Altar Society, President and member of the Funeral Committee and as an Eucharistic Minister.  She has also been an RCIA Sponsor and worked with Sister Schumaker helping the New Catholic Committee. But most important was being present at the activities of her children and grandchildren.

The Schmids feel blessed with the many friendships that have been made with their opportunity to be involved in the parish and community.

The Spirit of St. Columbkille awards will be presented by Fr. Damian Zuerlein at Columb's Ceili Saturday, March 1st at the Embassy Conference Center in La Vista.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Godfather Vogel

Last weekend Fr Vogel flew to Washington D.C. to become serve as Godfather to Gerald Dane Curren III, the son of two of his dear friends.

His parents attribute the miracle of his birth to Our Lady of Lourdes as they were told by a doctor that they would be unable to achieve pregnancy naturally.

As Fr. Vogel was on the first leg of his trip, the flight was the second leg was cancelled, delaying him for a day. His flight back also had to be rerouted due to weather in the east. But it was well worth it.

Daddy & Me

Wednesday night students at Sacred Heart Preschool brought their fathers or someone special to celebrate Daddy & Me.

 We did activities together.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Getting Ceili Ready

Some students at St. Columbkille Catholic School work on a piece to be auctioned at Columb's Ceili on March 1st. For tickets or see what's happening, check out

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What are you going to do for Lent?

Lent is nearly here.

It's time to prayerfully consider what we should do during those 40 days to open our hearts to Jesus.

I looked around for suggestions for Lenten practices and found some of the most uplifting at, an online site for young Catholics. The site asked people to share what they've done during Lent, and they provided some creative and unusual suggestions. Sometimes I included the person's comments because they, too, were inspiring.

"Don't eat the last bite of your food."

"Park at the very back of the parking lot."

"Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe every day."

"Don't use your apps."

 "Get to know your neighbors."

 "Stop complaining."

 "Give up texting and call whoever you need to talk to."

 "Give away 10 shirts, two pairs of pants and a pair of shoes."

 "When you wake up, jump out of bed, kiss the floor and learn humility."

 "Wear the same four outfits for all of Lent."

 "Leave a Post-It with a positive message on it wherever you go."

 "Cut out all screen time (phone, TV, computer) after dinner."

 "Use your weekends to babysit for free."

 "Don't straighten or curl your hair."

 "Give up all drinks but water.

 "Don't give up anything. Just pray more.

"I gave up spoons and forks. I learned to use chopsticks. It was funny for my friends and made it easy to talk about Lent in a way that people were cool with. We laughed a lot."

"Give up your bed and sleep on the floor or couch."

"I fasted for all of Lent one year. One meal a day really brings souls to Jesus, especially your own!"

"I'm going to treat my body as a temple of God during Lent . . . everything I read, watch, listen to, eat, drink, do, say, etc. . . . focusing on being a temple of God."

"Each day of Lent, I wrote a person . . . a letter of thanks for how they touched my life, and I prayed for that person on that day. . . . It was a WONDERFUL experience!!!"

"This year, I'm giving up the radio in my car in order to focus more on the things that are around me that God created! I can't wait, so I've already started doing it."

"I slept outside in a tent. And I live in Canada! So it was well below freezing!"

"I have an issue with vanity, especially when I get ready in the morning. So I decided a couple years ago to just wear the first outfit I put on every morning. What I learned from that was how to get a source of self esteem beyond my outfits."

"Last year two of my friends gave up warm water for their showers."

Leave your phone behind if you always have to check it. "My hope is that having moderation I can be more present to the people around me."

Listen more.

Give up makeup.

"Usually during Lent, on top of giving up something we love but don't need, we say that any money that is found in the laundry, couches, and anywhere else was God's money, and we gave it to the poor. I remember one of the first years we did this, I found a $20 bill in a parking lot."

"Two years ago I went to adoration every day during Lent. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't make it every day but I made it most of the time and it changed my life to . . . be with Jesus that much. It was an awesome experience."

"Getting to the third floor using stairs."

"I've adopted a priest in Chile . . .  I offer daily prayers and sacrifices for Father."

Give up the alarm clock's snooze button.

"For Holy Week last year I gave up my pillow. . . . It made me realize how blessed I am to even have a bed."

I hope these suggestions got you thinking. Please submit other ideas as well.

Whether you choose to be creative or conventional, have a holy and blessed Lent!

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mass for Shut-Ins

Did you know that we help sponsor a weekly Mass for Shut-Ins that the Omaha Archdiocese produces? Here is the one from Sunday:

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Patriotic Theme

A few weeks ago the First Grade students at St. Columbkille Catholic Catholic School sang for the Senior Happy Club. With their patriotic theme, it seems appropriate to show on President's Day.

Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Concert Tonight

Daniel Oberreuter, how is the lead singer for the band, The Thirsting, will have a concert in our church at 6:30 tonight. He is singing at our Masses today so you can get a sense of him.

Or check out one of their music videos:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Parties: Part 2

 It was a festive time during the Valentine's Day
 parties at St. Columbkille Catholic School.

Happy Valentine's Day!