Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
It was a time when the Vatican II reforms had begun, and the laity were invited to become more involved in the faith. She was a pioneer in being active within the parish and the archdiocese. Our current liturgist, David Batter, has said that part of the reason he was attracted to come to St. Columbkille from the Cathedral was because of what Karen had established here.
The Vigil service will be in the church at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) and the Funeral will be Thursday at 10:30.
Here's a clipping from Karen's old office files. We presume it was from the Papillion Times which accompanied the picture above. We're not sure of the date but it must have been from around 1984:
Ironing earned music money...
Harpist shares her talent
"The biggest question I get is 'Why didn't you pick up the piccolo, it would be much easier to carry around?'"
That's true, said LaVistan Karen Conoan, but "I just fell in love with the harp."
The 35-year-old mother of four began playing the ancient instrument as a 9th graders at North High School.
When time permits, Karen performs at weddings, funerals, dinner parties and other events, carrying her 65-pound, 5 1/2-foot-tall harp in the back of the family station wagon.
Ironed shirts for lessons
"I do an awful lot of playing with people eating in the background," she joked. She's also performed for a commercial, an Omaha Playhouse play and at the annual Community Christmas Carol Concert, an event she coordinates each year at Papillion's St. Columbkille Church.
She discovered the harp at a high school music program. She worked ironing shirts for her uncle to pay for her first lessons which cost $15. "At 35 cents a shirt, that's a lot of shirts." she said.
"I really fell in love with the harp at that...my mother had to tell me to stop practicing."
Shortly after Karen and her husband, John, were married, they purchased two items -- a motorcycle for him; a harp for her.
A music education graduate of Wayne State College, she studied one summer at Indiana University and is currently a student of Omaha jazz harpist, Anita Clark. She minored in piano and can also play guitar, clarinet and viola.
With 46 strings and seven pedals (to produce sharps and flats) Conoan said a harp can produce sounds unique to other instruments. The luxurious, dreamy sound of a "glissando," where a harpist sweeps their fingers across many strings up or down the musical scale, is an example.
Not so glamourous
"It's not as glamourous as one thinks," she added, however. "You do get blisters and they break. Eventually, you get callouses."
One particular rough gig was playing harp for the Omaha Community Playhouse's production of "Peter Pan." It called for many glissandos as Peter Pan flew across the stage. She used a felt pick then, she said.
Now in her 10th year of directing the adult choir at St. Columbkille, Karen now also serves as liturgical director for the church. She has sang and performed for more services than she can count.
Although transporting a harp can take a toll on the instrument (which costs $12,000 new), Karen says bringing music to other people is important.
"I feel it's worthwhile bringing pleasure to other people...it's not just a beautiful piece of furniture."
The alumni especially enjoyed some time atthe playground.
Thanks for coming - stay in touch!!
Monday, April 28, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Bulletin Letter this week, Fr Damian writes:
My only close encounter with John Paul came in 1998 when I went with a group on a pilgrimage to Rome led by a priest from Minnesota who had worked at the Vatican for seven years. A small group of us were invited to attend the morning Mass with John Paul. After Mass he came to the large reception room where we were waiting. He came to each of us for a brief conversation. My conversation with Pope John Paul went like this:
“Where are you from?” he asked.
“Omaha, Nebraska.” I replied.
“Where is Omaha, Nebraska?” he asked.
“You were in Des Moines, Iowa.”
“I remember Des Moines.”
“And, you were in Denver, Colorado.”
“I remember Denver.”
“Well,” I said, “Omaha is in between the two.”
“Good, good” he replied while he patted my hand, handed me a rosary and turned to talk to my mother who was standing next to me.
My mother was speechless as the pope took her hands into his and looked into her eyes. I explained to him that this was my mother.
“Ahh,” he said, “Mother is very good, good.”
John Paul was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease in 1998 and it was difficult for him to get around. He used a cane as he went around the room and spoke to each of us. As he finished his time with the group that day, he saluted us with his cane and a smile. (I still have the rosary he gave me that day).
Today is special as St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII have been canonized.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Part of today's celebration was hands on as
she helped plant a really huge tree on Arbor Day.
This morning there was a photofest as the Kindergarteners
each got to invite one special guest for their Spring Tea.
The students sang for their guests, recited
a poem and gave them a certificate.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Happy Easter! Rejoice! Alleluia!
We shouldn't tire of those words because Easter is not over yet. In fact, it's just begun. We're only on Day Five of one day, Easter -- thanks to the Easter Octave, one day the Church joyously prolongs over eight days.
And the Easter season is 50 days, so this year we can stretch our Resurrection joy all the way into June (kind of like professional basketball and hockey seasons).
For fun, take a look at one Catholic blogger's list of 50 ways to celebrate Easter, one for every day of the season.
At the end of the blog, the writer suggests using Chris Rice's Cartoon Song as a ring tone. If you haven't heard the song, you should look it up. It made me smile, and I hope it will bring some Easter joy to you, too.
Happy Easter! Rejoice! Alleluia!
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, April 22, 2014
And St. Columbkille did win.