Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Father Forgive Them

A priest introduced me to a powerful prayer.

He started out by saying "I think this is a powerful prayer," then he corrected himself. "I know this is a powerful prayer."

And it's powerful, he said, precisely because Jesus prayed it: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

This prayer from the cross is obviously one to use when we are trying to forgive others. But it has other uses, too, the priest explained. He said to use it whenever we might be "hitting a wall" with someone: an obstinate teen, perhaps, or someone who has gone down a wrong path, who is unwilling to reason or change, when we have run out of most options, when we otherwise might be tempted to give up on a person.

"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

It's taken me a few months to take that prayer advice to heart. But now I'm seeing it as a powerful prayer for all types of situations, in fact most situations: for peace, for world and church leaders, for respect for the most vulnerable, for those who have left the Church, for sinners dear to us and for those we do not know, for the dying ...

Jesus's prayer, I think, could be prayed for almost anyone or anything.

The priest became an advocate of this prayer after hearing someone else urge its use. Now I pass it along to you, from Jesus's heart, for whatever weighs on your heart this Advent.

"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

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.

Immaculate Conception

When we celebrate the Immaculate Conception on December 8th each year, it is a common mistake to think we are celebrating the Immaculate Conception of Jesus. At Mass on the Immaculate Conception the Gospel is always the Annunciation. Because the Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her about the child she would have, sometimes people think that is the conception which is called immaculate. But the Immaculate Conception is about the conception that prepared Mary for this moment; the time where she would choose whether or not to participate in God's plan for salvation.

In the Gospel, the angel Gabriel says, "Hail Mary full of Grace." In Greek the word used, κεχαριτωμένη, is a perfect passive participle of χαριτοω meaning "to fill or endow with grace." The tense indicates that Mary was graced from the instant she first existed in her mother's (Anne's) womb (well before Gabriel visited) and ever since. It might be best understood as her being so full of grace that sin can not enter her.

The first Mass celebrating the Immaculate Conception will be tonight (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. There will also be Masses Thursday at 6:20, 8:15, 12:10, 5:30 and 7 p.m. It is such a special event that it is considered a Holy Day of Obligation.

St Nick Visits

Today, we had a special visitor to Sacred Heart Preschool.  St. Nicholas (Fr. Dave), stopped by to deliver some treats and tell our preschoolers the story of St. Nicholas. It was a fun surprise!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Praying for Vocations

Exposition, Adoration, 
Vocations Talk, Benediction
2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
November 18th
In 1980 there were 225 priests in the Archdiocese of Omaha working in parishes. Today there are now 134 active priests. In 19 years, at the current pace, there will be just 100. With less priests some pastors are now responsible for two and even three parishes. Parishes that once had four priests might have two today.  

With steady growth of the Catholic population our view of parish ministry will continue to evolve. There is however Good News.  The number of permanent deacons serving our parishes has grown substantially from 63 in 1980 to 246 today and the involvement of laity in Church ministry continues to blossom.
It would certainly be good to have more woman and men entering religious life and the priesthood. There is something we can do.  Jesus said to his disciples, 'The harvest is rich but the laborers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to his harvest.' Matthew 9:37

On Friday November 18th, St. Columbkille Parish with the aide of Deacons Bob Stier and Jerry Overkamp is hosting a Holy Hour for Vocations.  You are most welcome to come for all or part of the hour which will include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00, a talk on vocations by Fr. Dave Reeson at 2:30 and Benediction to wrap up the hour at 3:00 p.m.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Fr. Dave

Last week the parish surprised Fr Dave with an early celebration of his birthday. 

His actual birthday is today. 
So Happy Birthday Fr. Dave!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Math Competitiors

Out of 20 schools, St. Columbkille Catholic School finished 2nd in team competition and scored third overall. Daniel Roland earned an individual medal in the two written competition as well.


(Ryan Plambeck is not pictured.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Celebrating Veteran's Day

The 8th Grade students at St. Columbkille Catholic School were each able to invite a veteran for a special school event on veteran's Day.

Students from the school had named veterans from their families and each was represented with a star on a Wall of Heroes.The 8th graders and their guests sat beside the wall for their program.

The event was begun by one of our students.

We appreciated the NJROTC members 
from Papillion-LaVista South who helped.

The event speaker was Air Force Veteran Fr. Dave Reeson.

The Knights of Columbus held an essay contest. One student in each class from 4th to 8th grade was named a winner and the overall prize winner read her essay at the assembly.

 Our first grade students showed their patriotism in song.

 One of out 8th graders led a blessing of our veteran guests.

 They seemed to enjoy the event.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Praying with Ciara

Last month, my family's two dogs were sprinkled with holy water and blessed at a pet blessing ceremony at St. Columbkille.

This month, one of those dogs is praying.

And she appears to have a special devotion to our Blessed Mother.

Let me explain how this development has come about:

Our family has a custom of praying a Hail Mary before the kids' sports games. We pray for safety and sportsmanship for all involved, for a good game for the team and in particular for our child or any teammate who would benefit from a good performance, for the souls of everyone at the game, and for a victory, if it be God's will. After the "Hail Mary" we end with a traditional team prayer for Catholics: "Our Lady, Queen of Victory, pray for us!"

In our family, one person shouts the first part, the address to Mary. And the others shout back even louder "pray for us!"

Well with all the yelling, our dog Ciara gets a little excited. And a while back she began barking with everyone during the "pray for us!" response. At first the perfectly timed barking seemed like a fluke, and we just chuckled at it. But now she appears to have become conditioned to that response, barking the prayer more frequently with us.

Now she barks with other, similar prayers. I often ask my kids to pray a "Hail Mary" with me before I go to work, for a peaceful night. And we end with "Our Lady, Queeen of Peace, pray for us." No yelling involved.

Just earlier this week when my son Peter and I prayed, invoking the Queen of Peace calmly, Ciara chimed in on cue. A couple days later I tested her alone, with dog treat in hand, shouting "Our Lady, Queen of Victory ..." And "Roh, roh, roh, roh, roh!" was her response. (She prays kind of like Scooby Doo.)

A little background on this dog should be noted:

One night a few years ago, missing a beloved dog that had died, I prayed for another dog, not completely sure if that was a wise prayer. The very next day, at a family gathering, my niece brought three mixed-breed puppies, two in need of a good home. And of course, my children begged for one.
Normally I might have objected, knowing the messes puppies make. But it appeared we were getting a gift from God, so how could I refuse? They had the choice of a dark female puppy or her lighter-colored brother. They chose the girl.

Once we got home we had the task of naming the dog, and each child had certain qualities they wanted in the name. One asked for a current, up-to-date name. Another wanted the literal meaning of the name to reflect something about the dog. Another preferred a saint's name. So we started searching baby names, reading aloud several suggestions. Each was rejected until we came upon Ciara, pronounced "keera."

The name is currently popular; and in its original Irish Gaelic, Ciara means "dark-haired." But we really knew we had the right name when we learned that Ciara is a feminine form of Ciaran, the name of an Irish saint who befriended St. Columbkille.

So perhaps our dog was destined to become saintly and pray. Certainly like all creatures, she was designed to give glory and praise to the Creator.

Now we just need to train her to evangelize.

Then she can teach our younger dog, Laika, to pray.

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, October 26, 2016

Magic at Sacred Heart Preschool

This afternoon, Fr. Dave stopped by the preschool to see our preschoolers at work. He also showed us a magic trick! Here are pictures from his visit.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Confirmation Retreat is Underway

Confirmation Candidates and their sponsors are gathered at the church this morning. The activities are designed to get the two of them to interact discussing their faith.

It also has them consider what to pray
 for and allows them to pray together.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered. 

They also paint together. Each painting is full of symbolism both as a teaching tool and a reminder of the event.

Pray for our candidates and their sponsors, 
this morning in their retreat and 
as their prepare for Confirmation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Raffle Winners

Fr. Pat drew all of the Raffle Winners on Sunday as the Festival finished. The 2016 raffle winners are:

Grand Prize $5,000 - Dave and Elaine Patterson

2nd Prize $500 - Laura Webb

3rd Prize $250 (2 winners) -
Barbara Sales
Paul and Christine Sevener

4th Prize $100 (10 winners) -
William Anders
Barb Stessman
Cathy Peterson
Doug Doty
Kathi Emanuel
Sherry Anders
Woody Armentrout
Fr. Mike Eckley
Dan & Liann Smith
Judy Thome

Congratulations all!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

God's Gift to Me

Early, early one morning on a beautiful late-summer day, God presented me with a small token of His love.

I was driving home from work, in the dark, on a mostly empty Interstate, my mind preoccupied with thoughts I really didn't need to be concerned about. At one point in the drive, I actually thought that I should spend less time thinking about such things and more time praying. But I went back to those thoughts, my tired mind a little obsessed with them.

Then the Interstate took a turn to the right. And directly in front of me was a giant yellow moon on the horizon, so big and bold it almost startled me. And I laughed.

Thank You, God, I said, for I knew it was His gift for me. Somewhere I learned to embrace everything I encounter as a personal gift from God, as though it were for me alone.

Every fragrant flower, every gorgeous sunset, every warm, gentle breeze God sends to me personally, as if I were the only person on the earth. He does this for all of us. Just as He died for each of us, and for all of us.

He loves us that much.

So the gift of the giant yellow moon, hovering just over the horizon, was His surprise for me. It drew me out of my preoccupation and back to Him -- where my mind and heart belonged.

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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Golfing with the Parish Family

The Athletic Council's Annual Golf Tournaments is not only a big fundraiser for athletics (which is financially self sustaining) but a lot of fun!