Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Start of Catholic Schools Week 2016

Sunday was the start of Catholic Schools Week. You may have seen some students who helped with Mass Sunday: greeting, reading or bringing the gifts forward.

There was also an announcement after Mass:

 Happy Catholic Schools Week!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Reconciliation

Between two services today, our parish's second graders had their First Reconciliation today. Fr. Dave invited the kids to come forward.

He asked them to name some of the sorts of sins people commit and wrote them on a paper.

With the sins written and symbolizing the sins, one young lady held a candle symbolizing Christ as the light of the world.

When the sins were brought to Jesus and they disappeared in an instant. And so it is with our sins brought to Jesus.

Congratulations to everyone who
 received their First Reconciliation!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Runza Night

Last night a percentage of all the sales at Runza went to the Home and School Association for St. Columbkille Catholic School. And behind the counter helping were Principal Makey and Asst. Principal Redburn.

It was a fun night, but they had
 better not quit their day jobs.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mass in a Snowstorm

Fr. Vogel was among the 316 people from the Omaha Archdiocese who participated in the March for Life in Washington D.C. He is also in one of the six buses from the Archdiocese stuck on the turnpike in Pennsylvania. (One bus made it through before the accident which is holding back the rest.)

 But when you're full of joy you don't pout....

 ... you go outside and celebrate Mass.

We pray for their safe return in due time.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Behold the Lamb of God

I have glasses, but I usually don't wear them.

My nearsightedness hasn't been too bad. I've only noticed it in certain circumstances -- like when I'm seated far away from the action at concerts or sporting events. But during those times, I'm always surprised at how much better I can see when I put my glasses on.

Sometimes I need to slip them on at Mass. When I need them most is just before Holy Communion, when the priest holds up the Consecrated Host and says: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."

Over time, my nearsightedness has made it difficult to behold Jesus when I sit a distance from the altar. And I think it's important at that moment to physically look at Him, to gaze upon Him disguised in the Host.

At the same time during Mass, I'm reminded of my own sinfulness: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

The metaphor of sin as blindness becomes obvious as I'm struggling to see Jesus at Mass. Our sins have a gradual effect on our spiritual vision, diminishing our sight, but in a way we might not notice right away. And slowly but surely, we lose sight of our Lord and the world around us.

We become aware of our shortsightedness when we intentionally behold Jesus, the Lamb of God. If we let Him, He will correct our vision and heal our blindness -- especially in Confession, Holy Communion and the other sacraments.

More and more as I age, I find myself in need of my glasses.

But even more, I know I need to really see.

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, January 20, 2016

Teacher of the Week

Star 104.5 arrived at St. Columbkille Catholic School this morning is to announce they have chosen Mr. Nardini as the Teacher of the week:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Show Choir Retreat

Earlier today there was a retreat for the CruSingers. the Show Choir at St. Columbkille Catholic School.  They worked on choreography and general preparation for the upcoming Show Choir season.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Reconciliation in the Year of Mercy

Sometimes God has a way of aligning things in our lives so perfectly and poignantly.

I've thought of this when eighth-graders in our parish have received the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost -- and in our individual lives, when birthdays, Baptisms, weddings or other events happen at just the right time, often without the aid of our own plans.

This year God's timing seems perfect for our second-graders, who will soon meet Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time during this year's Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. What a perfect time to experience God's mercy in the confessional, for the first time, or the thousandth.

"Reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel," Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles wrote back in 2007, when he was archbishop of San Antonio. "It is the meaning and purpose of Christ’s work, the work He continues today through the ministry of His Church. 'God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,' St. Paul tells us (2 Cor. 5:9)."

Here are some other excerpts from the archbishop's message:

"I can testify from my own life to the healing power of this sacrament received regularly. I invite you too, my brothers and sisters, to experience this for yourselves. Regular celebration of this sacrament will help you form your conscience; it will give you strength in your daily fight against sin; and it will help you to gain the full freedom that is yours as children of God.

"I especially appeal to parents: take your children regularly to confession; as they confess their own sins, let them also see you going to confession. This will have a tremendous impact on their formation as young Christian men and women, and it will yield many blessings of generosity and understanding in your family life."

"The sacrament is a remedy for what ails us. And what ails every one is sin. Our hearts hunger for His forgiveness, for the peace that comes with knowing that we have been pardoned and reconciled to God, for the assurance that we have been given a clean slate and a fresh start. This peace and assurance can only be granted to us through our encounter with the Lord in the sacrament.

"We need personal confession to keep us honest about ourselves. As our Lord showed us, often we are not the best judges of our own character. We find it much easier to judge and find fault in others than to take stock of our own failings before God (Luke 6:37, 41– 42). Often our pride gets in the way, rendering us prone to make excuses or to justify ourselves before God (Luke 18:9–14).
Only in the confessional are we 'exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must render an account' (Heb. 4:13). In the confessional, He looks upon us with love, calling us to an ever-deepening discipleship: 'You are lacking in one thing. . . . Come, follow me' (Mark 10:17–22).'

"What you will discover is that surprise of grace that St. Ambrose of Milan described so well in meditating on the parable of the prodigal son: 'See, the Father comes out to meet you . . . and give you a kiss, the pledge of love and tenderness. . . . You are afraid of hearing words filled with anger, and He prepares a banquet for you.' "

May you find God's grace, healing and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let nothing keep us from God's mercy!

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.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Preparing for Reconciliation

Parents are the first teachers of their children in the faith. Understanding that principle, as children prepare for their First Reconciliation, they prepared with their parents.

On Monday or Wednesday this week parents brought their children to the parish for reconciliation stations. At their own pace, they went through a number of activities where parents helped their children better understand the sacrament of reconciliation.

These students will receive their First Reconciliation on Saturday, January 30th. Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HSA Meeting and Terra Nova Scores

Last night the Home and School Association held a meeting. As a portion of it, they asked Principal Makey to tell about the results of the latest Terra Nova tests. It is a standardized test taken by all the archdiocesan schools as well as the local public schools.

"I’m still surprised at the number of people who think that the academic preparation that St. Columbkille students receive is less than what they might get in the local public school," Principal Makey said, "Part of that is due to the fact that they do have a good public school here, and another part might be because they do such a good job of promoting themselves."

"When we compare the Terra Nova Scores of the local public school students with the Terra Nova Scores of our students, we outscore them at every level and in every test. This means our students aren’t sacrificing a good academic education just to get a good, moral Catholic education. At St. Columbkille Catholic School they get both! It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too!

"In fact, the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha typically score higher in achievement tests than their public counterparts. That leads one to wonder how we at St. Columbkille compare with the other Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. While we aren’t privy to each individual school’s scores, we do have access to the overall averages of the Archdiocesan schools. When we do a direct comparison in all of the grades and all of the test scores we outscore the Archdiocesan schools in 33 out of 36 areas.

"While this is nice information to know, it certainly doesn’t mean that we have no room for improvement. We have adopted the attitude of continuous improvement at St. Columbkille. There will never come a time when we can sit back and say, 'Finally, we have arrived!' On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to know that we’re heading in the right direction."

Principal Makey also announced that the school has received a grant from the Ignite the Faith Campaign. While some of the exact details are being finalized, the grant will allow all 6-8 grade students to have laptops they can work with at school and at home. We are excited to roll out this program in the fall.