Beginning of the Finish

It’s really neat to see this all come together.

The tile has arrived. St. Mary’s will have a combination of tile and carpeting. Here you can see a few of the many pallets. In the background you can see the sanctuary extension where the celebrant and deacon will sit.

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Workers are almost finished with window replacement. Here’s the southwest section. These are insulated windows. No more cold drafts!

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Our new choir area has tiered seating. Here, workers are removing the forms from the top tier.

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Our church building is being renewed. Is your heart being renewed? Here’s a great way to have the best lent ever. Let’s do this together.

dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever

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The Fruit of Renewal = Charity and Witness

The renewal of St. Mary’s Church is not an end in and of itself. Our churches are the place of transformative encounter with Christ. In the Eucharist and the other Sacraments we are healed and brought to life by entering into communion with the Holy Trinity. But each liturgy concludes with a commission: “Go forth” or “Go and proclaim the Gospel”.

One of the primary fruits of worship is charity – sharing the love of God we have received. This past week I traveled with 29 pilgrims from our parish adding to a total of 324 from the Archdiocese of Omaha to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. We went not only to protest an unjust decision that has resulted in millions of deaths and wounded hearts but to proclaim to the world (and ourselves) that life is good, very good.

This pilgrimage was a time of deepened faith and friendship for all who went. Along the way we were mindful that our brothers and sisters in Norfolk were traveling with us. All of us are called by God to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. When one person seeks Jesus, the whole Body is built up. How good it is when hearts seek truth and spread it.

We attended Mass at the Verizon Center before the March with about 30 bishops, 200 priests, and 15,000 pilgrims.

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Archbishop Lucas joined us for the March. We love you Archbishop!

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I ran into a good friend from the seminary – Fr. Carl Beekman of the Diocese of Rockford.

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We visited the Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland…IMG_0995

…and prayed at the clinic of abortion doctor Leroy Carhart. Please pray that he and his staff become aware of what they are doing.

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I appreciate the leadership of our Norfolk Catholic seniors. They inspire me.

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“Who’s on the March? Nebraska’s on the March and when Nebraska’s on the March we’re going to Defend Life!”

Moving Forward

An update before I leave for the March for Life this afternoon with 30 others from our parish. Please pray for our safe travel, for an end to abortion, healing for those affected by it, and for the establishment of a Culture of Life!

The adoration chapel is now defined by cinderblock walls. This chapel will have a glass front through which adorers will focus on our current tabernacle. This space will be secure from the rest of the church and accessible 24 hours each day. Walls will be lined with travertine tile.

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Our ambo will be modified to receive a new top “desk”. We’re just about to ship it off to the monument company.

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Framing is complete on the west wing where the restrooms will be.

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The lights in the upper part of the dome have been installed. These will wash the whole sanctuary with light.

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The choir seating area will be set up in “grandstand” fashion. Workers are starting the forms to receive the concrete.

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Parish Mission – Final Evening

The Gospel for this coming weekend captures the spirit of discipleship well. John the Baptist points out Jesus, the Lamb of God. Two men begin to follow and Jesus asks them: “What are you looking for?” Wow, what a question. They respond: “Master, where are you staying.” Jesus says: “Come and see.”

This week hundreds came to see where Jesus lives…and they encountered him. I have no doubt that many lives were changed in the experience of Parish Mission with Steve Angrisano. We realized once again that Jesus is ALIVE, not dead. Since he’s alive, we can grow in relationship with him and help others to encounter him as well. It’s the joy of Jesus that moves us to seek him and the joy is deep and lasting.

Where do we go from here? Well, we go deeper. Lent is coming soon; a season given the faithful to shrug off temporary things and embrace eternal life. The graces we receive will unfold to the degree that we come to Christ personally in sacred silence each day. In the silence…He will speak. He’s waiting for you – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – in the Blessed Sacrament. Go to him!

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Parish Mission Day 3 (and the morning after) – Here I am Lord!

Hearts continue to be filled, healed, and expanded by the Holy Spirit via the ministry of Steve Angrisano. Key point of the night – what we do or don’t do MATTERS in the world. What seems to us an insignificant action can totally change the course of someone else’s life. So, don’t hold back! Press in and be bold.

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This morning Steve joined Danny Leger and our high school musicians for Holy Mass. Was the Spirit moving? Uh, yep.

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Parish Mission Day 1 – We are Family

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Let there be no doubt that people are hungry for the Lord. Our parish mission began last night with 500 strong in attendance. Every age group was well represented. Steve Angrisano ministered to all with humor, music, and moving stories. Here’s a shot of the folks singing “Yes, Lord!” Fun!

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We also learned we can lean on one another.

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Nametags were available to help us get to know one another. We’d all parishioners to start wearing these to Mass and parish events.

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The evening only lasted about an hour but by the time we left our cups were full…but there’s more to come. Please join us tonight through Wednesday at 7 pm.