‘At this time of crisis we cannot be concerned solely with ourselves, withdrawing into loneliness, discouragement and a sense of powerlessness in the face of problems. Please do not withdraw into yourselves! This is a danger: we shut ourselves up in the parish, with our friends, with the like-minded… but do you know what happens? When the Church becomes closed, she becomes an ailing Church, she falls ill! That is a danger… Think of a room that has been closed for a year. When you go into it there is a smell of damp, many things are wrong with it. A Church closed in on herself is the same, a sick Church.
The Church must step outside herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be, but she must step out. Jesus tells us: “Go into all the world! Go! Preach! Bear witness to the Gospel!”’ –Pope Francis, Pentecost Vigil, 2013
Dear Saint Stephen Parish,
This Sunday, July 1, marks the first anniversary of my service as pastor. It’s been quite a year! On the first weekend I was here, I preached at all of the Masses about the vision I have for the parish. I shared with you that Pope Francis firmly believes that a “culture of encounter” is central to the life of a Christian. It is through relationships that we come to know Jesus in a real and personal way, and in turn, we go into our homes, neighborhoods, places of work, and community to share His love and mercy. As Pope Francis says in the quote that I shared, a Church turned in on itself is “an ailing Church.” As we are fed and nourished by Jesus, present in Word and Sacrament, we are sent out as missionaries to meet people where they are on their journey of life, and through our love and charity, we help them know the love of Jesus Christ.
I share this vision of what it means to be a baptized Christian and a member of His Church. Jesus calls all people to Himself. Throughout His life of public ministry, He welcomed the stranger and outcast, healed those who were sick, befriended and reconciled sinners, and gave refreshment and rest to those who were burdened with the trials of life. The foundation of this vision is the call to each person to deepen his or her own faith, have a great confidence in the message of the Gospel, and be courageous in sharing the Gospel with all whom we meet. It must be our work to invite all people to their place in the Church and love them as brothers and sisters.
This “culture of encounter” places the focus on the person of Jesus Christ and building relationships with all of His people. While catechesis and education are important, it isn’t primary in this vision. The Sacrifice of the Mass is our foundation, and the other Sacraments, opportunities for prayer and faith-sharing groups, and serving the needs of the poor and marginalized are the core activities that will shape and nurture our work. Through our own personal witness and our love for Jesus and His people, we invite others into a relationship with Him.
As we look to our future, let us ask our Loving and Faithful God to strengthen us to be witnesses in the world of the saving grace and infinite love that is offered through Jesus Christ.
We Welcome New Staff Members:
- Please join me in welcoming Father Padraic Stack to our parish family. Father Padraic was ordained by Archbishop Lucas on June 2. He will be involved in all aspects of parish life. Please pray for him in this time of transition. He’s very excited about meeting parishioners and settling into his new family of faith. He will be at all of the Masses this weekend. Please stop after Mass to welcome him.
- We also welcome Catherine Ashton to our parish and staff. Cathy will be the new Director of Evangelization and Catechesis. This position replaces the part-time Director of Adult Formation that was held by Deacon Marty Warwick. Cathy will start her work here at the end of July. You will hear more about this important ministry in the coming weeks. In her letter of application, Cathy wrote:
“Families today are faced with so many demands on their time and conflicting messages from society about what is important. We, as a Church, need to provide engaging and faith-filled opportunities for parents to be with their children and for them to grow together in faith and love.”
- We have also been asked to have a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Omaha serve and learn in our parish. Mr. Kyle Loecker will be arriving in August, and will spend the next year at Saint Stephen. Taking a pastoral year is a wonderful opportunity for a seminarian to experience the life of a parish—and we have a lot here to experience!
Please pray for Father Padraic, Cathy, and Kyle, that their lives and work here at Saint Stephen may be graced and blessed with God’s love and peace.
We will begin offering a Saturday Morning mass . The Mass will be at 8:00 a.m., in the Daily Mass Chapel. The first Mass will be on July 7.
Beginning July 10, our weekly Confession time will move from Thursday to Tuesday. The time of 5:30 to 6:30 will remain the same. The Saturday afternoon time of 3:30 to 4:45 will also remain the same.
A Call to Action:
St Bernard Catholic Community/ St. Stephen the Martryr–
We are asking for prayers and support for our newly hired PE teacher for the 2018–2019 school year, Jim Lebeda. The home of Jim and his wife, Cindy, was destroyed by a fire yesterday. Though thankfully no one was injured, many of their possessions were lost due to the fire, smoke, and water damage.
Jim and Cindy are long-time parishioners of St. Bernard. Jim has worked in Catholic Schools within the Archdiocese of Omaha for over 40 years. Cindy is the daughter of Howard and Bette Rudloff, also long-time parishioners, and is a St. Bernard alum. Cindy and Jim’s children are also St. Bernard graduates, and a couple of their grandchildren currently attend the school.
If you would like to send a financial donation to assist them through this misfortune, you can do so though St Bernard’s website: https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/ne515
Select One Time Gift and add to notes – Lebeda Family
June 30/July 1 – Second Collection for Peter’s Pence. Remember you can also give to special collections through Online Giving.
Rummage Sale Drop offs continue!!
We still need many volunteers during the drop off hours. We, also, need several items on the sign up genius. Below is the link to our sign up genius. Please check it out! Remember, that if you accumulate 20 or more volunteer hours, you will be eligible for a gift certificate to shop early at the Sale.
Drop offs Saturday, June 16th through Sunday, July 8th.
Sat-Sun 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Mon-Thu 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Fri – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
These are some of the things that we don’t accept: Exercise Equipment, Entertainment Centers, Large Desks, Sleeper Sofas, Pianos, Tube TVs, CRT Computer Monitors, and Adult clothing. Just about anything else is fair game. When in doubt, call Deacon Ernie at 402-861-4515. The sale begins July 12th!
Need fireworks? Look no further!
We have entered into a joint partnership with SDM Fireworks to operate a fireworks stand at 190th and Center. St. Stephens receives a flat fee from SDM for the season. The sale is from 8am-10pm, now through July 4th.
If you are in the market for fireworks, we know that you have many options in the city. If this stand is successful, we are hopeful about entering into a long-term relationship.
Rummage Sale drop offs continue!
July 12 – JPII Newman Bar-B-Que! This event will be held Thursday, July 12 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at 1221 S 71st St. All High School Upperclassmen and College Students are invited to attend. For more information, please call Lauren Hankes at 402-557-5575 or email her at lauren.hankes@JPiiOmaha.org.
Knights of Columbus Food Drive
July 21/22 – The Knights of Columbus will be in the gathering space accepting food donations after all of the masses. This food drive benefits the St. Stephen the Martyr food pantry. We have a city wide reputation for having an excellent pantry. This social outreach program goes well beyond our parish boundaries. Please be generous.
Parish 2 Parish Relay
Aug 18 – The Parish 2 Parish relay is a multi-person relay race through the streets of four west Omaha parishes. The race begins at 7am and ends at Mary Our Queen with stops at St. Stephens, St. Wenceslaus and St. Roberts along the way. Each team is comprised of 6 members (a minimum of 3 females per team), with each member running one leg of the 19 mile course (each member ends up running about 3 miles).
Parish 2 Parish is in its 5th year of being hosted by Mary Our Queen and has expanded to include 40+ teams and 6 different parishes
We are hoping that you are all able to join us in this year’s race, either as a participant or a volunteer. Runners of all pace are welcome to join! This event has gained a reputation as a friendly competition that builds relationships among parishes and individual competitors.
For more information and to register, please visit:
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/parish2parish/
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