Fr. Tom's Thoughts

Dear St. James Parishioners,

Our St. James/Seton Catholic School SOAR Dinner is less than two weeks away. Please consider joining us for a wonderful evening together to support our school. For further details, please see page 5. Also, I want to bring up three other important topics this week:

First: It was with great sadness that we heard last week about the accusation of sexual abuse of a minor by Fr. Don Cleary from back in the 1980’s in Wayne, Nebraska. It is considered a credible accusation and Fr. Don doesn’t contest it so he has been removed from all priestly duties. We must keep in our prayers the victim who was hurt by this abuse; this activity should never happen. At the same time please keep Fr. Don in your prayers. He has been living at St. Elizabeth Ann as a retired priest in residence for the last three years and he has been helping Fr. Frank Baumert in sacramental ministry. He has also been helpful here at St. James and at St. James/Seton School where he has been helping out particularly with confessions. Other than this one incident of abuse from 30 years ago there is nothing else currently against Fr. Don. How his dismissal will affect St. James and St. Elizabeth Ann Parishes in the future still has to be worked on and I just beg for your patience and understanding as we move forward. Since he is not being replaced, both our parishes will probably have fewer Masses. We will cooperate with each other on Mass times to coordinate our efforts and we will have to share Fr. Marcus Knecht to help with sacramental ministry. None of us want to be in this situation, but sometimes we are challenged to trust that the Good Lord is working in our midst and something good will come out of all this. Please keep our parishes in your prayers.

Second: I apologize that the forum on the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal which was scheduled here last Sunday was postponed at the last minute because of the difficult situations at both St. Wenceslaus and St. Elizabeth Ann. Our panel members called and were just overwhelmed with what was going on and felt that the timing of our forum just wasn’t right. We hope to reschedule sometime in the weeks ahead.

Lastly: This Tuesday we vote in our state elections. (Please look over the candidates and their positions as listed on page 2). As citizens of Nebraska we have the honor of electing our own officials by our votes. As Catholics we have the sacred privilege to make sure that our moral truths are respected by our elected officials and protected in our society. I encourage everyone to be aware of what the candidates stand for and to vote for the best ones. We are so privileged to have this right to vote, but that carries the awesome responsibility to make sure we make informed decisions as God would want us to.

Have a great week! God bless everyone!

Fr. Tom Weisbecker

Fatherly Knecht-ions

My Dad was in the first Gulf War. Both of my Grandpas were in WWII. They survived, many did not. As Billy Ray Cyrus sung in the 90‘s, “All gave some. Some gave all.” This Veterans Day we take time to say thanks to our veterans for risking their lives to defend so many more.

Veterans Day is an appropriate holiday for the readings we have on this 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Jesus encourages us to give our all by pointing out the widow who still gave even though she was in poverty. Our first reading has another widow who gives the last of what she has. Death is not part of their story as it is passed down to us. This ultimately points to eternal life with God. Both widows eventually died, but it would seem they died as faithful soldiers for God.

Our life will be asked of each of us at some point in time. How are we willing to give it? In other words, what choices do we make to show we live for God? Do we freely give of ourselves? What are we holding onto?

While praying for the veterans in your life, please pray for me while I am on retreat this week. Also pray for Fr. Tom as he picks up my sacramental load. I will be back in time for the SOAR dinner, which is sold out! Thank you to all who are participating in this exciting fundraiser for our school. You can still buy raffle tickets and bid on items online!

God‘s Peace,

Fr. Knecht