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Welcome to Saint Gerald Catholic Church

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From the Pastor's Desk
Stewardship Renewal: Give the Lord a chance to light a fire in your heart. Yes, the Lord can do that if we allow him to have some matches-we own the matches: the matches of time and talent. Only when you give him some time or some talent can He then light that fire. Anyone who puts forth the effort to give something back to the Lord that really costs you something will find his/her reward a 100 fold in return. I will be preaching all the masses next weekend as we begin our renewal. We are entering the world of technology in our sign-up process this year. We have cliff-notes version of a stewardship fair this year along with the Men's club breakfast with Santa. We'll be addressing Stewardship with some great lay witness talks. Stay tuned... over the next three weeks.

Have you noticed? The servers are wearing new crosses that were made by Tom Fonfara. He has made enough so that we can actually give a cross to a server when he begins to serve, more of a memento for his/her room at home. Thanks Tom for this gift to the parish. The servers are also wearing various colored cords with their crosses. Depending on the grade they are in, they wear that color cord. The gold is reserved for those loyal and dedicated servers who serve into High School. We will be having an installation ceremony for all our new servers in January at which we will present the new cross and purple cord.

Thanksgiving Day Mass: Traditionally we take up a collection for the Stephan Center and our St. Vincent de Paul Fund. Canned food and toiletries go to the Stephan Center, cash donations go to our SVDP fund to help the poor. Mass is at 9:00 am at 96th and Q on Thanksgiving Day.

First Sunday of Advent: This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and we want to have a variety of representatives from the many different ministries, committees and organizations take part in the lighting of the candle on the Advent Wreath each week at each mass. If you would like to participate just let Vici Hegarty, head sacristan, know.

Bringing up the gifts: It is wonderful for families with little kids to help with the offertory procession. The kids love to carry something and this is a great way to feel more a part of the mass. If you want to do this just find an usher and let them know before mass. It works best if you are here at least 10 minutes before mass.

Pressure Cooker: I am looking for a pressure cooker to do some canning of a spaghetti meat sauce. Can anyone loan me one? Fr. OK

Immaculate Conception Masses: This major feast day and Holy Day of Obligation lands on a Monday. So, on Dec. 8 we will have masses at 7am, 8:15am, 12:15pm at 96th and Q. There will be a 9am and 7pm at Lakeview. There is NO eve mass for this Feast Day on Dec. 7.

A Little History: At the First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852, under the direction of Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, the Bishops of the United States chose the Blessed Mother, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of the United States. This was two years before the promulgation of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854. And this was 30 years before the ordination of Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus in 1882 at the Cathedral in Baltimore. This above Council was called Plenary because it made rules and guidelines for all the Diocese of the United States. This period of time in the United States, for the Catholic Church, was one of dramatic growth. Populations of Catholics were growing, parishes and institutions were created and the role of the Church in society moved the Church into the mainstream of United States Culture. It is also interesting to note that the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1885 promulgated a catechism which came to be known as the Baltimore Catechism, the same year the Diocese of Omaha was created.

Important Financial Comments: A series of spending reductions have been put into place and will begin to take effect as soon as possible. We have indefinitely postponed repairs that are not essential. (What do you do when the City tells us some of our sidewalks are bad? Essential comes in many forms.) We have turned down thermostats; we are planning for summer reductions in outdoor maintenance and indoor cleaning and sprucing up. We have terminated all bulletin inserts. We look for donors for items we normally would buy from our budget like the Easter Candle or Liturgical Items. We have asked the Angel Auction and the HOPE Certificate program to fund normal budgetary items like textbooks and other school supplies. We are asking all parish organizations to look at themselves as part of the solution. With personnel accounting for 75% of our budget, we are contemplating further cutbacks to help close the gap. Before we can ask you to look at your Sunday and Holy Day contributions we have to cut things around here to the bone. It will mean that certain programs both in the parish and school will be cut. I see no other way to balance the budget.

At the recent Finance committee, which works to assess our financial health, it became clear that we can't wait till after Christmas to begin planning for our reductions. Deficit spending has hounded us for over two years... we have no more savings to help us pay our bills. It is sad that we have gotten to this position; I thought Financial Stewardship Renewal we had to increase Sunday contributions before we ever launched the recent Capital Campaign would keep our heads above water. It only takes a few students less to account for serious income loss; it only takes a few parishioners not coming to mass and giving their envelope to account for the same; it only takes a down Christmas and Easter Collection to amount to $30,000 less in income. Although the parish was by and large very generous to the Capital Campaign and these funds are coming in as expected... the rest of the financial picture for the parish is really tough.

I'm sorry that this has happened; at age 60 it makes me feel I can't keep the ship this large, from taking on water. When I look at the roster and see that we are a parish of 2500 families the reality is that we are a parish of 1000 families that we can call on to help with a campaign and we are a parish of 750 families that are truly engaged. I call on the 750 to invite the others to become active members.

I will never be accused of being a pastor who keeps his parish in the dark. The Leadership of the parish has met and looked at all sorts of positive things it can do to bring back membership and increase student population. In the final analysis: we have always been a parish with great people but rarely excessive financial resources. But the great people have begun to wake up and smell the coffee AND put on their work gloves so that together we will solve the problem.

Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama, and his experiences adds a dimension to our problems that contain both a challenge and a perspective. He had to close 118 parishes in his diocese not because of shifting populations, declining numbers in affected parishes, or a lack of clergy, but on the fact that those 118 churches had been burned to the ground by vicious anti-Christian mobs! His woes puts our problems to shame. Archbishop Ignatius, along with his courageous people and priests, are facing regular attacks by an outfit of thugs called Boko Haram, which is waging war on the Church. And they are not alone.

Throughout the world, especially in areas controlled by radical Islam, Christians are under attack. Each day leads to new reports of Christians beheaded, beaten to death, raped, or forced to flee. In some countries the victims are branded with an "N" to identify them as followers of Jesus of Nazareth. The ancient Churches of the Middle East, which have been in countries like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and parts of Lebanon since the time of the apostles, are literally near extinction, as believing Christians have been burned and slaughtered, or forced into exile. It's called Christianophobia, a systematic, unrelenting persecution of believers, to intimidate them at best, to eradicate them at worst, and it shows no sign of letting up. New cases are reported daily from places such as Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Another fact makes us blush: We have to reduce what we are doing because we do not have enough resources, or people who are engaged. Our faith has grown so sluggish that people no longer frequent their parish or go to mass. The opposite is true in those besieged countries where the faith is in the crosshairs of snipers' rifles. Archbishop Ignatius tells us, for instance, that 80% of his people are at Sunday Mass, vocations to priesthood are booming, and tens of thousands join the Church each year, even though it could cost them their lives! Not only that, but the day after their simple parish church is torched, the people are back to rebuild it. And, instead of returning the violence, Archbishop Ignatius, his diocese, priests, and people are uniting with their peaceful Islamic neighbors to resist the hatred and build bridges of peace. Their faith is stronger, the Church more vibrant, united, and attractive, even though their 118 parishes have been leveled by attacks.

And here we drift along, watching our people walk away, our numbers shrink, our faith diluted. In our country of comfort, peace, and freedom, we're merging parishes and cutting services; in those countries of persecution, bloodshed, martyrdom, and attack, they're rebuilding, and the faith is more vibrant than ever. Reminds me of the comment of Blessed Paul VI: "When it's easy to be a Catholic, it's hard to be a good one; but when it's hard to be a Catholic, it's easier to be a good one. (I thank Cardinal Dolan of New York for help with these above words. He was reflecting on the merging of 30% of their 386 parishes and the pain that is causing them. Our St. Gerald issues alongside of those of Archbishop Ignatius makes one think a bit.)
Guardian Angel Auction and Dinner
Save the date! St. Gerald's Guardian Angel Dinner and Auction will be held on February 14, 2015. We invite you to be a part of this memorable event! Please consider donating an item to be auctioned, such as a themed basket or gift card, supporting as a business sponsor, advertiser, or other monetary donation. For a wish list of Auction items and more details, please visit our website at www.stgerald.org/guardianangel.html. Please contact us with questions at angie.gallagher@conagrafoods.com or 402-660-0738.

Angie Gallagher and Jen Tselentis
2015 Auction Chairs
Business Office Holiday Closings
Office closed Nov 27 and 28.
Office closes at 11:30am on Dec 24.
Office closed Dec 25 and 26.
Office closes at 11:30am on Dec 31.
Office closed Jan 1 and 2.
Angel Tree
St. Gerald will help those in need that live in our parish boundaries at Christmas time. If you know of someone who has children and may need help this Christmas with gifts for their children, please have them contact the business office at 402-331-1955. We will accept names until November 17. No names accepted after the deadline.
Choir Concert
Let us prepare our hearts for the essence of the Advent/Christmas Season. Come and spend an evening with the St. Gerald Choir as we present our new festive music for this beautiful time of year. Mark your calendars for Sunday, Nov 30 at 7:00 p.m., Church, 96th & Q.
Poultry Bingo
The St Gerald Knights of Columbus Council 9518 will sponsor their Annual Turkey Bingo on Sunday, Nov 23. Bingo will be for donated prizes, turkeys and money. Fr Foster Parish Center, 78th & Lakeview, 7-10pm. Proceeds raised will be used by the Knights of Columbus to support scholarships, youth activities, and various charitable needs within the community. Last year's funds were used to provide scholarships to students continuing their education and other charities of the Knights of Columbus.
Advent: A Season to Let Jesus Find You
Saturday, December 6, 9am-12pm in the Fr Larry Dorsey Fellowship Hall, 96th & Q. A free will offering continental breakfast will be served beginning at 8:15am.
Fr. Paul Hoesing, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha will lead this time of reflection:
"There is one who is coming after me"
The scripture comes from the Baptist
Letting us know the really Good News
He comes to us...
Prepare to be found
Please call the St. Gerald Office, 402-331-1955, to register.
Fr. Korte in Italy
Fr. Korte shares his pictures and stories from his trip to Italy.

Forging a Future of Faith Campaign

Prayer for the success of our campaign
Dear Jesus,
We humbly stand before you *
grateful for our call to be your disciples. *
We form St. Gerald Parish with its vital connection to the
Archdiocese of Omaha *
and together we form a community of faith *
helping each other respond to your call to be holy and generous disciples.
Thank you for St. Gerald Parish and the whole Archdiocese *
for they are gifts to us from the many faithful who sacrificed to build and
nourish what we have today *
and to whom we are forever indebted.
When you sent the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples,
tongues of fire appeared. *
Let that same fire forge us into more holy and generous disciples. *
Let the flames enlighten us to share what we can for the good of
St. Gerald Parish and the whole Archdiocese.
May the gifts of the Holy Spirit, freely given to us, be ignited in our souls
and in our actions *
so that we can be more like you, Lord Jesus, *
for you show us the way by loving example and enable us with your grace.
Dear Jesus, please bless our efforts to provide a holy future filled with
hope for generations yet to come.
We offer this prayer in your name, Jesus, for you live and reign with the
Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
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Communion to Shut-Ins
If you know of anyone who is unable to come to Mass on Sunday and they would like the Eucharist brought to them, please call 402-331-1955.

Mission Statement
We are a Catholic faith community devoted to becoming a dynamic center of worship. We challenge ourselves to lead lives patterned after Jesus. With gratitude we share our faith, talents, gifts and resources so that more people experience God's love.

Parish Goals
1. To help people feel "at home" in our parish.
2. To improve communications within the parish.
3. To increase our evangelization efforts.
4. To improve the financial state of the parish and the viability of its property.
Click here for more detail regarding parish goals.
Today's Mass Readings
Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website and read today's mass readings, or listen to the readings by clicking on the play button (small triangle) below.

Help Our Parish Educate
By purchasing gift certificates to various local vendors at no additional cost to you, you support our educational programs including 5 Day School, Family Faith Formation, Youth Ministry, Adult Education, and the Parish Library. Click here to reserve your HOPE certificates online now.
Online Giving
Make your one-time or recurring donation using your debit card, credit card, checking, or savings account. Click here or scan the QR code with your phone:
Women's Social Group
Click Here for more information about the St. Gerald Women's Social Group and join us for one of our upcoming events!
Bible Verse of the Day
Update Your Information
The parish office maintains information on our registered parishioners. Please take a moment to submit your information so we can update our records. If you are not yet registered at St. Gerald, you may wish to register now.

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