Passion “Palm” Sunday: Today we read and participate in the account of Jesus’ passion and death, a foretaste of the events that will unfold during this Holy Week. This week there are many opportunities to dive into the mysteries of Jesus’ love for us, including new events like the celebration of Tenebrae on Wednesday evening and an Easter Egg Hunt on Holy Saturday. We’ll also need many parishioners to help decorate and clean the church on Holy Saturday in preparation for Easter. We planned for our school children to be on break this week and there are no Religious Education classes this Wednesday in the hopes of encouraging families to participate in these devotions and solemn liturgies
Godspell Junior: I was spellbound by the performances of our grade school children in their production of Godspell Junior. I have never seen the original version but I cannot imagine a better way to be introduced to the musical than through our parish kids. The acting, singing, humor, stagecraft, décor, and dancing all came across very well. It also directly evangelized the audience in teaching Christ’s essential parables and teachings in a fun way. I am so proud of all the kids that participated on and behind the stage. Special thanks go to CtK teachers Mindy Fasano, Amy Becker and Rebekah Menzel for overseeing the event.
Newman Center Oratory: The nearby JPII Newman Center just celebrated the dedication and consecration of their newly-completed oratory, i.e., a modest church, last Sunday. The space is stunning and profound. Please consider making a trip to the Newman Center at 70th & Pacific Street and tour the dorms and pray in the oratory. This center for our young adults is teaching them how to become fervent disciples. It will have a dramatic and profound impact on our future vocations to matrimony, consecrated life, and holy orders.
Staff Change: We are sad to see our parish Evangelization Director, Brandon Harvey, prepare to depart from us. Brandon gave me notice and he has accepted a new position with the Chesterton Academy that will allow him to use his considerable teaching gifts and love of classical education. Brandon will be here through May 31, 2017. I am grateful for the various initiatives he helped us begin and that will continue in the parish, faith-building events like Discovering Christ, Bible studies, etc. Please pray for him and wish him well.
A Word from Our Evangelization Director: I have been blessed to observe and be part of the work of the Holy Spirit at CtK: ongoing evangelization opportunities for adults, a revised Baptism Prep, and a parish community focused RCIA. Programs are only growing in attendance and fruit of the Spirit. CtK is a community of the New Evangelization. This is all thanks to the Holy Spirit and Father Cook. I am blessed to have been part of it.
As I apply for the deacon program in the Archdiocese, I find myself reflecting more on my ministry. For a year I have had a yearning to do ministry on a different level. I love Christ and His Church so much that I would say “yes” to His ministry for free. This yearning has only grown. After a lengthy period of discernment, I have accepted a new position as the Headmaster and Theology teacher at the Chesterton Academy of Omaha. This new opportunity will allow me to pursue my passion for Classical Education, teaching and discover a new way of saying “yes” to ministry.
The clergy, staff, evangelization team, RCIA participants and parish families have become such a big part of my heart that I will never forget a moment. You have been so good to me and my family. Thank you. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for the next stage of evangelization at CtK. With excellent clergy and evangelization leaders, God is surely going to continue to be realized in the New Evangelization at CtK. God bless you and thank you.
Garage Sale Thanks: Once again I am so impressed with the Parents Club Garage Sale: the leadership, quality of items, organization, and spirit of the event. It provides great items at reasonable prices for those that come, it helps us unclutter our closets, and it generates revenue that helps the parish and school. It also makes people in the larger community aware of Christ the King. Thanks to everyone who donated to the sale, to all the area captains and managers who organized for and assisted in the sale, and especially to Rebecca Hazel for coordinating the entire effort.
Parish Office Closed: In celebration of the holy days, the Rectory will be closed on Good Friday, April 14 and Easter Monday, April 17. We regret any inconvenience.
Abstinence from Meat: Those age 14 and older are required to refrain from eating meat on Good Friday, April 14.
Fasting: Those between the ages of 18 and 59 should fast on Good Friday. Fasting consists of eating one full meal and two smaller meals during the day, without snacks. If one cannot do this for legitimate health reasons, he or she is exempt.
School Musical: Students in our school have been rehearsing many hours to put on their production of Godspell, the musical. Please come see the moving and inspirational fruits of their hard work. There are two showings: Sunday, April 2nd at 2:00 pm and Monday, April 3rd at 7:00 pm in the Christ the King School Gymnasium.
Hidden Saints: In these last two weeks before Easter known as Passiontide, we cover the statues and images of Jesus and the Saints in the church and other public areas. It is an old tradition that continues today. Passiontide is a period that emphasizes the impending passion and death of Jesus. In the old Church liturgical calendar, Passiontide began with the Gospel about Jesus going into hiding. This passage inspired Christians to symbolically represent Jesus’ self-concealment by draping purple cloth over crucifixes and depictions of Christ. Of course, when Jesus went into hiding, His disciples and friends went with Him, so we also cover the images of the Saints who are the friends of Jesus. These enshrouded figures also evoke the pall of death and prepare us for Good Friday, a day when the world will shudder at Jesus’ demise, but don’t worry: Easter will return these holy Saints into our lives and into our church. Perhaps you have never realized the beauty of these images until they were removed. May we never take Jesus or the Saints for granted in the same way.
Why Incense? Many of the things used in our sacred liturgy have both spiritual and practical purposes: Before the chasuble (the outer vestment of the priest) symbolized the love of Christ it was the common outer cape of the day. Before the candle signified the light of Christ it helped illuminate texts and processions in the days before electricity. Before the alb (the common vesture worn by altar servers, clergy, etc.) signified spiritual purity it was the common toga of the day. The case of incense is no different.
The Jewish people used incense in the temple for many reasons. Remember that the Jews slaughtered animals and burned their remains in sacrificial offerings to God. The incense served a practical purpose: it masked the odor of offal and burning flesh. There was another significance to incense. The Jews noticed its elegant movement upwards. It visibly expressed the flight of invisible prayers to God in heaven: “Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice!” (Psalm 141:2).
Incense was not immediately used by early Christians even though they were accustomed to it, being Jews. Incense was primarily associated with animal sacrifice and so early Christians, who didn’t continue the offering of animals, did not immediately utilize incense in worship. However, because of the early Church’s Jewish roots and the sacrificial nature of the Mass – the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of Jesus on the cross – the use of incense eventually became incorporated into our Catholic liturgy. Incense symbolized our prayers rising to God, highlighted the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, and beautified the temple with a fragrant redolence. The individual granules of incense came to represent the many Christians who offered up their lives to God in immolation and martyrdom. Incense also served practical functions: its sweet aroma masked the odors of old churches and dense crowds and was thought to assist in the extermination of vermin and pests.
Incensation is an ancient custom of the church that is still permitted and encouraged. Incense is used to bless people and sacred objects and to give adoration to God in the Eucharist. Because I know that some of you suffer from allergies or asthma, we will only have incense at our “high Mass,” i.e., the Sunday 10 a.m. Mass, and on special occasions, e.g., Midnight Mass for Christmas, Easter Vigil, Holy Thursday, important solemnities, etc. Other Masses on the weekend and throughout the year will be incense-free.
IMPORTANT: Palm Sunday Masses in the Parish Center: Please note that all Sabbath Masses next weekend (April 8 & 9) – with the exception of the Sunday 8 a.m. Mass – will commence in the Parish Center at their usual times. The palms will be blessed and will be carried in procession into the church.
Living Rosary: All parishes are invited to St. Peter’s for the Pro-Life Living Rosary. Each parish will lead a Hail Mary, and as an Archdiocese, we will say a rosary to support the culture of life. Go to St. Peter’s Parish today, Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 2:30pm, and stay for a reception after. Contact Whitney Bradley, 402.552.9003 or
, for more information.
Vacation: Fr. Catania will be away on vacation April 3-7 to visit his Bishop and other priests of the Personal Ordinariate of St. Peter in Texas. Please pray that he be refreshed and return home safely.
Participation Aid: To help greater participation in the Mass you’ll find new, easy-to-use Mass cards in your pews with the musical notation and words for the basic parts of the Mass. Moreover, on the backside of the card you’ll find the words to the St. Michael Prayer with which we end every Mass.
Lenten Liturgy: Pink and Purple
The characteristic austerity and conversion associated with Lent are also reflected in the liturgical directives during these forty days. Like Advent, we use two liturgical colors during Lent: violet and rose. Violet is utilized in penitential seasons and rituals. In addition, it is associated with prayers of deliverance from evil. For these reasons the confessor wears a purple stole during the sacrament of Reconciliation and also purple vesture during house blessings and exorcisms. Violet is also an optional color that may be worn for any funereal liturgies throughout the year. In all these celebrations the color purple takes on a somber, serious meaning. We use purple when we must be serious about matters like death, sin, and the evil one. Lent is not meant to be morose, however, so halfway through the forty days we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, wherein we wear rose colored vestments and adorn the sanctuary with flowers and generously play instruments. The light and airy color of pink reminds us that, amidst the severity of Lent, Easter is almost here. Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday.
Corporal Works of Mercy: Giving to the poor in the form of alms is a hallmark of Lent and Christian discipleship. Every month in our parish tithing envelopes and through special fundraisers we have the opportunity to give to our “Corporal Works of Mercy.” 100% of the donations you generously give to this special fund go to assist the poor and hungry. The majority of the funds are used to help our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society conference help those who come to us with demonstrable needs for utilities, furniture, and food. We also give monies from this fund to the Bethlehem House, Operation Others, and homeless shelters, The Stephen Center and Siena/Francis House. Thank you for your goodness and love of the poor.
Participation and the St. Michael Prayer: To help greater participation in the Mass you’ll find new, easy-to-use Mass cards in your pews with the musical notation and words for the basic parts of the Mass. Moreover, on the backside of the card you’ll find the words to the St. Michael Prayer with which we end every Mass. Why do we pray the St. Michael Prayer at the end of Mass? Inspired by the words and request of Pope Leo XIII, the Church officially added the Prayer to St. Michael, composed by Pope Leo XIII, at the end of Masses. These additions were known as the Leonine Prayers. As a result of the revisions of the Mass at Vatican II, these prayers are no longer mandated in the Mass but nothing prevents the recitation of the St. Michael Prayer after Mass is concluded. After all, we often pray public rosaries or other prayers immediately after Mass.
Regarding the prayer, St. John Paul II asked everyone “not to forget it, and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world,” (Regina Caeli, April 24, 1994). Moreover, early in his pontificate, Pope Francis, with Pope Benedict XVI in attendance, consecrated the Vatican to St. Michael. During this rite on July 7, 2013, Pope Francis said:
We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him.
With the violence and numbers of homicides in our own city and throughout the country; the atrocities committed against the unborn, the aged, and the suffering; the assault upon the Church and religious freedom; the dissolution of the family; and the threats of terrorism, hatreds, and wars, now more than ever do we need the divine assistance and defense of the angels. Who better to call upon than the very angel who knocked Satan out of Heaven (Rev. 12:7ff)? St. Michael, pray for and protect us.
R. E. Director Farewell: It is with great sadness that I inform you of Ann Warner’s decision to retire from the position of Director of Religious Education here at Christ the King. I have greatly enjoyed working with Ann and have always appreciated her zeal and care for the catechists and children in our program, her organizational diligence and planning, her industriousness, and her abundant love of God. She will be greatly missed and hard to replace. Ann will continue to work as our R.E. Director through June. In the meantime, I will be advertising for the position. Please pray for Ann and her family in gratitude for her years of service.
A Word from our Religious Education Director
Dear Christ the King Parishioners,
After much serious thought and prayer, I have decided to conclude my ministry as the Religious Education Administrator at the conclusion of this school year. As our family has recently been blessed with two grandchildren, my husband and I know that this is the time to focus on our beloved children and their growing families.
The last nine years have been a tremendous blessing to me in serving in this ministry. I have loved sharing my faith and witnessing the Catholic beliefs and teachings that the faith-filled catechists have shared in their words and lives with the children and their families. Let me just say, Christ the King has fantastic catechists and evangelists! How fortunate I have been to work with them and witness their love and devotion for the children, their faith and their apostolate.
How honored I have been in having the incredible privilege to work with the families who have children preparing for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion each year. Watching the little ones receive the Eucharist for the first time is always an awe-inspiring moment. I will always treasure those occasions.
It has been such an overwhelming pleasure working with Father Stillmunks, who hired me, Bishop Hanefeldt, before his promotion to the hinterlands, and for the last two years with Father Cook. I have always been supported in my ministry and have loved working with and for these holy men. I thank them for all of the opportunities and support they have always given me!
Christ the King Religious Education, School, and Parish will always have a special place in my heart and in my prayers. I hope you will from time to time think of me and say a prayer for my family and me, too. Please accept my sincere appreciation for your commitment and devotion to the religious education of our children. How blessed I have been and how grateful I will always be!
With great affection,
St. Joseph Altar Festivities: Christ the King Church is again hosting a St. Joseph Altar, a devotional event that inspires souls and benefits the poor. How can you and your friends and co-workers take part? There are multiple aspects to the festivities and you can register on Sign-up Genius to donate foods, assist in the luncheon, deliver foods to the poor, etc., at goo.gl/RSbO4f.
Decorative Breads and Pastries: First, this is an opportunity to strut your baking skills, all for the Lord! You can make breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries that are made in the shape of the cross, carpenter’s tools, lambs, lilies, flowers, and other creative Christian symbols. These beautiful creations will be displayed before the statue of St. Joseph in the church from 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 19th, through 1 p.m. on Monday, March 20th. Come and marvel at the creativity of fellow parishioners and bakers.
Special Mass and Traditional Tupa-Tupa Ceremony: In honor of St. Joe, we’ll also have our school Mass at a different, special time of 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 20th. All children of the parish who are in second grade or younger are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Saint to participate in the brief and fun “Tupa-Tupa” ceremony after the Mass in which the children reenact the Holy Family’s travels to Bethlehem. The devotions in the church conclude with a blessing of the St. Joseph Altar.
Food for the Poor: The St. Joseph Altar is also more than a day to create Christian baked goods, it is also a day in which we care for the poor. In addition to the decorative breads, we are also accepting packaged breads, pastries, cakes, sealed sweets, and fresh fruit. These latter items will all be hand-delivered to the homeless shelters and sites for aging seniors in Omaha. All food items, whether decorative or packaged, should be dropped off upon the designated tables of the northeast church hallway between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 19th.
Free-Will Pasta Lunch to Benefit the Poor: Lastly, we encourage everyone to attend our free-will luncheon between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the CtK Parish Center on March 20th. Enjoy the flavorful and authentic dishes associated with the St. Joseph Altar that began in Sicily: pasta and delicious, meatless marinara sauce; special soup; fresh bread, salad, and dessert. All of the free-will offerings from the luncheon will go towards our parish’s outreach to the poor, especially those needing help with rent, utilities, lodging, food and clothing, etc. Rather than spend your lunch break at a restaurant on Monday, March 20th, bring your colleagues and coworkers to Christ the King! It’s a fantastic way in Lent to help the poor and to evangelize through the goodness of food.
Rite of Election: Tonight our catechumens and candidates, who have been gathering regularly in our RCIA sessions since September, will pledge their intention to join the Catholic Church at the Rite of Election at the Cathedral. Catechumens are those who have never been baptized. Candidates are baptized, non-Catholic Christians. Both groups will meet the Archbishop tonight and, afterwards, our catechumens will sign their names in the Book of the Elect. From this day forward, they will no longer be known as catechumens and candidates but as the “elect.” Please pray for these good men and women who are journeying toward full communion with us.
Fr. Catania’s Story & Mass: Fr. Jason Catania, our part-time parish parochial vicar, invites you to a special presentation and Q&A about his transition from Episcopalian priest to Catholic priest. Learn about, and actually experience, his community’s unique and beautiful liturgy. All are invited to attend Tuesday, March 21. Presentation: 6 p.m. (Parish Center); Special Mass of the Personal Ordinariate: 7 p.m. (CtK Church); Refreshments: 8 p.m. (Parish Center)
Meatless Fridays: All Catholics 14 years of age and older are required to give up meat every Friday in Lent as a sacrificial penance.
St. Patrick’s Day & Meat: While the Catholic Church prohibits eating meat on Fridays during Lent, Archbishop George Lucas is dispensing Catholics in the Archdiocese of Omaha from this observance for St. Patrick’s Day, citing the tradition of having meals of corned beef and cabbage. However, those choosing to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day are required to abstain from meat on Saturday, March 18.
Thursday Confessions: As part of The Light is On campaign to renew participation in the beautiful sacrament of Reconciliation, we, along with other parishes in the city, will offer the Sacrament of Confession from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the church on the Thursdays of Lent: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and April 6. Please take advantage of the gift of Jesus’ mercy at these special times.
40 Days for Life: March 1 – April 9 you are invited to join other Christians for 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. You’re also invited to stand and peacefully pray during a 40-day vigil in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood and the Abortion and Contraception Clinic of Nebraska (Christ the King’s date and time TBD), and also to help spread the word about this important community outreach. Please join us in prayer!
2018 Pilgrimage to Italy w/ Frs. Cook & Zoucha: You are invited to attend a pilgrimage to the holy sites in Rome, Assisi, and Siena, Italy with Frs. Cook and Zoucha next year, June 12-21, 2018. The pilgrimage is organized and professionally led by ChiRho Euro with whom Fr. Cook has worked twice before. Stay in Assisi and Rome. Pilgrimages with Frs. Cook and Zoucha are playful, friendly, informative, and prayerful. To learn more about the pilgrimage, please contact the Christ the King parish office (402) 391-3606 and/or attend a brief informational meeting on Tuesday, March 7th at 7 p.m. in the Christ the King Parish Center, 654 S. 86 St., Omaha.
Fr. Boyd Away at Conference: Fr. Boyd will be away from the parish to attend classes March 6-10. He’ll utilize the training he receives to help us as a parish provide greater counsel and spiritual assistance to those suffering from the impact of pornography.
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