Reeson’s Ramblings :: March 19, 2017
COLUMB’S CEILI A HUGE SUCCESS!
The attendance for this year’s Ceili was a record-setting 506 people! This demonstrates how our parish continues to build on the shoulders of giants who have lead Ceili in the past. Preliminary figures show that the money generated during this year’s Ceili is substantially up as well. A complete report will be provide in the next few weeks when we have those figures. All of the profits that we generate go toward the support of vital ministries in our parish.
The fact is, this huge increase has nothing to do with my leadership. With Judy and Doug McWilliams as our honorary chairs, Diane and Matt Ferro as our working chairs and the legion of 112 workers who are listed on the back page of this bulletin, I simply had to sit back and watch great things happen. Deacon David Krueger, who recently left our staff, has also been and continues to be instrumental in so many aspects of Ceili and our parish.
I thought next year’s Honorary Chairs, Stefanie and Chris Wiedenfeld, might be intimidated to follow this year’s hugely successful event, but watching them solicit people for donations for Ceili 2018, I believe they are well on their way to an equally successful celebration next year!
We have the best parish in the Archdiocese of Omaha and I know it’s not due to my capabilities since I’m rather lazy. But the Archbishop, members of the parish and outsiders think I must do a lot of work because they see St. Columbkille as a vibrant, active parish. At the Ceili it is only right to honor the real servants with what we call the “Spirit of St. Columbkille Award.”
Nearly one-third of our parish is made up of active and retired military families. For the many years I was in the military, one of the toughest parts, especially for families, were the frequent moves. It means leaving established communities and getting involved at a new station.
This year, we honored Kristin and Joe Klapatch who in many ways represent all the families who get stationed here and immediately get involved. Upon arriving at St. Columbkille, Joe and Kristen led the charge for a marriage formation program in our parish, and have, to date, presented Beloved, Theology of the Body for Adults, Choice Wine, and are currently leading Oremus as a part of this initiative.
In addition, they led a Lenten series on the Mass, Altaration, last year, have participated in That Man is You and SPIRITuality Alive, led youth group sessions, and Joe is currently serving as an RCIA sponsor. The Klapatchs serve in all these ways with great heart and humility, answering their call to discipleship through extraordinary leadership.
There are also two ministries that do so much good work and are better organized than any U.S. Presidential Administration in history. They are our Gift Giving and Thanksgiving Meals Ministries.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, parishioners fill the Social Hall and pick up boxes and directions to provide over 350 families with everything they need for an entire day of meals on Thanksgiving. Meals are taken to folks from Bellevue to Gretna and everywhere between, as well as to the Juan Diego Center. It only works because of great organization by those involved. This group gathers the names, gets enough food from donations of food or money, gets everything sorted and has printed directions how to get to every home. Turkeys may fear them, but we’re delighted to have them.
Thanksgiving is barely passed when a Joshua Tree is up in our entryway decorated with tags listing possible Christmas gifts. Families exchange the tags a couple weeks later with gifts which are gathered, bundled and prepared for delivery. The tags go so fast by generous parishioners that I have had to create some extra tags listing, “bottle of cheap wine for an old priest” so everyone has a chance to give.
These massive efforts, utilizing countless volunteers, is coordinated by the group awardees, Becky and Pat Grant, Libby and Larry Renfro, Linda and Robert Gries, Cyd and Tim Hall, Marie Svoboda, Pam Schmitz, Diane, John, and Angela Ingalise, Jan and Steve Bode, and Sue and Tom Gebhart. This group of people make Thanksgiving and Christmas special for over a thousand families who are in financial need.
Our parish is great because we have many great people who work quietly behind the scenes to “Go and Make Disciples” as we are all called by Christ to do.