Last Sunday evening, Channel 7 (KETV) did a story about the original Cathedral bells that hang in our bell tower and our desire to restore them to get them ringing again. If you saw it, I hope you enjoyed the attention the story brought to the parish. We have completed the first step which was to remove the pigeons, their residue and keep them from reentry into the tower. The next step is to replace the hammers, motors and mechanisms to ring the bells. One bell company gave an estimate of about $25,000 to get the bells working again. Tuck pointing also needs to be done on the bell tower so the stone blocks on the tower do not come loose and fall on our heads when the bells ring.
Jim Mammel of the Mammel Foundation saw the story and was touched by the parish’s efforts to preserve Omaha history and our older historic structures. The Foundation has given us a challenge grant. They will match every dollar given up to ten thousand dollars. We have already received about $700 dollars in the mail from people in the community who saw the story and wanted to help us with this project. I invite you to join us and make the challenge match a success. Just put your donation in an envelope, write “Bell Fund” on the front of the envelope, and put it in the collection. If everything goes well, we may have the bells ringing again this summer!
Those who attended the Lenten Thursday this past week got a delightful presentation from Fr.Larry Gillick who invited us to look at our image of God and not to see God as overly concerned about the minute actions and events of our life. He encouraged us, with his self-deprecating humor, to broaden our view of God and the immensity of his mercy. This week, we are having a married couple share with us their reflections on mercy in the family and the home. Doug Lenz is a professional counselor and serves as the Director of Central Plains Center for Services. Doug is also preparing to be ordained a deacon. Ann has a Master’s Degree in Spirituality and serves as an Educational Coach for at risk students and teaches at the College of St. Mary’s. I encourage you to join us for what I am sure will be an insightful presentation on mercy.
I am considering taking a pilgrimage to Sicily and Rome in late October as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I have included Sicily in the pilgrimage plan because of our parish’s historical connection with Sicily. I am wondering how many of you might want to join me. Initial costs for the 12 day trip look to be about $3,800 a person; this includes, airfare, hotel, two meals a day, ground transportation and travel guides. If you would like more details on the trip, please give me a call.