Diocesan News

Priests to mark jubilees at Chrism Mass

All welcome at April 10 liturgy in Cathedral

Story by Reagan Scott

LINCOLN (SNR) - On Monday, April 10 at 5 p.m., Bishop James Conley will once again be celebrating the annual Chrism Mass at Cathedral of the Risen Christ. All are invited to attend.

At the Mass, Bishop Conley will consecrate and bless the sacred oils used in administering the sacraments.

The most important of the three oils, which the bishop will consecrate, is Chrism. Chrism is used in Baptisms, Confirmation and Holy Orders. Chrism is unique in that it can only be consecrated by a bishop.

The other two oils, which the Bishop will bless, include the Oil of the Sick, used in Anointing of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens, used in the sacrament of Baptism. 

At this Mass, the priests of the diocese will also renew the priestly vows made at their ordinations. In many places around the world, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on Holy Thursday, the day that Jesus instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper.

In the Diocese of Lincoln, the annual Chrism Mass is held on Monday of Holy Week, due to the large area the diocese covers. The Lincoln Diocese covers more than 23,000 square miles, larger than the country of Switzerland. By moving the Mass to the Monday of Holy Week, it is easier for the priests of the diocese to travel to Lincoln for the Mass, and return to their parishes for Holy Week celebrations.

The Chrism Mass is also an opportunity for five of the diocese’s clergy to celebrate milestone anniversaries, known as jubilees. Emeritus Bishop Bruskewitz will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop.

The other priests celebrating important anniversaries in their priesthood include Father James O’Connor, Father Dennis Hotovy, Father Patrick Murphy and Father Randall Langhorst. These priests will be celebrating their 65th, 60th, 50th, and 25th years as priests respectively.

While all the priests concelebrate the Chrism Mass, the jubilarians concelebrate the Mass in a special way, according to Bishop Bruskewitz. After the Mass, the priests of the diocese will recognize all five jubilarians at a special dinner with their brother priests.

Emeritus Bishop Bruskewitz, 25 years as a bishop

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisc., Bishop Bruskewitz was ordained a priest in Rome in 1960 and served as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln from May 13, 1992, to September 14, 2012. This year marks 25 years since his episcopal ordination.

Bishop Bruskewitz was ordained a bishop at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ on May 13, 1992. For his episcopal motto, he chose the words Sub Tuum Praesidium, the opening words to the prayer, “We fly to thy patronage, Oh Holy Mother of God.”

“I inherited a wonderful diocese from Bishop Glennon Flavin,” Bishop Bruskewitz said. “If anything good happened it was because he laid a good foundation.”

Bishop Bruskewitz was very influential during his time as bishop of the Lincoln Diocese. He established St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, endorsed daily Mass for students in Catholic schools, expanded Bonacum House for retired priests and translated the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to English from Latin with the help of his friend, Cardinal William Levada, to name a few of his accomplishments.

In the two years following his episcopal ordination, Bishop Bruskewitz was able to receive the help of his predecessor, Bishop Flavin, just as he helps Bishop Conley today.

“I help out with various things that Bishop Conley asks me to do, and I gladly do that,” Bishop Bruskewitz said.

Some of Bishop Bruskewitz’s duties include helping out with confirmations or leading retreats. In fact, Bishop Bruskewitz will be leading an upcoming retreat in September with the Pink Sisters and another at Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma in November. 

Bishop Bruskewitz continues to enjoy the state he now calls home.

Father James O’Connor, 65 years a priest

Father O’Connor is celebrating 65 years of priesthood this year. He served the Lincoln Diocese for almost 50 years.

Father O’Connor was born in Ireland and went to school there. He attended St. Jarlath and St. Mary colleges before Bishop Louis Kucera, the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, gave him permission to attend the seminary in the United States, for the Diocese of Lincoln. Father O’Connor studied at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kendrick Seminary in St. Louis before being ordained for the Diocese of Lincoln on March 8, 1952.

After his ordination, Father O’Connor served as an assistant pastor first at St. Andrew Church in Tecumseh, then at St. Cecilia in Hastings and Assumption Parish in Dwight. He became a pastor in 1957, serving at St. Mary in Wallace and St. William in Wellfleet. He later served at Resurrection in Elsie, St. Joseph in Superior and Sacred Heart in Nelson.

Father O’Connor served his longest assignments as pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Falls City from 1969 to 1988. He then served at St. John Parish in Minden and Holy Family in Heartwell until his retirement in 2001. Today, he lives in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.

Father Dennis Hotovy, 60 years a priest

Father Dennis Hotovy will be celebrating his 60th jubilee this year and is a native of the Lincoln Diocese.

Father Hotovy attended St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., as well as St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. before being ordained in 1957 at Immaculate Conception in Ulysses, his home parish. 

Father Hotovy was an assistant pastor at Assumption Parish in Dwight as well as at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Falls City and St. Teresa in Lincoln. While in Lincoln, he also taught at Pius X High School.

Father Hotovy later served at parishes in Julian, Dunbar and Peru, St. James Parish in Curtis, St. William in Wellfleet and St. Joseph in Farnam. He was pastor of St. Mary Parish in Wymore and St. Joseph in Barneston beginning in 1977 and added St. Mary Parish in Odell in 1986. Father Hotovy retired in 2011 and now resides in Beatrice.

Father Patrick Murphy, 50 years a priest

Father Murphy, celebrating 50 years as a priest this year, was born and raised in Lincoln. He attended Pius X High School before going to St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Co. and St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, Wi.

Father Murphy was ordained at Cathedral in 1967 before serving as assistant pastor at St. Wenceslaus in Wahoo. He then taught at Pius X High School and was later a full-time religion teacher at St. Cecilia High School in Hastings.

From June 1973 to September 1977, Father Murphy was assigned to a mission in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. When he returned to the Lincoln Diocese, he was pastor of many different parishes across the diocese and took on many different roles throughout the rest of his active priesthood.

In 1985, Father Murphy was appointed Spiritual Advisor of the St. Anthony Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order in Lincoln. He was also named Dean of the York Deanery and taught at Aquinas High School in David City.

Father Murphy was appointed Chaplain at St. Elizabeth Community Health Center in 1996 and Chaplain to the Secular Franciscans of Lincoln before being appointed Director of the Apostolate of Suffering for the diocese in 2001.

Father Murphy’s longest assignment was his last. He served as pastor of St. Patrick Church in Manley and St. Mary Church in Elmwood for ten years. He retired in June 2016 and currently lives at Bonacum House.

Father Murphy said, “I’m grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. I’m thankful to my brother priests and I’m thankful to Bishop Conley for allowing me to retire. I pray Christ, the High Priest, will continue to bless us with vocations.” 

Father Randall Langhorst, 25 years a priest

Father Langhorst is celebrating 25 years of priesthood this year. He was born in Holdrege and went to high school in Burwell. He studied travel, tourism and business, as well as Czech and German studies, spending summers in the Czech Republic and Germany while still in school.

Father Langhorst is also a convert to the faith. He converted in 1986 and went to the seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. the next year, finishing his studies at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Father Langhorst served as a deacon at St. Mary’s in Lincoln and St. John’s Church in Hollywood, Md. before being ordained in 1992. He served as assistant pastor of St. Patrick and its missions, St. Anne and Sacred Heart in McCook as well as St. Wenceslaus in Wahoo. He also taught religion, Czech and German in Wahoo and McCook.

Father Langhorst served as pastor at St. John Nepomucene in Weston (and its mission, St. Vitus in Touhy) where he was also Superintendent-Principal of St. John’s Catholic School.

He then went to St. Vincent De Paul in Seward before serving St. Leo in Palmyra and its mission, St. Martin in Douglas.

Four years ago, Father Langhorst was named part-time Vicar for Clergy and took the role on full-time last June.

“I look after the welfare, in all dimensions, of the clergy of the Diocese of Lincoln,” Father Langhorst said.

He also works as a liaison between Bishop Conley and the clergy and vice versa.

“I’m still learning and still growing in so many different ways, and I’m enjoying that growth,” Father Langhorst said. “I won’t always say it’s been easy, but it’s been satisfying.”

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