Diocesan News

Bishop blesses new addition at school

North American Martyrs Parish celebrates 25th anniversary

LINCOLN (SNR) – Bishop James Conley visited North American Martyrs Parish in Lincoln Oct. 20 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the parish, and to bless the new addition to the school.

The addition – and renovations to the school – are the result of the parish’s Joy of the Gospel capital campaign named “Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future.”

North American Martyrs School in northwest Lincoln, which opened in 1996, is currently the largest elementary school in the Diocese of Lincoln, with more than 580 students in grades pre-K through 8.

The addition provided seven classrooms – including three preschool rooms, as well as a library, art room, multipurpose room, restrooms, work rooms and office space. A new interior courtyard was created, as well as an amphitheater with accessible ramp, and a fenced preschool playground.

Many renovations were also included, to areas such as the main entry and offices, sections of the roof, windows, and new stairs to the play fields and steps to the rectory. The addition and renovations included efficient LED lighting and geo-thermal wells, as well as enhanced security and technology throughout the school.

Principal Sister Janelle Buettner, M.S., marveled at the new addition and reflected on the beginnings of the parish, when Masses were celebrated in a local hotel.

“The foundation literally had to be Jesus because we didn’t have a physical one,” she said, and recalled 1 Cor. 3:11: “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

“What a gift,” she reflected, “to have been a part of the parish since the beginning and now serve as principal of this beautiful school family and parish.”

She said she was proud to watch the parish grow “from the ground up,” and continue with this renovation and addition project. 

“I know the hard work and dedication the entire structure has been,” she added. “Not just the physical labor… but the financial labor and prayer behind it make this place what it is.” She encouraged visitors to “keep in mind the people who have sacrificed and labored for this,” and to thank God for His mercy and goodness.

“On behalf of the entire school, I want to thank you for the backbreaking labor and tremendous sacrifices you have all given to make these 25 years so special,” she said.

Pastor Father Brian Connor echoed Sister Janelle’s gratitude to the parish, and also to Bishop Conley and the diocesan finance and building committee members for their guidance and support, as well as the campaign committee members.

“We were blessed with a very talented building committee with strong dedication,” he said. He credited The Clark Enersen Partners and their team of architects, Mitch Holt and his crew at Genesis Contracting, and the subcontractors’ skillful labor and dedication.

“They have worked hard,” Father Connor said, “through difficult weather and other challenges to build a beautiful addition for our parish and school. We give thanks to our loving God for these and all things,” he said.

“Our building is beautiful,” Sister Janelle added, “but let us never forget the foundation with which we began. And let us continue to build our foundation with the physical foundation and root it solidly and completely in Jesus Christ.”

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