Event to include historical presentations, vocation stories, and blessing of animals for feast of St. Francis
NEBRASKA CITY (SNR) – St. Benedict Parish in Nebraska City will host a Year for Consecrated Life pilgrimage day of events Oct. 4 to honor the women religious who serve the community, as well as their patron, Saint Francis.
The celebration will begin with Mass at 9 a.m. in St. Benedict Church, 411 5th Rue, Nebraska City. Pastor Father Mark Cyza will offer the Mass for the intentions of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.
The open house will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. It will begin with a historical overview of St. Benedict Church, presented by Deanna Sands. Sands edited the book the parish produced to celebrate the 150th anniversary in 2006. St. Benedict is the oldest continually-active Catholic church in the state of Nebraska.
Sister Kathleen, OSF, will then present the history of the community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and their apostolate to the Spanish-speaking, and religious education in the Plattsmouth / Nebraska City area.
Sister Cynthia, OSF, will then present her own personal vocation story.
Father Cyza will close this portion of the open house with a prayer service for vocations, featuring Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
At 3 p.m., a blessing of animals will be held in the church parking lot, in honor of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
“St. Francis’ love for Our Eucharistic Lord in His Passion, Death and Resurrection transformed his seraphic heart, allowing it to overflow toward man and beast,” said Sister Ana Maria, OSF. “He delighted in listening to the many different sounds of the animals, each praising God in their own way and he blessed them. Therefore … as we commemorate the feast of St. Francis, bring your pets for a special blessing.”
A light reception will follow until 4 p.m., giving visitors the opportunity to mingle with the Sisters. All are welcome to participate.
“The Sisters are a constant, welcome presence in our parish,” Sands said. “They are the backbone of our adult choir, which Sister Ana Maria directed before stepping down this fall.
She still accompanies us. Sister also directed our youth choir for a number of years.
“They have raised thousands of dollars for the Guardian Angel Scholarship Fund (for tuition assistance at Lourdes Catholic School) by organizing ‘Steal-of-a-Deal’ events each spring and fall.” she continued, “and they are a source of great support for our Hispanic parishioners.”
The Sisters have served in the diocese since 2000. More information is available at www.franciscansisters.net.