LINCOLN (SNR) – Vincent and Theresa Seiker of St. Peter Parish in Lincoln will receive the “Cor Christi” award Feb. 26 during Catholic Social Services’ 30th annual “Celebration of Caring” banquet.
The Cor Christi (Heart of Christ) award recognizes persons or a group demonstrating love of neighbor, perfectly illustrated by the heart of Christ.
Father Christopher Kubat, executive director of Catholic Social Services, said the Seikers were chosen because of the love they have exhibited as a reflection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“They have volunteered for numerous agencies including Catholic Social Services, and have been involved in the pro-life movement through the years,” Father Kubat said. “And as ‘good fruit does not fall far from a good tree,’ their faithful example has had an effect on their children living their vocations to the married life and priesthood in a similar manner.”
Vincent and Theresa were married Aug. 7, 1954 at Sacred Heart Church in Roseland. After their marriage they moved to a farm north of Elmwood. Vincent farmed with his brother Francis for 45 years before retiring in 1996. During this time they were active members of St. Mary Parish in Elmwood.
They had five children, including three sons who serve as priests of the Diocese of Lincoln: Father Mark Seiker, who is pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in North Platte and serves as spiritual advisor for the Cursillo movement in the Lincoln Diocese; Msgr. Daniel Seiker, assistant spiritual director and teacher of theology at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward; and Father Leo Seiker, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Colon and St. Mary in Cedar Bluffs, and diocesan pro-life director.
Their son Steve and his wife Roma of Omaha have three children and three grandchildren. Their daughter Susan and her husband Mike Foley of Lincoln have six children.
For 16 years, Vincent and Theresa drove their children 48 miles, round trip, to Lincoln each day to provide them with a Catholic education. All of their children graduated from Cathedral of the Risen Christ Grade School and Pius X High School in Lincoln.
Even though this undertaking necessitated many financial difficulties and much family management, their daughter Susan said, it greatly unified the family members and helped them to realize the many spiritual benefits of Catholic education.
Service to the Church was a way of life for the Seikers. Vincent served as a lector at St. Mary Parish and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He also helped with mowing in the cemetery, as well as keeping grave records and markers.
Having assisted his father on the family farm and serving in the Army Infantry for two years during the Korean conflict, after attending Creighton University, Vincent was a “do-it-yourselfer” all his life, repairing machinery and fixing up buildings as needed. He cultivated a self-taught talent in woodworking and donated his time and talent to many projects for family, friends and parishes around the diocese.
These gifts were as numerous and varied as the years they spanned to create and the parishes that received his labors of love. He made artwork, sacristy and office cabinets and shelves, confessionals, candle stands, literature racks and other items for parishes including St. Mary in Elmwood, St. Joseph in Beatrice, St. Peter in Bellwood, St. Mary in Cedar Bluffs, St. Joseph in Colon, St. James in Cortland, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in North Platte, Sacred Heart in Shelby, St. Joseph in York and also St. Gregory the Great Seminary.
For the School Sisters of Christ the King, Seiker made holy water fonts, long-handled candle snuffers and a candle stand that can be used as an advent wreath. He also trimmed the image of the Coronation of Mary in the sanctuary at their motherhouse.
He has also handmade wooden projects for many schools’ and parishes’ silent auctions.
Theresa too was raised with a heart for serving Christ’s Church. Two of her brothers, Fathers Tony and Robert Trausch, were priests of the Lincoln Diocese. She was the parish organist at Sacred Heart in Roseland from the eighth grade until she left for college. Her college attendance was delayed because she remained home to help on the family farm while her mother was in poor health. While in college, she roomed with a cousin of Vincent’s, who introduced the pair.
During their marriage, Teresa also served as an organist at St. Mary parish until 1994. She was active in the Deanery Council of Catholic Women and taught kindergarten CCD. She was a member of a local mothers’ club for 40 years, was a den mother for Cub Scouts, and a volunteer librarian at Cathedral School from 1967-82.
Vincent and Theresa both attended Cursillos in 1974 and remained active members of the organization, Vincent serving three times on the service team and Theresa on the talk team.
Together and with the encouragement of Teresa’s brother Father Robert Trausch, they started the Vita Candle Guild, making 100% beeswax candles in their basement for church use in diocesan parishes for about eight years.
Theresa also had a weekly holy hour of Adoration at Cathedral from 1965-2000. She and Vincent have had a weekly holy hour at St. Peter since 2000, when they moved to Lincoln to be within walking distance of daily Masses.
Theresa is also in a rosary group with other mothers of priests and she and Vincent in 1989 started the Priest-Family Organization that meets annually in September. They hold a social gathering to continue fostering the friendships among the families of priests which began at the Serra Club seminarian dinners.
Held at the Cornhusker Marriott, the Feb. 26 Celebration of Caring begins with a social hour at 4:30 p.m. and the dinner at 6 p.m.
The theme for the banquet, “Soul of Christ, Sanctify Me” and the image of Saints Louis and Zelie Martin – the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux – were chosen as reflections of the Seikers’ faith and example of holiness.
The cost to attend is $65 per person ($55 for those 60 and older) and the registration deadline is Feb. 20. For more information, visit www.cssisus.org or contact Paula at (402) 327-6228.