Living In Lincoln

A Beautiful Catholic Culture

By Georgeanne Rashilla

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Some of the 46 seminarians in the diocesan seminary lead a massive procession of thousands of Catholics in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2013.

My husband Rick and I have lived in the Lincoln Diocese for 19 years. We were not aware that the Diocese was very traditional until we moved here.  In fact, it was not really until we returned to Ohio for my father-in-law’s funeral in 2000 when we spoke with the priest who had married us and baptized our children that we knew there was a stigma about our Diocese.  Even that priest raised his eyebrows when we told him we were living in Lincoln.  But we also told him that we never felt closer to God or more committed to our Catholic faith.

I do know of people who have actually moved from across the world just to live in this Diocese.  It’s amazing and we feel so very blessed to live here.

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WELCOMING BISHOP CONLEY: Seminarians in cassocks applaud their new Bishop.

From the very start, the authenticity of the Catholic teaching here – speaking from the pulpit about our history, emphasizing sacraments (especially Confession and the Eucharist), pro-life (including being faithful to not taking artificial contraception) – has truly challenged us to examine how we live our lives, what is Truth, and how to raise our children to be authentic Catholic Christians.

We have opportunities to participate in Bible studies and Pro-Life Conferences, and to serve the poor in Catholic Social Services or the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  And of course, the encouragement to step outside yourself and volunteer is always present.

I do know of people who have actually moved from across the world just to live in this Diocese. 

Amazing, Affordable, Faithful Catholic Schools

Photos by Cathy Blankenau Bender. Sister Mary Helen, C.K., with students at St. Teresa School in Lincoln, Neb.

The Lincoln diocesan schools feature Sisters in habits who live in community, teaching in the schools.

Both our children have been raised in Lincoln.  Their Catholic schools were much like what my husband and I experienced in our youth – Sisters in habits, who live community, teaching in the schools, and priests teaching at the high school level and visiting the grade schools.

In fact, about 11 years ago, my husband and I were forced to make a decision due to employment changes as to whether or not we would leave the Diocese.  The major factor in our staying in Lincoln was to keep our children in these Catholic Schools, where we felt a real foundation was being laid.

In Lincoln, Catholic schools thrive and are kept very affordable through the support of the parishes.  It helps also to have thriving Religious Sister communities here that help to keep the cost of Catholic education lower.  I think that means Catholic Education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.

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Thriving Religious Sister communities in Lincoln ‘help to keep the cost of Catholic education lower. I think that means Catholic Education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.’

In the Lincoln diocese, Catholic education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.

The Catechetical program for the public school students is also well done.  And there is no shortage of priests either!  The influence of the priests teaching my children in the grade and high schools, leading Quest and TEC retreats, providing a summer Leadership Camp for young boys who serve on the altar along with the seminarians is an opportunity for them to consider their own vocations.

Our Newman Center

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CATHOLIC FRATERNITY BROTHERS: Outside their brand new home on the University of Nebraska campus.

Although we encouraged both our children to go away for college, neither has.  I believe their decisions were made in part because of the campus ministry at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  The Catholic Newman Center, with its 10 FOCUS missionaries, is thriving.  In fact, the daily Mass attendance every night is so large, and the Sunday Mass attendance so great that they are currently building a larger church. They’ve just completed the new Catholic fraternity, and will also build a Catholic sorority.   Bible studies abound both in the dorms and in the Greek houses.  The Newman Center is such a draw, that even the University advertises it in their materials to draw new students.

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A TRIED-AND-TRUE TECHNIQUE for refocusing students fresh from recess. Here students say a short prayer before returning to their classes at St. Theresa’s School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Why We Stayed

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY: The Pink Sisters — a group of cloistered nuns — were established in the Diocese in 1973. (Photo with Bishop Conley, et al.)

From the beginning we have been involved in both parish and school life.  I have served as President of one of the altar societies at my parish, President of the Parish Council of Catholic Women, currently Treasurer of that same organization.  I taught CCD for about 4 yrs.  My husband is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Together we have served as Presidents of the School Family Association at our parish grade school and later on the fundraising board for the high school.  We have both participated/led Bible studies or Leadership Conferences.  My husband also served on the fundraising board for our parish when we were building an addition to the church/school.

I can assure anyone who asks that the Catholic Diocese here is the main reason we have stayed all these years.  It is a beautiful Catholic culture.

Rick and I grew up in different parts of the country, moved as single people to various states, and only as a married couple did we move here in 1994.  We never would have thought that Lincoln, NE would be a place we’d be in for long.  I can assure anyone who asks that the Catholic Diocese here is the main reason we have stayed all these years.  It is a beautiful Catholic culture.

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