Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

The team at Spirit Catholic Radio would like to wish our listeners a blessed Thanksgiving. While we’re closed today to spend time with our families, it seems most appropriate that we take a moment to let you know just how thankful we are for this radio network and its many listeners, family members, volunteers, business underwriters and friends. 

“I am so thankful for Spirit Catholic Radio!  It has been an incredible blessing to work in a great organization and always be assured that our mission is the goal.  I am also grateful for all the listeners who support the station and staff in daily prayer.  It is a comfort to know this and meet so many great listeners in our broadcast area!”   
-Mary Beth Jorgensen, Director of Underwriting

“I am thankful that I have the privilege to meet our loyal listeners and donors throughout the entire network.  I see the transformative power of Catholic radio through their witness.” 
–Bernie Schaefer, Director of Development

“I am thankful for the ability to serve the Kingdom through the medium of broadcast radio!  It is a true honor to be on the air and program the station network where our mission is to bring Christ to people and people to Christ.  I would like to ask God’s blessings on all who are reading this Blog and who listen every day to the Spirit Catholic Radio Network.  As we close our morning show each day, I would like to say ‘pray for us and we will pray for you!’ Have a blessed Thanksgiving and thanks for your prayers and support!” 
–Bruce McGregor, Program Director

From our family to yours...have a happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The National Catholic Youth Conference

Group of young ladies traveling to NCYC with
chaperone Irene Lempke of Spirit Catholic Radio.
It’s been a few days but I’m still on a high from what I experienced at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis last weekend.

Words cannot describe how powerful it was to see 23,000 teens so excited and on fire for their faith. Although I went 10 years ago when I was in high school, this time, going as a chaperone for the youth group at St. Patrick Parish in Gretna gave me a different perspective, especially since I’ve grown so much in my faith since then.

The Nov. 21-23 conference featured Mass, workshops, musical performances, eucharistic adoration and a theme park inside the Indianapolis Convention Center filled with fun activities, service opportunities and a wondrous, widespread wearing of crazy hats by the Catholic teenagers.

The closing Mass was my favorite part. Seeing that many people come together to take part in the Eucharist is overwhelming to say the least. The Holy Spirit was unmistakably present during the Mass.

NCYC really solidified my faith. It really rejuvenated me in my faith journey and my faith walk with our Lord. I feel so blessed to have been able to experience NCYC with the group of girls from Gretna. It was wonderful to see their joy as they experienced one of my fondest high school memories.

Here are some of their reflections on NCYC:

Lyndsey Harpenau: NCYC truly impacted my life in the best way possible. It brought me closer to God and strengthened my faith. It inspired me to make Mass on Sunday a priority and to have some alone time with God every week. I was most inspired by the Mass on Saturday night and the motivational speakers. It was awesome to see more than 100 priests proceed to the altar when Mass started. The speakers really hit home for me. They taught me great life lessons that I will carry out the rest of my life.

Callie Hawkins: It was really insane to see 23,000 other Catholic teens come together to celebrate our King.

Ellie Karloff: It was fun to be surrounded by so many people who believe in the same things as I do.

Jillian Staley: It changed my life. It changed my outlook on everything. I could relate to just about everything I heard from the speakers. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I hope I can experience it again. If you haven’t been to NCYC, you must go!

Lizzy Isaacson: NCYC was a great experience. It gave me more courage to live out my faith because I got to see thousands of other teens who are on fire for Jesus and are trying to live their lives for him.

Abby Brown: I loved the speakers because they were really inspiring and motivated me to do more with my faith. I am really thankful I got to go to this amazing conference with some amazing people.

Kayla Calvert: One of the best things I took away from the weekend is how blessed I am to have the parents I do and that I am going to try harder to get along with them, especially my mom. God gave me two amazing people for parents.

Blogged by Irene Lempke, Advancement Coordinator

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giveaway! Win Tickets to The Beauty of Possibility in Lincoln

Our friends at the Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center in Lincoln, Neb. are hosting a fantastic pro-life event on Thursday, Dec. 5 and we have two sets of tickets to give away! To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog (at the bottom) with your e-mail address. 

We'll choose the winners randomly on Monday, Dec. 2 at 8 a.m. 

More About The Beauty of Possibility
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Embassy Suites Downtown Lincoln
Doors Open at 6:30 pm
Desserts and presentation starts at 7:00 p.m.

About the Speaker
Ryan Bomberger has a rather unique perspective of the innate nature of Purpose.  His biological mother was raped yet courageously chose to continue the pregnancy, giving him Life. He was adopted as a baby and grew up in a loving, multi-racial Christian family of 15. With siblings of varying ethnicities, he grew up with a great appreciation for diversity. Ten of the thirteen children were adopted in this remarkable family. His life defies the myth of the “unwanted” child as he was adopted, loved and has flourished.

Today, he is an Emmy® Award-winning Creative Professional who founded The Radiance Foundation (TRF), a life-affirming 501(c)(3), along with his wife, Bethany.

From congressional briefings on Capitol Hill to launching billboard campaigns in major cities across the country to advocating for adoption at major conferences to inspiring youth with their one-of-a-kind multimedia presentations, TRF has had incredible opportunities to address hundreds of thousands across the country.

Don't forget to enter by commenting below and be sure to share this contest opportunity with a friend!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Helping the Poor

My family and I are in the process of moving, and I’ve used it as an opportunity to get rid of things we don’t use on a regular basis.

It shocked me to see the number of boxes we filled with clothes that no longer fit, non-perishable foods we haven’t used, perfectly good toys that aren’t played with and dishes, toiletries and other household items we were holding on to.

We were living in excess when so many others don’t even have the basics. There are people who would LOVE to eat those boxed meals I’d been saving or use the diapers I’d kept for a year or clean with the vacuum we’d had in storage.

So it made me feel good when we gave some of our coats to the Spirit Catholic Radio coat drive, dropped off several boxes to a thrift store and donated food to a pantry.

There are always people in need no matter what time of the year – “you will always have the poor with you,” Jesus said – but during the winter months, the weather is colder and pantries and shelters generally see an increase in the number of people they serve.

That means unless donations are being made during these upcoming months, those organizations won’t be able to best serve their clients and guests.

Tim Sully, development director of the Siena/Francis House in Omaha, Nebraska’s largest homeless shelter, said he expects the shelter to house about 500 people a night starting in December. That means they’ll need more blankets, pillows, toiletries, winter clothes, coffee and disinfectants.

“We are always overcrowded, no matter the weather,” Sully said. “We try not to turn anyone away if they show up at our door.”

Phil Luna, coordinator of the Holy Spirit/St. Patrick Food Pantry in North Platte, said the city’s high schools provide a large amount of canned fruits and vegetables with food drives in December, but they’ll need more non-perishable food items and canned and frozen meats to keep the shelves stocked.

“We’ve seen a steady increase of people all year long,” Luna recently told me.

On average, the pantry serves 100 to 125 families a month.

People who make food donations enable organizations, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, continue their mission of serving those in need, said Cindy Jandrain, coordinator of the Society’s Omaha food pantry.

“They are a direct blessing to our clients through their donations,” she said.

Father Chris Kubat, executive director of Catholic Social Services for the Diocese of Lincoln, agreed.

Those who receive help from Catholic Social Services, which last year provided shelter, immigration, housing, counseling and refugee resettlement services, food pantries, thrift stores and emergency cash assistance to nearly 30,000 individuals, are very appreciative of the donations, he said.

“I just wish sometimes that our donors could see the looks on the faces of the families we help and how grateful they are,” Father Kubat said. “They come into our office with tears of sorrow and they leave with tears of joy.”

He said Catholic Social Services could use emergency cash for families who seek help when their utilities are shut off, as well as all types of food for the pantries and winter coats, boots, hats, scarves and gloves for the thrift stores.

Most people don’t choose to be homelessness or poor. I’m quite aware that with a change of circumstance my family could be on the receiving end, and that makes me want to give more and more often.

So in the spirit of the holidays, give. Find a pantry, shelter or thrift store in your area and make a donation.

Here are suggestions of where to donate:
Siena/Francis House, Omaha – 402-341-1821,
St. Vincent de Paul Society of Omaha – 402-346-5445,
Holy Spirit/St. Patrick Food Pantry, North Platte – 4th and Chestnut, 308-532-0942                     
Catholic Charities of Omaha – 402-554-0520,
Simon House/St. Vincent de Paul – 1853 10th Ave., Columbus, 402-564-8444
The Stephen Center – 2723 Q St., Omaha, 402-731-0238
Catholic Social Services – 402-474-1600, 

Blogged by Lisa Maxson, Senior Writer/Reporter

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stay Connected

As a radio station, the obvious way for our listeners to stay connected to us is by tuning in. In Eastern Nebraska, listeners will find us on 102.7-FM; in Northeast Nebraska on 88.3-FM; in Central Nebraska on 91.5-FM; and in North Platte on 90.1-FM.

What you may not realize is that there are a number of other fun, engaging ways to stay connected to Spirit Catholic Radio.

As the Marketing and Promotions Manager for the radio network, it is part of my job to help keep you connected and informed of what’s happening at the network. In this blog post, I’ll share with you how to make the most of your Catholic radio station—Spirit Catholic Radio.

Other ways to listen
In addition to tuning your radio dial to your local Spirit Catholic Radio station, there are two other ways to hear our programming. First, you can visit and click “listen live.” This allows you to listen to the network’s programming in real time. It’s easy, free and requires no special software.

The other option for non-radio listening is to download our app for smartphones. We currently offer apps for both iPhone and Android operating systems. The instructions to download the apps can be found here. These apps are free and we hear from many listeners that they enjoy being able to continue listening to their favorite programs after they get out of their vehicles. Connect your headphones and you have the perfect companion at your desk, home or even the gym.

Radio Halos
What is a Radio Halo? It’s a clever name for our bi-monthly e-newsletter. If you’re not already receiving our Radio Halos, getting on our list is a must. Each edition is packed with valuable information for our listeners. Occasionally we’ll even feature special offers from our business underwriters. If you’d like to receive Radio Halos, click here. And don’t worry—we never share e-mail addresses with third parties. We don’t like spam and we know our listeners don’t appreciate it either.

Social Media
Spirit Catholic Radio is no exception to the many organizations using social media to stay connected with their audience. One of the most fun components of my job here at the radio network is being able to interact with our listeners through Facebook and Twitter.

The Spirit Catholic Radio Facebook page (found here) is an interactive community of listeners. The page features updates about programming including what is coming up on our Spirit Mornings show; news that affects listeners; inspiration for your daily life; and of course, a bit of humor. We also run occasional Facebook contests and promotions. “Like” us to stay in-the-know.

For those of you who love to tweet, follow Spirit Catholic Radio on Twitter! You can expect daily Scripture tweets as well as retweets from Pope Francis. We also share news and information. Twitter not your thing? You can still read what we post on Twitter by viewing our feed toward the bottom of our homepage at And, if you tweet us, we’ll tweet you back!

If you have any questions about these or any other means of staying connected to Spirit Catholic Radio, I'm happy to chat with you. Simply e-mail me here or call 855-571-0200. 

Blogged by Kelly Miller, Marketing and Promotions Manager

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Miraculous Healing

Dr. Ed and Jeanne Gatz of Omaha are proof of the ongoing relationship between the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory and the living on earth.

About 24 years ago, Jeanne and a priest friend prayed to Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor in France who died in 1879, to ask God in heaven to cure Ed from terminal cancer. And the church – after an extensive investigation – determined that through Jeanne Jugan’s intercession, God healed Ed.

In fact, Ed’s healing of esophageal cancer was the final church-approved miracle needed for the 2009 canonization of Jeanne Jugan.

The Gatzes, members of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, admit they are just like everybody else when it comes to everyday living. For years, Ed was an anesthesiologist at Bergan Mercy Hospital, and he and Jeanne raised their son, Bart, in their Rockbrook neighborhood home.

But God chose to use them to do something extraordinary.

Praying through the diagnosis
In 1989, 51-year-old Ed became concerned about multiple, tiny bumps on the back of his hands, and how his skin had become unusually thick and coarse. 

A dermatologist believed the changes could be a hidden cancer and referred him to his internal medicine physician. For eight weeks, tests and consultations were conducted, but a diagnosis of cancer could not be confirmed. 

After an upper and lower scoping by a gastrointestinal doctor at Bergan Mercy in Omaha, he was diagnosed as having esophageal cancer and told he probably had six months to live. His wife sought consolation from the late Jesuit Father Richard McGloin at Creighton University, who encouraged her to pray “every day without fail” a novena prayer to Blessed Jugan to intercede for a cure. 

Father McGloin, who died in 2005, knew about the novena prayer because he had been the chaplain at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home in Milwaukee.

His tumor was removed during a palliative surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, but chose not to have chemotherapy or radiation done to remove the cancer because neither would cure him nor would they guarantee to prolong his life.

But at every three-month checkup over the next year, he was cancer free. 

Ed and Jeanne Gatz of Omaha share Ed’s story of miraculous
healing during a visit to the Spirit Catholic Radio studios Nov. 6. 
When Ed was still alive and well two and a half years later, the Gatzes’ insurance company conducted an investigation, claiming possible fraud because he had far outlived the original six-month estimate. Their investigation revealed Ed actually had an especially wild type of cancer and should’ve lived only four months.

The Gatzes continued on in their day-to-day lives and Jeanne continued to pray daily the prayer to Jeanne Jugan. 

But after 13 years since the diagnosis, Father McGloin encouraged the couple to report the healing to the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose closest monastery was in Kansas City. He also told Jeanne that Ed was the first of five cures he knew of that resulted from his prayers to Jeanne Jugan.

The superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor asked them to write their story and mail it to them. She also told Jeanne she thought Ed’s healing would be the final miracle needed for Jeanne Jugan’s canonization.

Formal documentation of the cure began in 2002, and Ed believes his extensive background in science and research helped him document the case and later be declared a miracle.

After a thorough investigation, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints acknowledged the miracle through the intercession of Jeanne Jugan in December 2008, and the Gatzes attended her canonization in Rome in Oct. 11, 2009. 

“We have gratitude and we realize that it was a gift and a great blessing that God granted,” Jeanne said.  “It had nothing to do with us,” she said. “I can understand why he chose a good person like Ed but anyone could have gotten that blessing.”

By sharing their story, the Gatzes hope people will foster relationships with the saints in heaven and, as a result, strengthen their relationship with God.

“We believe it’s an obligation to share this huge blessing,” said Jeanne, who gets requests for copies of the novena. “It gives hope to so many people.”

Read more articles related to this story on the Catholic Voice website,

Blogged by Lisa Maxson, Senior Writer/Reporter

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Faith Alive: Fr. Jose Chavez

Nov. 15-16 is National Donor Sabbath, a time when faith leaders around the United States discuss with their congregations the importance of organ donation and saving lives.

Father Jose Chavez of the Diocese of Grand Island recently shared his story of receiving a heart and kidney transplant with Spirit Catholic Radio on Bruce Prenosil’s Faith Alive series. His story will rerun next Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7:35 a.m. on Spirit Mornings.

The following is Father Chavez’s story:

Father Jose Chavez said he sees life in a new way after undergoing heart and kidney transplants last year in Omaha.

The pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Elk Creek, St. John Capistran Parish in Amherst and Holy Rosary Parish in Overton said almost losing his life to complications from diabetes and a congenital heart syndrome has made him more compassionate, more present to others and more grateful for God’s blessings in his life.

Fr. Jose Chavez 
Photo courtesy of The West Nebraska Register.
“Each day is a gift from God. Regardless of how I feel, if I wake up and can wiggle my toes, I am thankful,” Father Chavez, 46, said.

Before his transplants April 25, 2012, Father Chavez was on dialysis three times a week because of kidney failure, had developed anemia and was often nauseous. Despite his health struggles, he continued to serve as pastor of three parishes, but was extremely weak and needed help from priests and deacons to do his ministry.

He initially went to the hospital in the spring of 2011 to see if his heart was strong enough for a kidney transplant. But his cardiologist, Dr. Ioana Dumitru, at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha discovered that the priest’s heart was too weak for the surgery and that it also would need to be transplanted or Father Chavez would die within six months.  

Father Chavez said he was stunned by the news and became angry, sad and depressed. He felt helpless and hopeless, he said, but started to re-evaluate his life.

“I realized that I cannot just sit here and let my life go before me…So I decided that I was going to do something about it,” he said.

He planned some trips to visit friends throughout the country, but during the next six months, his health continued to decline. His kidneys shut down and he went on dialysis to remain alive.

Father Chavez said he relied on support from family and friends to help him stay positive, and to continue his priestly ministry. His parents left their home in Scottsbluff and moved into the rectory to help, and Bishop William Dendinger appointed a deacon to assist at Father Chavez’s parishes.

People throughout the Diocese of Grand Island offered prayers for Father Chavez.

“Once the prayers started coming through, I started realizing I was much stronger than what I thought,” he said. “One of the toughest things I had to learn was that humility is a very beautiful thing. When you see the support, you see the prayers, you see the encouragement of others and continue to live out each day basically thanking God for that moment.”

Father Chavez said he noticed his bouts of depression weren’t lasting as long and through praying the rosary, he realized he wasn’t alone – God was with him. He also often prayed to Blessed John Paul II, who also continued his priestly ministry while he was ill, Father Chavez said.

As his faith deepened, Father Chavez said he surrendered everything to God. It happened when he became sicker and had to be taken to the hospital. The doctors weren’t very optimistic, he said, and told the priest his heart was too weak.

“At that point I thought, Abandonment. St. Ignatius. Total abandonment of body, heart and spirit,” Father Chavez said.

He forgave and asked for forgiveness, and let go of negative things he had held onto throughout his life, he said.

“I said ‘Lord, I’m ready. If you want to take me, go ahead. I’m ready. You’ve given me a great life, you’ve given me a great family, you’ve given me great friends. Thank you very much, and if it is your will for me to go, then I shall go,’” Father Chavez said.

Even though he accepted God’s will, Father Chavez said he was still hopeful he would receive a heart and kidney transplant.

In March 2012, his name was placed on the national waiting list, and about six weeks later, the call came that a donor heart and kidney were available. Two priest friends drove him from Elm Creek to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for the transplant surgery.

It’s been a year and a half since the double transplant, and Father Chavez is doing well and has returned to ministry as a full-time pastor.

Although he hasn’t met his donor’s family, Father Chavez said he’s grateful to his donor and the donor’s family and hopes to one day be able to express his gratitude for their gift.

“Thanks be to God and to the donor, I’ve been given a new lease on life. I’ve been given a second chance,” he said. “I’ve been given a miracle of life, and so it’s become so much more beautiful and I want to share that with people. I want to help them see that with God, all things are possible.”

 Blogged by Lisa Maxson, Senior Writer/Reporter

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heartland Catholic Women's Conference

This past weekend Spirit Catholic Radio was happy to be a co-sponsor of the Heartland Catholic Women’s conference in Omaha. More than 400 people – including several Spirit Catholic Radio staff members – came to be inspired in their faith and to grow in fellowship with other women.

Sharon Doran speaks at the conference.
Themed “Women at the Well,” the Nov. 2 conference focused on conversion and discipleship through an encounter with Jesus Christ.

Speaker Sherry Weddell, author of “Forming Intentional Disciples,” talked about the journey to discipleship and about charisms, or gifts, given by the Holy Spirit.

Crystalina Evert, a national chastity speaker, shared her story of conversion.

Weddell, co-director of the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo., invited those gathered to reflect on where they are on their journey to discipleship. She encouraged them to be open to spiritual and personal change, to beginning the journey to discipleship again and to grow closer to Jesus in the midst of his church.

Charisms, she said, are given at baptism and confirmation to help people in their Christian mission. They are not natural talents or chosen by the person, and they are always used for the sake of others. They are instruments of healing and evangelization that help reveal Jesus to others.

There are an unlimited number of charisms but they include hospitality, service, mercy, administration, music, writing and craftsmanship, she said.

To discover your charism, Weddell said a person should explore possible charisms, experiment with them through action and examine your experience. She also said you should evaluate your effectiveness and look for feedback from others.

Read more about Weddell and these topics at

Evert, a wife and mother of seven, shared her life story of growing up in a broken home, falling away from the church as a teen by living an unchaste life, and coming to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

She said even though she has a strong relationship with Christ now, she continues to work through the effects of sin in her life. She regularly meets with a counselor, participates in Eucharistic adoration and goes to the sacrament of reconciliation.

You can find out more about Evert at her website,, and at, a ministry she and her husband, Jason, founded.

Friend of Spirit Catholic Radio, Sharon Doran, of the Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study, spoke at the conference as well. Her talk was focused on the woman at the well from John 4. 

Blogged by Lisa Maxson, Senior Writer/Reporter

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Spirit Celebration Dinner 2013

More than 600 of Spirit Catholic Radio's friends and listeners gathered among the beauty of the enormous airplanes at the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Neb. on Friday, Oct. 25 for the 8th annual Spirit Celebration Dinner.

The dinner, hosted each fall, celebrates the mission of Spirit Catholic Radio as well as the many listeners, donors, volunteers, on-air guests and friends of the radio apostolate. 

Beginning at 6 p.m. with a social hour, guests enjoyed complimentary drinks and 

hors d'oeuvres while they mingled with fellow listeners and Spirit Catholic Radio staff. 

A buffet-style dinner featuring foods from five of the area's best restaurants was served after a blessing from Bishop Emeritus Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln. Providing the meal were Wheatfield's, Patricia Catering, Parker's Smokehouse, Hiro 88 and Mangia Italiana. 

The evening's program featured an update from Executive Director Jim Carroll, who talked about the station's mission to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to invite, inform and inspire listeners. 

Emcees Bruce McGregor and Jen Brown of the Spirit Mornings show, along with Matt Willkom, didn't miss an opportunity for song as the entire crowd joined together for a quick tune written by Matt, who sang and played guitar.

Each year during the dinner, Spirit Catholic Radio honors special individuals whose contributions help to ensure the radio network's mission is carried out over the airwaves. Receiving this year's Local Spirit Award were all four bishops from the listening area: Archbishop George J. Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha; Bishop James D. Conley of the Lincoln Diocese; Bishop William J. Dendinger of the Grand Island Diocese; and Bishop Richard E. Pates of the Des Moines Diocese. 
Bishop Dendinger and Archbishop Lucas receive their awards.
Bishops Pates and Conley were unable to attend.

Featured speaker for the evening was radio show host Dr. Ray Guarendi of The Doctor Is In, which airs on Spirit Catholic Radio Monday through Friday at 12 p.m. CST. Dr. Ray was also awarded with the National Spirit Award. Along with a few humorous stories, he gave a moving talk which focused on the Eucharist. 

The team at Spirit Catholic Radio was delighted by the incredible turnout for the event. This year's dinner was the largest of the previous seven years. We enjoyed seeing both new and old faces of our friends and listeners; volunteers; board members; priests and religious men and women; and on-air guests. The radio network extends its gratitude to everyone who helped make the evening possible.

A complete photo gallery from the event can be found here. Thanks to Dominic and Sean Carney for the beautiful photos.