Heart of the Parish
“People are the heart of the Parish”
Introducing Father Gadache
Father Michael Gadache will become St. Bernard’s pastor in July 2023, and though he will have a dual assignment, he has stated that being the pastor of St. Bernard will be his main focus. His second assignment from the Archdiocese is to continue as Chaplain for the African groups, Our Lady of Africa and St Michael, who may eventually combine into one group and will be based at St. Bernard.
Father Gadache has considerable experience as a pastor, 13 years in his home country of Nigeria, and more recently at St. Pius X. He sees his mission first and foremost as a pastor leading his people in their spiritual journey.
Father Gadache’s name on legal documents is Father Ahmadu Michael Gadache, but he is popularly known as Father Michael Gadache, and prefers to be called that. He was born and grew up in Nigeria.
He has a large extended family in Nigeria, including one sister and four brothers. He was educated and ordained in Nigeria and became and remains a diocesan priest of the diocese of Minna in central Nigeria. As reported in our bulletin a few weeks ago, the parish in Minna where he served as pastor, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church was the victim of terroristic violence against the Catholic church in Nigeria. In January the rectory was attacked and burned; its current pastor, Fr. Isaac Achi was killed and his assistant was wounded. Fr. Achi was also Father Gadache’s uncle. He wrote the following about Fr. Achi:
“Fr. Isaac Achi will be greatly missed by family, friends and the entire Catholic Diocese of Minna. He was not just a priest, but also a father figure to very many people and families. He will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace, dear Father.”
So how does a native Nigerian priest come to serve parishes in the United States? Nigeria has a large population of Catholics, and a significant number of young people in its seminaries and convents. The Minna diocese has a good number of priests to serve its needs, and its bishop was open to sharing them as missionaries to the U.S., saying, “It is all one church” and he feels it is our collective responsibility to teach and preach the gospel everywhere in the world. So when Fr. Gadache was asked to be a missionary to the U.S. to help with our shortage of priests, he was eager to accept. Two priests were requested, and both accepted. He had visited the U.S. in 2015 and was excited for the opportunity to serve here. It has been a serious culture shock, especially the food, but he is adjusting.
His first assignment in the U.S. in 2019 was at St. Pius X, but housing was not immediately available there, so he was housed at St. Leo the Great rectory. He made good friends in that parish who helped him adjust to his new culture, and they remain close friends today. When housing became available at St. Pius X, he moved there, where he served as Associate Pastor, and is currently acting Pastor in the temporary absence of the assigned Pastor.
In his rare free time he likes to read and write and follow “futbol”, i.e. soccer. He only had time to watch a bit of the World Cup on TV, and since Nigeria did not make the finals in Qatar, he rooted strongly for the U.S.
Fr. Gadache’s second assignment is as Chaplain to the African Community, who will also adopt St. Bernard as its home base. This benefits St. Bernard by increasing its Mass attendance, a numbers criteria the Archdiocese uses to determine how many priests are assigned to a parish, and the number of Masses celebrated. The African Community is a group of people with the commonality of all originating from various African countries and being Catholic. Their desire is to preserve their native religious customs to pass down to future generations so they are not totally lost as they are assimilated to life in the U.S. They live all over Omaha, perhaps belong to other parishes, but need a home church that will welcome their presence and join their services as they choose.
Father’s duties as their Chaplain is to offer sacraments such as Baptism in their traditional manner if requested, to assist them with whatever social events they plan, and now help them make a transition to their new home base of St. Bernard.
As St. Bernard’s pastor he will also work to blend St. Bernard’s and the African communities into a cohesive whole on our joint path to harmony and serving God and each other.
Who is Rose?
On a couple of recent Sundays at Mass, the priest or lector made a comment thanking “Rose” for the success of the Annual Dinner Auction held in October. If you did not attend or were not one of the many volunteers for the event, or aren’t very active in parish events, you may not know who Rose is.
“Rose” Flores is the Business Manager and Director of Development for the parish and school with an office in the rectory. She wore her Development hat when she expanded the dinner auction, and with the help of the rest of the rectory staff, many volunteers, generous donors, and alumni and attendees made it a more profitable event. She has continued to lead the event with increasing profits every year, this year’s earnings, a record $131,000!
Rose was hired by Fr. Walter Nolte as the parish Business Manager in 2013, and when he found out she liked to plan parties, he asked her to become Director of Development also. She has since hosted more parties, such as the annual Hooley, which began as a community building activity and has grown into a source of revenue, as well as an enjoyable event for all ages.
Rose is a native Omahan, and after graduating from UNO, worked for NCR Corporation before moving to California, following her husband in his military service. Her final job in California was as the Corporate Controller for a winery, a position she held for 20 years.
Once her husband retired she persuaded him to move the family to Nebraska so she could again be near her large family, the Griffiths. One of her eight brothers and sisters, Mike, told her about an open position at St. Bernard. She interviewed with Fr. Nolte and accepted the job. It fit her requirement of serving people. She loves her job and says that it brings her joy and happiness, mostly because of the loyal group of volunteers which she can always count on to answer her call for assistance. One of the recipients of the Annual Dinner Auction is the school with tuition assistance for those students whose parents wish their children could attend our award winning school but cannot afford all of the tuition.
Many of the school’s students are only able to attend our school with financial assistance. Rose works with any parent of need who wishes his/her child to attend our school. The church community benefits by maintaining a viable student population, and exposing children and families, including non-Catholics, to Catholic beliefs.
As parish/school Business Manager, Rose oversees the business aspect of the parish which has four parts—Church, School, Cafeteria, and Childcare. Each year she works with each unit to compile its budget, presents it to the members of the Parish Finance Committee and the Pastor, and after their approval, it goes to the Archdiocese for its approval.
Rose and her husband, Rick, are parishioners of St Bernard. They have three grown children, a son and two daughters, and two grandchildren. All of her family, including her large extended family, enthusiastically attend all of the ‘parties’ she plans at St. Bernard. All parishioners, alumni, and friends are cordially invited to all of the parties. Please join us!
Upcoming Events (Parties)
Irish Hooley—March 11
Parish Fish Fry—March 24
Parish Carnival—May 7th
Annual Benefit Dinner & Auction—October 20th
[This bi-monthly newsletter is designed to keep our St. Bernard parishioners and friends better informed about the personnel and happenings of the St. Bernard Community. The Weekly Clairvaux, our church bulletin, announces church and school events. The Heart of the Parish plans to feature people who are the heart of St. Bernard, from staff, school and childcare personnel, and the many volunteers who keep this parish alive and thriving. With the changes coming to our parish, the more information you have the more comfortable you will feel, and perhaps be encouraged to be a more active “person of the parish.”]
The current editor and writer of this publication is Mary T. Mick. She and her late husband, Garry, have been members of St. Bernard’s parish for over 51 years. Their daughters attended the school, and she was president of the Home and School Association and volunteered for the school library during that time. She now volunteers for the church library, writes reviews of its offerings for the bulletin, and bakes for funeral luncheons. Her writing experience includes being writer/publisher of a newsletter for a local nature non-profit for the last 16 years. She enjoys any opportunity to write. Comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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