Sunday evening my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a benefit concert for The St. Gianna Women’s Home at the beautiful Rococo Theater in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Dubbed “An Evening with Ellen & Friends: Celebrating the Season” the show was two hours of Christmas music performed on stage by local Catholic recording artist Ellen Soukup, with guest musicians that included Gene Klosner, Carolyn Soukup, John Soukup, a very nice combo to accompany them and the Pius X High School Spectrum Singers. Also performing tonight were Fr. Dave Korth, a priest from a Nebraska Indian Reservation who performed and accompanied a few songs by playing his Native American flute beautifully. One highlight was a duet he performed with a little girl of eight or nine from that reservation. In the interest of full disclosure I will say that the Soukup’s are close personal friends and members of our parish. Carolyn is a freshman in college and John is the Lincoln/Central Nebraska area station director for KVSS Catholic radio. We dressed up a little, had drinks and hors d’ouerves and sat among friends. The venue is spectular, and right away you knew it was a different kind of evening when the ushers were all nuns! The Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln served in that capacity tonight as the moneys raised goes to the home they run for women of all faiths, races and ethnicities who are escaping domestic violence and abortion. To learn more about St. Gianna Beretta Molla visit here.
I won’t bore my readers with any further details save for this one. During the evening’s introduction, Fr. Chris Kubat, the executive director for Catholic Social Services, told the following story. After years of planning and raising funds, the St. Gianna’s Home was able to open earlier this year. It is already full. One woman who found refuge there became pregnant earlier this year and was ordered by her abusive boyfriend to get an abortion. “I am NOT killing my baby,” was the response he gave. “Then I’m going to kill you,” was the response she received. She escaped to St. Gianna’s and was able to be safe. “Two weeks ago, I baptized her beautiful baby boy,” Fr. Kubat said.
One of the many wonderfully performed songs Sunday night was “Count Your Blessings” from the Bing Crosby movie White Christmas. After an evening at a beautiful theater with wonderful music and friends, mingling with fine nuns and priests that we are blessed to know, and knowing the price of our tickets were helping these women and children who need it, has put me in the frame of mind to count those blessings.
There are two weeks left until Christmas. It might just take me that long. How about you? Nothing takes the mind’s eye off of ourselves quite like this exercise.
More on the St. Gianna Women’s Home:
St. Gianna Women’s Home is a twenty-four apartment home staffed by the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln for women of all faiths, races and ethnicities who are escaping domestic violence and abortion. This complex consists of six 1-bedroom, twelve 2-bedroom, and six 3-bedroom units which are fully furnished and designed to give women and their children the needed time and support before their safe transition into permanent housing. During their stay at St. Gianna’s caseworkers will address any needs the women, children and infants may have as they make this transition. In addition, counseling services will be made available as needed. Their caseworkers and therapists work together to develop a family action plan for each woman and their children to accomplish this goal. Through the generosity of their many benefactors who support them with their prayers and financial gifts, St. Gianna Women’s Home will continue to offer their clients a safe and secure home and sorely needed love and respect.