Omaha Archbishop Appoints FSSP Priest as Pastor of Diocesan Parish

Archbishop Curtiss' renewal of parish a model for other dioceses to follow.

Immaculate Conception (ICC) Church is the new home of the Latin Mass Community in the Diocese of Omaha and Father John Brancich, FSSP, now serves as pastor at ICC and Father Chad Ripperger, FSSP, the Parochal Vicar.

The diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Voice of Omaha, reports that according to chancellor Father Joseph Taphorn:  “The change of parishes for the Latin Mass Community was prompted by concerns about the continued viability of ICC.”

The former pastor of ICC, Fr. J. Buckley, “saw that the parish faced financial challenges including both current and future needs.” Consequently, Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss conducted an “assessment of the viability of ICC in light of changing demographics, Mass attendance, parish needs and income.” This resulted with the Fraternity be asked to supply a pastor for ICC.

Immaculate Conception (ICC) Church in Omah

“As for the parishioners, Father Taphorn said he understands ‘change isn’t always easy.’ Those uncertain about the Latin Mass can attend the Saturday evening English Mass, using the next several months as a transition period to make a decision about either another parish or the Latin Masses at ICC.” The Saturday evening Mass, said by a Columban father, will be phased out.

Father Taphorn believes changes mean improved viability for ICC.

“The 110 or so households in the Latin Mass community will inject new life into ICC in a variety of ways”, he said, “And since the church building is in good condition at ICC, there will be no need to fund restoration or repairs.”

The parish has gone from having one diocesan priest with duties in other churches to having two priests from the Fraternity of St. Peter.  Father Brancich was installed as Pastor by the local Vicar Forane and  Fr. J. Buckley  at the 9:00 A.M. solemn high Mass on Sunday August 25th.

As the decision was made only recently, the members of what was previously known as the Omaha Latin Mass Apostolate and existing parishioners of ICC put in long hours preparing the rectory and church for the first Traditional Latin Mass. During the next few months, the priests and parishioners will be planning for a grand renewal of the church, which was built in 1926 and renovated several times during the past 40 years. The project should be one of the ways to help the two communities to get settled as one parish. The Fraternity is delighted to see that many original parishioners of ICC have chosen to stay in the parish and participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass.

It looks like a parish that was having financial challenges will now be a growing and vibrant one.

March 18, 2009