What Area Pastors Have to Say About Parish Centers

As St. Vincent de Paul moves forward with our Parish Center, we consulted other Omaha area parishes about the impact their centers have had on the life of their parish communities.

Father Mike Grewe, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Gretna, said he often feels like he has had two assignments at St. Patrick: six years before their parish center and six years after it.
Before the parish center was built in 2010, it was difficult to get programs going, he said, but now things are “much more alive” at St. Patrick. For example, the first Lent after their parish center opened, more than 400 people participated in an eight-week Bible study, he said.

Colleen Ostdiek, parish center manager at Christ the King Parish in Omaha, said their parish center is always in use by both parish and non-parish groups … for pancake breakfasts and fundraising events to wedding receptions and funeral luncheons. Prior to construction 18 years ago, large gatherings were held in the church basement, accessible only by a narrow staircase, she said. Having the parish center connected to and on the same level as the church makes it a convenient space for the community, Ostdiek said.

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha built the James T. Mainelli Center in 2001. Father Steven Stillmunks, pastor, attributes greater attendance at parish gatherings and events to their welcoming and conveniently-located parish center. The Mainelli Center is used for various parish and community events, including retreats and faith development gatherings, fundraising dinners, funeral luncheons and wedding receptions. St. Robert’s also rents out the parish center for wedding receptions, archdiocesan events, and other gatherings, which pays for the salary of the parish center manager, he said.

“You will wonder how you ever got along without a parish center,” Father Stillmunks said.