The parishioners of the church where Sister Ellen Dolan attends threw a party to celebrate her 25 years of service to the parish. Sr. Ellen said, “It turned out to be a bigger deal then I anticipated.”
St. Mary’s Catholic Church hosted the reception for Sr. Ellen on February 11. Sr. Ellen had served as the church’s liturgist for the past 25 years, up until last year. Now semi-retired, she still heads the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults, a program for those wishing to become Catholic.
Sister Ellen took her vows in 1963 and went to the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1968. She spent the last 25 years at St. Mary’s and was committed to the church. As liturgist, Sr. Ellen orchestrated the church’s rituals.
“I always wanted to do liturgy in an engaging way. A way that leads to a deep commitment to Christ,” Sister Ellen said.
Rev. Dennis Hanneman, a former pastor at St. Mary’s for more than 10 years, said Sr. Ellen was excellent at keeping everything running smoothly, and in a way that engaged people.
“She’s very cooperative with a good sense of how worship should be done,” said Hanneman, who retired last year. “I really appreciated her insights and experience.”
Originally from Montana, Sr. Ellen said she was raised in a tight-knit family in which church and faith were always important. She said her parents Ed and Lois Dolan were always there for her and that the community as a whole was cohesive. She believes her upbringing was a natural precursor to a life serving God.
The reception for Sr. Ellen was held in the parish center following the church’s 12:30 p.m. Mass. Current and past parishioners were invited to attend.
Filled with gratitude to the parishioners, Sister Ellen wrote a letter of thanks to them. In the letter she wrote:
“Thanks for a wonderful reception with great food, beautiful decoration, good friends and fun surprises. Thanks to all who worked to make it happen and to all who came by to wish me well. Thanks for being so welcoming to our/my guests. Thanks too for all the cards. A special shout-out to all the parish children who sent delightful cards. Most of all, thanks for sharing faith and goodness with me through all of these many years. God really does do great things for us and among us. Holy is God’s name!”