Chaplain December 2022

Dear Brother Knights,

In the upcoming Solemnity of Christmas and throughout the Christmas season, we celebrate the greatest news that the world has ever heard: God has taken on human flesh and become like us, even entering our world as a little baby.

No matter who we are or what age we happen to be, we can continue to be touched and amazed by the simplicity, beauty, and love of Christmas. It can be grasped by the smallest child and it can melt the coldest heart. And even though it was foreshadowed and prophesied by the prophets, it’s the greatest surprise that we could possibly imagine.

God, whom the world, our galaxy, and the entire universe cannot contain chose to live among us. He chose to think like us, laugh and cry like us, making himself weak, vulnerable and in need of others. All so that he can show us how to love in a human way.

I pray that you and your families have a blessed and grace-filled season of Christmas. And may the reality of God entering the world touch your hearts, and move you to take on the high and noble calling of sharing it with others. Merry Christmas!

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Kipper

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Chaplin November 2022

Dear Brother Knights,  
 
In this month of November we recall those who have gone before us.  And we recall those who share in the resurrection of Jesus.  On November 2, on All Soul’s day, we prayed for those who will see the heavenly Father, but whose souls need purification.  They are assisted by our prayers. On November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All the Saints—all those in heaven right now who have fought the good fight here on earth.    
 
One of the most beautiful things for us to recall during this blessed time is that we remain connected to those who died in the grace of God. At any moment we can pray to the saints in heaven, and ask for their intercession, just like we might ask a fellow parishioner to pray for us.  As St. Therese of Lisieux said that she “wants to spend her heaven doing good on earth.”   
 
Those in heaven are cleansed of all selfishness and so all the saints spend their heaven doing good. We can assist souls who have left this earth, but need to be purified of their sins.  We can do this through our prayers and offerings.      
 
In short, we recall during this month the entire communion of saints:  the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, and all of us on earth fighting the good fight against sin. Let us remember how deeply connected that we are with one another.  May God bless all of you and your families.   

Father Nicholas Kipper
Pastor
St. Teresa Parish

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Chaplain October 2022

Dear Fellow Knights,

In 2014, when I was in residence at St. Patrick’s parish in Lincoln we had a missionary priest, Fr. Emanuel, preach our missionary co-op program. The missionary co-op program in the Diocese of Lincoln is where priests from all over the world speak about the Church’s missionary activity throughout the world in order to gain material support. The money collected is then dispersed to the various missions of the priests who give their appeal.

Fr. Emanuel was from Pope Francis’s home country of Argentina, no longer a missionary land, but Fr. Emanuel himself was a missionary—and a unique one. He is a part of a religious order that serves Christians in the most troubled parts of the world. We had some long chats about the struggles that they go through daily—struggles really of survival.
For instance, he told me of the several priests that they have in Iraq (which interestingly enough has a rich and ancient history of Catholicism), who is in constant fear of Islamic extremists.
He told me at that time that they had one priest serving essentially all of Syria.

He himself was stationed in Egypt. Fr. Emanuel was there when there was a great backlash against Christians in the 2010s. Militants, he told me, equate the Church with the west, and riots were raging against what was viewed as western oppression.

He knew of a Christian who was spotted as having a cross in her car. A mob gathered around her and killed her. He said that there were parts of town that you had to avoid. One story was particularly memorable. One evening he had to be out for some kind of pastoral duty. It was a particularly raucous evening. He said he was lost and if he didn’t have his GPS on his phone, he would have probably drifted into one of these riot, and likely would have been killed.

Fr. Emanuel was heading back to Egypt, and as he was leaving I was wondering if I had just met a man who would someday be martyred. What makes someone do this? He easily could have given up. He could have gone back to Argentina and been a good and holy priest there.

Why would a priest like Fr. Emanuel go back? It could be said that the Church doesn’t have a mission the Church is mission. And this was so at from the very beginning. Because at Pentecost, which is really the birthday of the Church, the once cowardly apostles received the Holy Spirit. And after receiving the Spirit, they don’t just hang out with each other, but they instantly are thrust into mission. They go out. In fact, these 12 Apostles go all over the world: St. James went as far as Spain; St. Thomas preached the Gospel all the way to India; the rest were almost everywhere in between.

St. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical The Redeemer of Man said, “the Church’s fundamental function in every age…is to direct man’s gaze…toward the mystery of Christ.” If we really believe that this mystery of Christ has changed the world, then we should do all that we can to bring Christ to the whole world.

Principally, we are to live out the mission of the church in Nebraska. For most this means handing on the faith to those in our family. This is enough of a challenge for us. But we are part of the Catholic Church. There should be something of the heart of Fr. Emanuel in all of us.

Looking at the Church at large, we recognize that there are many who do not have the material blessings that we have here in the United States. In a few weeks we celebrate World Mission Sunday. It’s a good time for us to remember there are Christians in war-torn parts of the world, in impoverished nations, and those facing adversity that can use our help in carrying out the mission of the Church. All of are to have a missionary heart in assisting through prayers and other means our brothers and sisters in Christ both at home and abroad.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Kipper

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Chaplain September 2022

Dear Fellow Knights,

First, let me say what a blessing it is to be the new pastor of St. Teresa Parish and the chaplain for the Knights of Columbus Fitzgerald Council. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you during the last few years as I was in residence at St. Teresa. What a blessing it is to serve and work with such wonderful men striving to grow closer to Jesus and serve the community in selfless ways.

Just a short introduction of myself. I am the oldest of four children. I grew up in Cathedral of the Risen Christ parish in Lincoln. I graduated from Pius X High School in 1998. I went to UNL for a year, entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 2006. I have been assigned to several parishes in Lincoln and was pastor at St. James parish in Cortland for 3 years; I also taught at Pius X High School in Lincoln for 9 years. I have been working at the Lincoln Diocesan newspaper, the Southern Nebraska Register for 13 years. For the past five years, I served as Director of Communications and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Lincoln.

I have a family connection to Fitzgerald Council. My late grandfather Bill Kipper was a member of Fitzgerald Council, as a member of St. Patrick Parish in Lincoln. He would later go on to be a founding member of the St. Patrick council when it became large enough for its own council. Moreover, I also received financial and spiritual support during my years in the seminary for which I am grateful.

I look forward to praying, serving, and enjoying fraternity with all of you in the future, as we all seek to draw nearer to the savior.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Kipper

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Chaplain May 2022

Dear Brother Knights,
It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your chaplain for the past five years! I will never forget the annual fish fry’s (and navigating with COVID), the fireworks stand, your faithful pro-life work, your support of the physically and mentally challenged and your active presence in our parish in so many ways.

It has been a blessing getting to know you through working with you and I thank you for your faithful support and generosity in the many projects over the past five years.

Last week as Catholic churches across the country were put on alert for possible anti-life protests and disturbances, the council immediately stepped up to the challenge by being vigilant and walking around our church and property during the Masses. These protests may extend into the summer and if they do, you will play an important part in protecting our Constitutional right of the Freedom of Religion, which includes being able to practice one’s faith without intimidation or violence. As Knights, your witness, strength and courage is necessary in these times.

Let us keep each other in prayer.
In the Risen One,
Fr. Hottovy

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