Dennis Wiehn wanted to further his faith education.
So, he reached out to a friend.
St. Boniface Catholic Church’s Father Floyd Wessling, who was friends with Wiehn and his family, encouraged his pursuit of religion.
“I was looking for more education in my faith and to the process, and (Father Wessling) asked if I would be interested in looking into the diaconate,” he said. “So, my wife and I decided that maybe we should check it out. And so, I started and this is what it has led to.”
For 35 years, Wiehn has devotedly served as a deacon at St. Boniface Catholic Church.
He was ordained on July 17, 1983, by Bishop Sheen at St. Mary’s Church in Norfolk and was among a class of eight that day.
Even though Wiehn didn’t know what would happen later down the road, he said that, in the here and now, he felt as though this was God calling him to serve.
“I was just overwhelmed by the experience, feeling the grace of God, you know, come through and to know that I was being called to be a servant to others, not so much to myself, to serve the glory of God,” he said.
According to Wiehn, the process was similar to a priesthood ordination, and he had to spend multiple years studying beforehand.
“There were three and a half years of formation, which was studying necessary stuff that you needed to learn, like theology and scripture,” he said.
In his late 30s, Wiehn started taking formation classes and said that most of them were held in a parish in Pierce, as it was a central area for his group members. The men were from Sioux City, Crofton, Elgin, O’Neill and other towns.
There, Wiehn renewed his education every year for 15-20 years until formation was moved to a different location.
“We went every year,” he said. “We continued to go back to those classes to formation to be a support group that was just like family. And so, we always went to support each other and learn more.”
Before he decided to become a deacon, Wiehn attended a rural country school for six years and attended St. Boniface Elementary School and then Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School. He did not attend college, but did farm work by Elgin and spent 1964-66 in the service at Arlington Hall Station in Arlington, Virginia.
Since his ordination, Wiehn has remained in Elgin and served at St. Boniface. However, he has been asked to serve as a deacon at different events and places.
“When I’ve been asked to deacon at different events, different places, I was willing to do that,” he said. “And, if it was out of my parish and into another parish or another diocese, I had to get permission from the pastor and the bishop if I wanted to function as a deacon in other areas.”
Wiehn said his favorite part about being a deacon has been helping others serve Christ, regardless of their denomination.
“Maybe we’re on different roads, but still God is our focus of where we want to go and we can share our faith with each other and share God in our lives,” he said. “We never know what the next day is going to lead us to and we just take it as it comes.”
Strengthening his faith has aided him in becoming a better father, husband and Christian, he said.
Wiehn met his wife, Rose, after going to a dance with her.
“We went to a dance at that time in Raeville,” he said. “And then, I took her home and we continued on our relationship.”
Together, they had six children – Gloria, Keith, Denise, Jason, Karen and Jennie. They also now have 20 grandchildren.
According to Wiehn, overwhelming support and affirmation from family and friends have helped to keep him and his wife going.
“Rose and I have been very blessed and I just try to stay humble, and the process has humbled me many times. It’s not only for my glory,” he said.
St. Boniface is honoring his dedication to the church on Sunday, July 15, after the 10 a.m. Mass with a coffee and rolls reception.
Wiehn said his children were present when he was ordained in 1983, and he hopes to see some of them at his 35th anniversary of ordination celebration.
“It will be kind of like an ordinary day, an ordinary Sunday,” he said. “Maybe some of the family will be there and we will just celebrate the event.”
A new outdoor area for the KC Hall in Elgin is hopefully on the horizon after the demolition of the former Clip'n Curl building on June 28.
The building, which had sat empty for the past 10 years, was demolished after being donated to the Elgin Men’s Charitable Corporation by Jerri and Millie Mundorf. According to Gary Hoefer, the Secretary/Treasurer for the Elgin Men’s Charitable Corporation, they are looking to turn the lot into an outside area for the KC Hall.
“We wanted to get the site cleared, and we had a meeting last night, just a few of us,” he said. “We are looking at different ideas, but the main thing is an open area outside for the summer. A rough word for it would be a beer garden type of thing.”
He said that the building was demolished because they couldn’t remodel it, and it would suit their needs better to tear it down.
“The building hadn’t been used for about 10 years. There was no way to remodel it for the use that we wanted. The best use was to remove the old building and start from scratch.”
Although the main plan as of now is to have some form of an outdoor area, its uses are not yet defined. Hoefer says they are still in the planning stages.
“Maybe eventually we can use it for wedding receptions and other events. There are no definite plans right now, we are just looking for ideas.”
While plans have yet to be set, Hoefer said the EMCC hopes to have some sort of an outdoor area in place for the summer season next year.
“We would like to have some form of an outside area by next spring (2019) for the summer season.”
A fire in southeast Antelope County was quickly extinguished on Wednesday night thanks to a quick response by the Elgin Fire Department.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, the Elgin Fire Department responded to the call of a fire 5 miles south and 4 miles east of Elgin at Dave Beckman's property. Firefighters were on scene for approximately 40 minutes before giving the all clear.
According to Elgin Fire Chief Jim Kittleson, the fire was started by welding on on the grain bin leg. He said the fire damaged the cuff at the bottom of the leg of the grain bin, and that nothing else was damaged in the fire.
The Elgin Fire Department was the only department that responded to the fire.
One person was transported to the hospital after an accident involving a semi east of Elgin on Wednesday afternoon.
At approximately 2:50 p.m., Elgin Fire & Rescue and the Nebraska State Patrol responded to a semi rollover two miles east of Elgin on 839th Road.
NSP Trooper Bryan Walter said the driver, Jayson Larson of Tilden, was traveling westbound when he moved over on the road to let two eastbound cars pass. While moving over, his wheels caught the ditch, pulling the semi over and rolling into the ditch. The semi, owned by a farmer from rural Tilden, ended up on its side in the north ditch.
Larson was transported to Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh to be treated for minor injuries.
Pope John students will hold a paper drive on the morning of Saturday, July 14.
Qualifying materials include newspapers, phone books, paperbacks, shredded paper, magazines, slick papers, mailings and flattened cereal boxes. Students may not collect corrugated cardboard boxes, hard covered books (unless covers are removed), spiral notebooks, calendars or manuals (unless spirals are removed).
Papers must be bagged in brown or plastic bags, not in boxes, in order for them to be submitted.
Materials need to be dropped off at pick-up locations by 8 a.m. or placed in the protected area in front of the St. Boniface gym anytime on Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday.
Those in the Francis and Isidore Houses are in charge of the project. For Clearwater, rural St. John and Ewing, contact Lane Bartak at (402) 394-1733. The contact for Petersburg and Raeville is Lauren Seier at (402) 843-8479 and the contacts for Elgin are Ashtyn Meis and Sister Pat at (402) 843-5401 and (402) 843-5461. For Neligh, contact Conor Ramold at (402) 929-3103.
In the annual battle of fire departments, the Elgin firemen extinguished the competition.
The Elgin Fire Department suited up three teams at Petersburg on Wednesday night and claimed first and second places in the contest. Other teams represented the Petersburg and Albion Fire Departments.
During the water fight competition, firemen form teams that stand on either side of a suspended barrel and aim the water from their fire hoses to push the barrel to the opposing team's side.
Elgin firemen participating in the water fights were Craig Niewohner, Adam Veik, Justin Henn, Greg Henn, Duane Miller, Jay Evans, Danny Veik, Bud Miller, Cole Haddix, Gary Dreger, Tyler Childers and Robbie Evans.
Due to a lighting project, no Masses will be held at the St. Boniface Catholic Church in Elgin for a short time.
The church will be closed July 2-13, and there will be no weekend or weekday Masses or confessions during that time.
There will be no 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, July 8, and an additional Mass will be held at St. Bonaventure in Raeville at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.
The weekend schedule for July 7-8:
Saturday, July 7: 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Bonaventure, Raeville (Confessions 4:45-5:15 p.m. in Raeville)
Sunday, July 8: 8 a.m. Mass at St. Bonaventure, Raeville (Confessions 7:30-7:50 a.m. in Raeville)
Sunday, July 8: 10 a.m. Mass will not be held; Communion to home-bound will not be held
The American Red Cross urges donors of all blood types to give now to help prevent delays in patient care this summer.
Donors are invited to Elgin's blood drive on Tuesday, June 26. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 117 S. 2nd St. in Elgin.
While thousands of donors have answered the call to donate blood, more donors are needed now to help ensure blood types don’t go missing. During the summer, especially around holidays like Independence Day, donations often don’t keep pace with patient needs.
Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
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