It started gradually.
Then one day, in the quiet countryside while he was fixing a fence, it was loud and clear.
Patrick Moser knew God was calling him to the priesthood.
“I had thought about it before, but it really hit me one day when I was fixing fence,” the rural Clearwater native said. “I recognized it as something from God. The idea presented itself and I couldn’t really get it to leave me alone. It started to get more persistent.”
Before this, he had pushed the idea aside, doubting his ability to serve as a Catholic priest. When he could no longer ignore the calling, he talked to his parents, and Father James Kramper, who was serving St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church in Clearwater at that time.
“I didn’t think I had the right skills,” he said. “I didn’t think I was good enough. One thing I finally realized, and Father Kramper pointed out to me too, is that it’s not just me, it’s Christ working in me and through me. It took me a couple years to do what God wanted me to do.”
On Saturday, Fr. Patrick Moser was ordained into the priesthood by Archbishop George Lucas at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. The next day, Fr. Moser celebrated his first Mass in Clearwater and a reception followed in rural St. John’s social hall.
“It’s a tradition for a newly ordained priest to celebrate his first Mass at his home parish, if he is able,” he said. “I talked to Fr. John Norman (the Clearwater priest), and he was already expecting that.”
Several hundred people attended Fr. Moser’s Mass of Thanksgiving in Clearwater on Sunday afternoon. Among those attending were more than a dozen priests, including past and present priests from Clearwater, Elgin, Neligh, Tilden and other area communities.
“It means a lot to begin your priesthood in the same parish community that you were baptized in,” he said.
One of the most emotional parts of the service occurred following communion. After thanking everyone for attending his first Mass, Fr. Moser had a special presentation for his mother and father, who were seated in the front pew.
He walked toward them holding a wooden shadow box containing a white linen cloth with a small, red cross and a purple stole adorned with gold edges, and read:
“On the occasion of their first Mass, it is a tradition that the newly ordained priest presents a gift to his parents. To his mother, he gives the Maniturgium, which was used to cleanse his hands of Chrism, the holy oil used at ordination. The Maniturgium is given to the mother, because she was the first protector of the newly ordained priest, during his time in her womb. When the newly ordained priest’s mother is called home to God, she is buried holding the Maniturgium so that all in Heaven and on Earth will know that she is the mother of a priest. And on the last day when we are raised from the dead, she can present the Maniturgium to Christ the Lord and say, ‘My son too shared in your priesthood.’ To his father, the priest presents his first confessional stole. The stole is the sign of priestly office, and the priest wears it when he engages in holy things, like celebrating the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance. It was the father of the newly ordained priest who first taught him about justice and mercy. And like the mother of the newly ordained priest, when his father dies, he is buried holding the purple stole so that all in Heaven and on Earth will know that he was the father of a priest. And on the last day when we are raised from the dead, he can present the purple stole to Christ the Lord and say, ‘My son too shared in your priesthood.’ I love you, Mom and Dad.”
Fr. Moser hugged his parents and presented them with the gifts. When he returned to the front of the church, he wiped tears from his eyes.
The son of Edward and Sandy Moser, he was raised in rural Clearwater as the middle child of seven children--Amy, Jennifer, Rachel, Patrick, Mark, Jill and Scott. He attended Clearwater Public School through sixth grade and then went to Elgin Pope John for grades 7-12. After high school, he attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanized systems management, graduating in 2010.
Fr. Moser said he started considering the priesthood after his sophomore year in college.
“I started to think about it a little more,” he said. “I became more involved in the Newman Center and joined a Bible study on campus.”
It wasn’t until about a year after his college graduation, while employed by Kevin Rittscher of rural Clearwater doing general farm work, that Fr. Moser decided to act.
“I had already discerned that I probably wasn’t called to marriage,” he said. “But it’s a similar consideration, ‘Am I ready to make this commitment?’ It’s not something to take lightly.”
After talking with his parents and Fr. Kramper, he reached out to Fr. Paul Hoesing, the vocations director for the Omaha Archdiocese at that time. It was a little too late for the 2011 school year, so Fr. Moser entered Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis in 2012.
He studied philosophy for the first two years at the seminary and theology for the last four years. After six years of study, Fr. Moser graduated from Kenrick-Glennon on May 12, 2018.
“Through the seminary I’ve met a lot of great men who are ordained priests or who will be, God-willing,” he said. “Those are the people I’ll look to for support and guidance, and, hopefully, I can be that for them too.”
Once his seminary formation was complete, he was ready for ordination. Fr. Moser received an official letter from the archbishop announcing his upcoming ordination about three months ago.
The ordination was held on Saturday for Fr. Moser, Fr. Taylor Leffler and Fr. Padraic Stack. The ceremony included laying of hands by the archbishop and other priests, anointing of the hands with Chrism, receiving the stole and chasuble and the presentation of the chalice and paten.
It was a full weekend for Fr. Moser. So what is the next assignment for the newly ordained priest?
Fr. Patrick Moser is heading to St. Patrick’s Parish in Elkhorn on June 30.
“He must be a good intercessor,” Fr. Moser said with a chuckle about the shared namesake.
In the meantime, he plans to visit friends and family and attend a friend’s ordination. Fr. Moser’s future also includes serving as the priest for his sister Jill’s wedding this summer.
“God has already done a lot of things in my life the last 30 years,” he said. “I look forward to seeing what He has in store for my priesthood. I’m sure there will be a lot of surprises and a lot to learn, but He’s always with me.”
More than forty people gathered Sunday night at the Clearwater American Legion to celebrate the annual alumni banquet.
Above is the Class of 1963: Roy Walter, Cheryl (Rice) Norhouse, Bonnie (Damme) Kallhoff, Sharon (Michael) Charf, Marvin Trease, Kenneth Twiss, Dennis Sanne, Jack Sehi and Larry Hoffman.
Class of 1948: Jack Prater.
Class of 1953: Doris (Yaryan) Neal.
Class of 1958: Margaret (Peterson) Griffith, Sharon (Twiss) Wilkinson, Donna (Damme) Peterson and John Kruger.
Class of 1968: Merlin Bolling, Janice (Trease) Bolling, Diana (Snider) Trosper, Barbara Moser, Joel Wilcox, William Michael, Dennis Mather, Timothy Kester and Gaylaird Myers.
Class of 1973: Fred Thiele, Emmie (Thiessen) Powell, Kathleen (Rix) Ahlers and Linda (Patras) Hankla.
Class of 1978: Diane (Wolfe) Price, Rosemary (Thiele) Patras, Gary Thiele and Ron Wrenholt.
Class of 1993: John Rabe and Blaine Blecher.
Class of 1998: Tina Thiele Blecher and Monica (Thiele) Pohlman.
Class of 2003: Daniel Kerkman, Danielle (Kester) Johnson and Aaron Kruger.
Class of 2008: Eric Kruger and Jennifer (Duff) Waller.
Class of 2018: Jennifer Hickman, Allison Kerkman and Brooklynn Chipps.
Monday morning you could see the Clearwater bridge full of people and the American Legion honoring those who died for Memorial Day weekend.
Father John Norman officiated the service and a wreath was placed in the river in memorandum for those who served.
The services were then moved to the Clearwater Cemetery where Father Norman gave a short sermon and Allison Kerkman sang a song. A lunch followed the services at the American Legion.
Fallen heroes of Clearwater will forever be remembered thanks to a display put on the front of the American Legion as part of a remodel.
The Sons of the American Legion remodeled the front area of the American Legion building in Clearwater this spring.
According to Sons of the American Legion member Walt Patras, the money for the remodel came from the concert they hosted last year.
"We made good money at our concert last year, and we wanted to give back to the town and to the veterans," he said.
He said that honoring the veterans, including the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice, was the inspiration behind the project.
"It's in honor of our vets, especially these 10 guys. Young men who went away and never came home."
Sons' of the American Legion member Kelly Kerkman said that the state of the building was also a factor in their decision.
"The building needed it," he said.
Besides the new siding and brick, the doors were replaced with a donation from the ESU and the sidewalk in front of the building was replaced.
Kerkman also said that if this year's concert yields a good amount for the group, they hope to remodel other buildings downtown .
"We just want to fix Main Street. We are a non-profit. What we get is what we give back."
After qualifying for the National SkillsUSA Conference, four Clearwater-Orchard students are holding a fundraiser to help defray the costs of conference registration, meals and motel rooms.
Travis Rudloff, Andrew Steskal, Liam Odell and Madison Melcher will be selling raffle tickets for a quarter of beef, donated by Koenig Farms. The processing of the beef will be done at Creighton Locker and will be available in mid July.
Tickets are being sold until the final night of the Clearwater Rodeo on June 24. The group will be selling tickets during each night of the rodeo and will hold the drawing during the final performance. Tickets are $5.00 per ticket or 5 for $20.00.
The conference is held in Louisville, KY June 25-29. If anyone is interested in purchasing tickets, they can contact any of the members attending the conference or advisors Bob Evans and Mike Odell.
Jennifer Hickman’s hands were shaking as she rocked back and forth.
“I’m just so nervous. So nervous,” the Clearwater graduate kept repeating.
Dressed in her white cap and gown draped with a red stole, the nerves weren’t courtesy of her high school graduation on Friday night. She was shaking because she was minutes away from meeting her mother.
“This is my big day,” Hickman said with a grin nearly as wide as her mortar board. “We were separated after my accident. I was shaken when I was 21-months-old, so I’ve been with my grandparents since then. They’re here, too, but today I meet my mom.”
Hickman, 18, was raised by her grandparents, Lynette Trease and Richard Trease of Clearwater. Their son, Jeremiah, is her father.
Hickman and her mother, Belinda Goodsel of Junction City, Kan., communicated via text leading up to Friday’s meeting. But they hadn’t been face to face in 17 years.
“The only contact we’ve had has been by text,” Hickman said. “Now it’s in person. I’m so excited. I’m about to meet my mom for the first time.”
About 20 minutes before graduation began, Hickman melted into her mother’s arms for the first time that she can remember. With their arms locked around each other, they embraced for nearly a minute as both beamed.
In the reception line following graduation, Hickman proudly introduced her mom to her friends.
Their meeting was also emotional for her grandparents. Lynette Trease said after the tramatic head injury, Hickman was placed into their custody. Trease said Hickman was not in her mother’s custody when she was shaken.
“Her mom stepped away because we didn’t know what was going to happen. She was a shell and like a newborn baby again,” Trease said.
Trease said there were a lot of issues that kept the family apart all of these year. But, with tears flowing, Trease said she promised that the two would reconnect at graduation. As Hickman and Goodsel embraced for the first time, Trease smiled as she cried.
“I made this promise,” Trease said, wiping away a tear. “Get her to graduation and reunite them. It’s the best thing I could have done.”
Trease admitted she was both afraid and excited for Hickman, but seeing them together made it clear she made the right decision with reuniting them.
It’s been an exciting senior year for Hickman, who was also crowned prom queen in April. Hickman will have little time between high school and college as she starts classes in June to work toward a degree in early childhood education at Northeast Community College.
Fourteen graduates crossed the stage in Clearwater on Friday night as the Class of 2018. The gallery has class photos, diploma presentations, fun photos, tossing the mortar board and lots hugs, smiles and tears.
The ACN is happy to share our photos with you from the day. These are low resolution photos meant for easy sharing online for personal use only. We only ask that you credit the ACN when sharing.
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Clearwater’s 51st Annual Big Rodeo Celebration is set for this weekend.
Friday night will kick off the three-day event with mutton bustin, the queen announcement, rodeo action and a street dance on Main Street.
Even more excitement is planned for Saturday, including sand volleyball, a cornhole tournament, inflatables, mutton bustin, rodeo action and a concert on Main Street. The James Lee Band will open for the headliner, Dylan Scott, who is well-known for his country hits, “Hooked” and “My Girl.”
The weekend will culminate with more rodeo action on Sunday night in the Gene Snodgrass Arena.
Rodeo weekend activities:
Friday, June 22
7 p.m. - Mutton Bustin
7:30 p.m. - Rodeo at Gene Snodgrass Arena
9 p.m.-1 a.m. - Street Dance, featuring “James Lee Band” on Main Street
Saturday, June 23
8 a.m. - Sand Volleyball and Corn Hole Tournament
10 a.m.-5 p.m. - Free inflatables for all ages, sponsored by Schlect Trucking and Snake Creek Trucking
6 p.m. - Mutton Bustin
6:30 p.m. - Rodeo at Gene Snodgrass Arena
9 p.m.-1 a.m. - Concert on Main Street
9 p.m. - James Lee Band
10 p.m. - Dylan Scott
Sunday, June 24
7 p.m. - Mutton Bustin
7:30 p.m. - Rodeo at Gene Snodgrass Arena
Tickets available at Clearwater Feed & Grain, Clearwater Market, HiWay Mart, The Tilden Bank - Clearwater, L-Bar-B in Clearwater; Neligh News and Leader, Hilltop Drug, Etc., Wanek's and Thriftway Market in Neligh; JB's in Tilden; US 92 and 106 Kix in Norfolk and KBRX in O'Neill.
Student’s School: Clearwater High School
Parents Names: Frank and Christina Kopejtka
Siblings Names/Ages: Michael, 27; Harley, 25; Brianna, 21; Katelyn, 17
Birth Date: 12/22/1998
What is your favorite memory of high school? Going to Towers
What advice can you offer underclassmen? No matter what you are dealt with in life, reach for the stars.
What are your future plans (college with major if known or workforce) and where do you hope to be in five years? I'm not sure, just taking life one day at a time.
Clearwater and Orchard students are taking on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. as part of the Close Up program.
On Wednesday, the students met with Congressman Adrian Smith and senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer. The students visited the Nebraska Breakfast as part of the Close Up program.
"I'm thankful that these students were up early to join us at the Nebraska Breakfast," said Sasse. "Hopefully their firsthand look at Capitol Hill proves to be a valuable experience."
The Wednesday morning Nebraska Breakfast began after U.S. Senator Hugh Butler initiated a weekly informal meeting of the Nebraska delegation to discuss legislation in 1943. Members of the delegation began inviting guests, and soon a tradition was born. The Nebraska Breakfast is the oldest ongoing gathering of its kind on Capitol Hill. All Nebraskans visiting Washington D.C. and their guests are invited to attend and visit with their Congressional delegation.
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