Comedy & Cuisine
A Benefit for Saint Cecilia
Cathedral Grade School
This year we celebrate being Better Together.
Our main event will be April 17, 2021. We invite you to show your appreciation for the proud tradition and the mission for educational excellence at Saint Cecilia Cathedral Grade School in Omaha by participating in our event activities.Donate here
Have you ever had the feeling that the Lord was leading you into something, but you just didn’t know what? We had that distinct feeling in the mid-1980’s as our young family was growing, and we were looking for a place where we could find a home in the hopes that our faith would blossom. Our first inkling came after a Mass at Saint Cecilia, as we were getting ready to leave the pew. I looked up as I heard a voice say, “You are new here, aren’t you?” The lady sitting next to us introduced herself as Kathy Dietsch. It was our first introduction to anyone in the parish, although we had been attending for some time.
Our second calling was in 1990 when the house at 903 Mercer Blvd was for sale, and we were expecting our fourth baby. The house was bathed under the light of the magnificent Cathedral towers, visible for miles across Omaha. Our young children had just started school, and we knew this would be a wonderful place to raise a family, so close to church and school. With two more children yet to come, we were nestled right into the center of all the activity that Saint Cecilia had to offer. It didn’t take long before we were fully engaged with the community, and there was no end in sight to the opportunities we had to make new friends and build our parish family.
What we found at both the school and the parish was a never-ending number of souls who wanted to get to know us - both as friends, and as brothers and sisters in Christ. We jumped feet first into any activity we could find that would draw us closer, from a spirited evening at Mama’s Pizza to an intellectual discussion about our relationship with Jesus. We quickly found both. We immersed ourselves, becoming EMHCs, assistants in RCIA, Home and School presidents, room parents, CathedralFest chairs, Parish Pastoral Council members, and leaders of the Seeking Truth Bible Study. We initiated the Be an Angel Christmas giving program, and always said “yes” to any tasks that the Lord put in our path.
As we became integrated into the parish, our lives were filled with the Saint Cecilia family names (far too many to share) that quickly became part of our vocabulary, and the people who became part of our family. Those are the souls God had wanted us to know when we first arrived, as He knew the challenges we would face in the coming years. Our first hug back was back in 1985; those hugs continue today. We owe much of who we are and who are children have become to the formation we received here at Saint Cecilia Cathedral.
The roots of the Joni and Ed Fogarty family run deep within the Omaha and Saint Cecilia communities. Ed and Joni have served the parish and community in many ways. Joni graduated from Saint Cecilia Grade School and Cathedral High School, and she and Ed were married here. They raised six children, all of whom attended Saint Cecilia Grade School.
Ed, an Omaha attorney, has been on Parish Council, coached little league, supported Cathedral Arts Project, and supported historic preservation in Omaha by drafting Omaha’s Historic Preservation Ordinance.
Joni, founder and first President of the Saint Cecilia Women’s Guild, chaired both the 1997 and 2007 Cornerstone Parade celebrations. She has served as board member, chair and president of many civic, arts, and historic preservation boards, including Cathedral Arts Project. Joni is a published author, lecturer, and historical consultant. Most recently she served on the committee to elect Cathedral architect, Thomas Kimball, to the Nebraska Hall of Fame, and authored the book Thomas Kimball: Nebraska Architect.
Jim and Erica Bush
Erica and Jim Bush have been members of the Saint Cecilia parish since 2013. They have a daughter, Audrey, who is currently in 7th grade at Saint Cecilia School. Audrey is involved in soccer, basketball, and volleyball. She plans on pursuing track and cross country in the spring.
Erica is a School Social Worker at Fontenelle Elementary and holds Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Creighton University and Master of Social Work degree from University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is involved with volunteering at Saint Cecilia through St. Mary’s Circle and is the assistant soccer coach for the Cardinal’s U14 girls’ soccer team.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Kansas University and is accredited in public relations (APR) through the Universal Accreditation Board and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He has been a member of the PRSA Nebraska Chapter since 2003. He is head soccer coach for the U14 girls’ soccer team. Both Jim and Erica have coached soccer at Saint Cecilia since 2014.
“Being co-chairs for the 2021 Comedy and Cuisine – Better Together event provides us a chance to give back to Saint Cecilia in a way that will support students and the parish for years to come,” said the Bushes. They thank all volunteers and donors for their support of this annual event, which helps shape the future of the parish and the students it serves.
Brad and Amanda Perry
Amanda (Stoffel) Perry has been part of the Saint Cecilia Cathedral community since 1987, where she started attending 5th grade and graduating from the grade school in 1992. She continued her education at the high school where she attended until the close of it in 1994. Amanda participated in volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and soccer while at Cathedral High School. Amanda worked as a receptionist at the rectory from 8th grade until her sophomore year in high school.
Amanda has lived most of her life in the Cathedral neighborhood since moving to the area with her family in 1987, then purchasing a house in the area after graduating from college.
Brad joined the parish when he and Amanda were married at the Cathedral in 2011. They have one child, Henry, who attends Pre-K at the grade school. Henry was baptized at the Cathedral in 2015. Henry stays busy hanging out with his many cousins who attend St. Cecilia’s and playing micro-soccer.
Brad works for the Scoular Company in Omaha as a project manager. Brad enjoys building things around the house, golfing, and watching the Huskers play. Amanda is an instructional facilitator at the Omaha Public Schools. Amanda enjoys running, golfing and working on house projects. As a family they enjoy traveling to places like Leech Lake Minnesota and visiting Brad’s family in Hastings, Nebraska. Amanda and Brad are so happy to be a part of the Cathedral community and creating relationships with families through activities at school.
Amanda and Brad are thankful for the opportunity to be co-chairing an event that gives so much back to St. Cecilia’s. Together we are better.
Tri and Tami Tran
The Trans joined the Saint Cecilia parish in 2015. They have 3 children who attend Saint Cecilia School. Drew is an 8th grader, Liz is a 7th grader, and Catie is in the 5th grade.
Tri is a physician at Methodist Jennie Edmundson in Council Bluffs. He is a graduate of St. Bernard’s school & Creighton Prep high school. He went to Creighton University for undergraduate school followed by UNMC for his medical training & residency. He has been at Jennie Ed for 20 years.
Tami holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from College of Saint Mary. She has worked at several different medical facilities. Her last position was at the Children’s Physicians-Dundee clinic. Currently, she is a stay at home mom. She has volunteered at the school in different ways over the past several years.
As a family the Trans enjoy golfing and traveling. Dismal River in Mullen, NE is a favorite spot to visit.
The Trans are incredibly honored to have been asked to be co-chairs for this event that has such a rich history in the St. Cecilia community. We truly are Better Together.
What is Comedy & Cuisine?
Comedy & Cuisine is the annual spring fund raiser for Saint Cecilia Cathedral Grade School.
Inaugurated in 1997, this evening of gourmet food, silent/live auctions, entertainment, and socializing brings together school parents, parishioners, alumni, and friends of our parish school.
Hundreds of volunteers serve in a wide assortment of roles in a process that requires months of preparation.
This annual event has become an integral funding source for our school and its tradition of excellence in education, in community and in spiritual formation - a tradition that has become a hallmark of our school in Omaha since 1907.
Why Do We Need Comedy & Cuisine?
Saint Cecilia Grade School is a vital part of Saint Cecilia Parish and the Saint Cecilia Community. It is funded through four primary sources: Parish Support, Tuition and Fees, Endowment Support, and Comedy & Cuisine. Without each of these resources, Saint Cecilia School would not exist. Comedy & Cuisine is a necessary and critical element in the school’s support system. Its donors, patrons, underwriters, advertisers, and bidders serve as the capstone to this support system.
Donations to Comedy & Cuisine continue to build our ministry to educate our children, prepare them to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, and fulfill our mission:
+ To teach and live the Catholic faith within a nurturing family-like community.
+ Teach reverence for life and respect for all.
+ Foster each student's academic potential.
What Has the Event Help Fund?
Improvements, Construction, or Renovation:
Gymnasium and Stage
School Cafeteria and Kitchen
Library and Reception Area
Science Lab and Equipment
Fire Safety Equipment and Systems
St. Bernadette Hall Furniture
Computers and Technology
STEAM Lab & Media Center.
Enhancements to Educational Services:
Full Time Art Faculty
Part Time Resource Faculty
Continuing Education Fund for Faculty
Music and Drama Program
Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance.
How Can We Help?
Advertising Committee (contact advertisers, acquire graphics, proofing)
Underwriting/Sponsorship Committee (contact donors)
Silent Auction Committee (acquisition, storage, data input, setup/display, wrap/release)
Attendance/Seating Committee (invitations, RSVPs, seating assignment, registration)
Programming Committee (emcee, auctioneer, program script, entertainment, audio visual)
Decorations Committee (patron event(s), tables, other)
Day After Event Clean-up Committee
8th Grade Volunteer Coordinator
Class Art Project Coordinator
Gauntlet (acquisition, operation, and prize distribution): Baubles and Bubbles; Grains & Gadgets; Gift Cards; Wine Pull; Golden Ticket; Heads or Tails
What Activities Will Be Included?
Purchase of Wine
Purchase of Gift Cards
Alumni Class Gifts
Get your classmates together and come up with a fun class gift idea for a great live auction item or some silent auction items.
Let's start a new tradition with this. Which classes can come up with the best ones?!?!
All donations are tax deductible.
The dedication, generosity and hard work over the years of the annual event has raised over $2 million in support of our nationally recognized, award-winning school.
1998 Mike and Anne McGuire
1998 John and Joyce Passarelli
1999 Mark and Lori Winkler
2000 Rod and Mary Jewell
2001 Albert Macchietto and Michaela White
2002 Joe and Molly Lang
2003 Bill and Julie Erickson
2003 Alan and Denise Nunn
2004 John and Mary Beth Lindsay
2004 Alan Thelen and Sandy Maass Thelen
2005 Lee and Ellen Ehlers
2005 Brad and Cassandra Poeckes
2006 Matt and Sheryl Fitzgerald
2006 Fred and Ellie Grossman
2007 Brian and Jana Donahoe
2007 Tony and Laura Romero
2008 Tom and Kelly Hickey
2008 Ron and Robin Woita
2009 Mike and Martha O'Connor
2009 Rus and Marci Biven
2010 Michael and Kimberly Joyce
2010 Mike and Julie Swartz
2011 Christopher Burbach and Judith Nygren
2011 Brian and Lyn Rhoten
2012 Chip and Pam Maxwell
2012 David and Noelia Weber
2013 Jim and Tricia Elliston
2013 Frank Zitek and Shannon Sullivan-Zitek
2014 Jerry and Mary Lynne Bushman
2014 Tim and Pam Lammers
2015 Jim Dowse and Margie Gazinski
2015 Tim and Magan Smith
2016 Matt and Christi Schill
2016 John and Teresa Ryan
2017 Tom and Elizabeth McGuire
2017 Dan and Molly Haske
2018 Drew and Crystal Gerken
2018 Jay and Christine Koehn
2019 John-Paul and Lizzie Lehn
2019 Mike and Katie Schill
2020 Ryan and Erin Hagedorn
2020 Christopher and Remy Kaslon