Comedy & Cuisine 2023

A Benefit for Saint Cecilia
Cathedral Grade School

Our main event will be April 15, 2023

We are excited for you to participate in this event. Your support is greatly appreciated. Our event chairs and committees have put in countless hours to pull together high-quality items for you to bid on and win. Please patronize our event sponsors. Without their partnership and support this event could not happen.

Donate & Buy Tickets & Bid Online

Our School

Welcome to St. Cecilia Cathedral Grade School, an award-winning Catholic school in Omaha, Nebraska. Founded in 1907, St. Cecilia School educates a diverse population of children in PreKindergarten through 8th Grade. St. Cecilia School is committed to fostering a Christian learning environment and proclaiming and modeling faith, worship, service and prayer.

St. Cecilia's academic strength is built on strong parent involvement and a dedicated faculty that averages 18 years of experience. Our goal is to work with parents to provide their children an education of the highest quality and to build a strong foundation for success in high school and beyond.

St. Cecilia is a one-to-one school. Weekly technology classes are offered for all students (grades PreK – 8). We incorporate the use of technology to enhance and support our curriculum and to allow for personalized learning. All students in grades K – 8 are taught computer programming skills using various programs.

St. Cecilia Cathedral School goes beyond the normal academic curriculum. We feel that it is important to meet the differentiated needs of our students and provide opportunities to explore their interests.

St. Cecilia offers soccer (boys and girls PreK-8th), volleyball (girls 5th-8th), basketball (boys and girls 3rd-8th), and track (boys and girls 6th-8th).

Honorary Chairs

Tony & Laura Romero

Tony and Laura Romero are excited to be honorary chairs for Comedy and Cuisine 2023. They were married at St. John’s Church at Creighton University on July 18, 1992. They joined St. Cecilia Cathedral parish on June 6, 2000. Prior to joining St. Cecilia’s they were parishioners at St. Piux X. Years ago Tony and Laura remember being invited to join the St. Cecilia Cathedral parish by a kind parishioner after mass. Their five children, Steven, Timothy (TJ), Isabel, Joseph and Sarah Grace, attended St. Cecilia Grade School. Over the years the Romeros have celebrated many family events and milestones at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Laura is a medical social worker at Nebraska Medicine and Tony works in medical research at X-Cancer Center, Omaha. Tony and Laura both grew up in the Catholic faith tradition. Laura attended St. Joseph Grade School in Earling, IA and high school in Dunlap, IA. Tony attended St. Anthony’s, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Bernadette grade schools in Denver, CO and Regis Jesuit High School. Tony and Laura both graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. They recognize the importance of sharing faith with their children and others. Tony and Laura have participated in community activities at St. Cecilia over the years. Some of the activities include volunteering with microsoccer, helping as room parents, Lenten soup dinners, Archdiocesan Children’s choir volunteers, Girls Scouts cookie parents, Boy Scouts, Music in Catholic Schools board, Robotics, Activities Booster Club, Knights of Columbus, Cathedralfest Food, Comedy and Cuisine and other activities at St. Cecilia Cathedral. The Romero family journey at St. Cecilia began long ago before they joined Cathedral parish. Laura’s Aunt and Uncle Don and Rita Wall also set an example of involvement with their five daughters, Mary Jo, Rose, Teresa, Patty and Marlene, (Laura’s cousins) all whom attended Cathedral High School. Aunt Rita is a sister to Laura’s dad, Rev. Deacon, Gail Stessman. Uncle Don and Aunt Rita are still active at St. Cecilia’s. Tony and Laura’s oldest son, Steven, married Rachel (Patterson) in 2021. Steven and Rachel Romero are living and working in Omaha. Steven works as an Emergency Medical Technician at Bellevue Medical Center and Rachel works at the Bright Horizons Child Center at First National Bank. The second oldest son Timothy James (TJ) graduated with a degree in business from University of Nebraska Lincoln. He works in Omaha for Bizco in computer technology. Isabel has nearly completed her degree in Art at the University of South Dakota will graduate this May 2023. Joseph is working on his degree in Mechanical Engineering in his third year at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Sarah Grace is a sophomore at Duchesne Academy. Tony and Laura met at Creighton University as college students. Attending mass and participating at St. John’s Church at Creighton was part of their college experience. Laura and Tony always knew they would invest in Catholic education for their children. They invite you to join them in supporting Comedy and Cuisine 2023!

Great Alums

1976 Cathedral High School Girls Basketball Unofficial State Champions

Marjie Ducey, Eileen Halpine, Cecilia Higgins Finley, Judith O. Howard, Karen Eischied Burns, Nancy Soener, Rose Parfitt, Lynn Barry Wurtz, Margie Magnuson

Our achievements were lost in time. Only nine losses in four years. Champions of the Greater Omaha League in 1976. Our roster included seven seniors, including all five starters. Three made the World-Herald’s All-Omaha team (it included Metro Conference players): Rose Smagacz Parfitt and Judy Howard on the first team and Eileen Halpine on the second. Howard was a repeat selection on the All-Nebraska team, and she and Parfitt were repeat Class B all-staters. Although they didn’t make it, both were asked to try out for the 1976 Olympic squad. Private schools made up most of our schedule: Marian, Mercy, Duchesne, Holy Name, Notre Dame, Paul VI and Dominican. They often learned their skills early in Catholic Youth Organization leagues. “I really do have to credit the archdiocese and Catholic schools for creating that opportunity,” Marian star Julie Uryasz said. “My friends coming up in public school certainly had some great teams, but they didn’t have that opportunity that started back in grade school.” Nebraska’s last unofficial state champions merited a medal, but we preferred a place in the record books. (

2023 Co-Chairs

Chris & Danielle Lyons

Chris and Danielle Lyons are excited to co chair Comedy & Cuisine this year! The Lyons family have been involved parishioners at St. Cecilia since 1955, when Chris’ grandparents lived on Burt street. His mother, Cathy Lyons, opened the Kindergarten at St. Cecilia in 1977 and taught in the grade school for 40 years. Chris and his two siblings attended the K-8 school, and Chris also spent a year at Cathedral high school before its closing in 1994. Danielle comes from a large, involved family of 15 in the Holy Ghost and St. Gerald parishes. Her mother taught as a music teacher and worked as the parish liturgist, and her father was a founding member of the Holy Ghost deaconate.

Chris and Danielle met at Gross Catholic High School, and after getting married in 2004 and moving around the country for work, they moved back into the neighborhood on California Street. Chris is a VP of Sales at Valmont Industries, and Danielle is a 7-12th grade math teacher, and substitute teaches at many Catholic Schools around town, including St. Cecilia. They have three children who are all now attending St. Cecilia School.

Charlie is in 8th grade, and is involved in the mass server program, plays basketball, soccer and participates in the Operetta. He is currently enrolled in the St. Cecilia/Duchesne math partnership program, and enjoys living close enough to school to walk to CathedralFest, sports practices, and 7:30 Sunday mass. Sam is in 6th grade and also serves for masses, plays soccer, basketball, runs cross country, and participates in the Operetta. He loves to compete with his St. Cecilia friends academically and on the field. Clare is in 3rd grade, and also plays soccer and basketball for St. Cecilia. She helps Grandma Cathy teach 2nd grade Faith Formation classes when she can, takes classes at The Rose Theater, and makes friends with everyone in the neighborhood.

The Lyons family St. Cecilia roots run deep, and they continue to actively participate and give back to the parish and school. Chris is a soccer and basketball coach, and is one of the basketball co-directors this year. He is active with the school sports club (ABC), and also is a member of the Dad’s Club. Danielle substitutes at school, and is an EMHC at Sunday mass, along with serving as a 3rd grade room parent and is a member of the parish finance council. They are excited for this year’s Comedy and Cuisine fundraiser and hope it is an overwhelming success!

2023 Co-Chairs

Mac McLaughlin & Heather Gomes

Mac McLaughlin and Heather Gomes are excited to co-chair Comedy & Cuisine with two other fabulous couples this year who also happen to live on California Street! Mac and Heather were married at the Cathedral in 2008 and were lucky to be able to move into the neighborhood in 2012 after moving back to Omaha from Boston. Mac is a neurologist at the Nebraska Medical Center and Heather is an otolaryngologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital. They have three children currently attending Saint Cecilia Cathedral grade school.

Julia is in 7th grade and involved in the school choir, Operetta, the Roots & Shoots club, the student SEL committee, is a server at Mass, plays volleyball and soccer and enjoys the academic challenges of Saint Cecilia school. Dominic is in 5th grade, loves school and is involved in the Operetta, soccer, and plays the violin. Blaise is in 3rd grade, is enjoying basketball, plays soccer, football and baseball with his Saint Cecilia buddies, and recently started playing the cello. They have all been blessed with a wonderful education which is certainly due to the amazing teachers and staff.

The entire family has a great time volunteering at and attending Cathedral fest each year. Mac is currently serving on the parish council, is a member of the Dad’s club and volunteers in various capacities for school events. Heather is a Eucharistic minister at the Cathedral, while also serving as a room parent and being involved in the Home and School Association. They are both looking forward to hosting the fabulous event that will be the 25th anniversary Comedy & Cuisine!

2023 Co-Chairs

Tony & Shannon Vaccaro

Tony and Shannon have two boys who attend St. Cecilia Elementary School: Vinny, their third grader who began in Kindergarten, and Mikey, their Pre-K student who is loving being at the same school as his big brother. They are involved in the school not only through Comedy & Cuisine, but in several other ways. Tony has been part of the Activities Booster Club for the past two years and can often be found at the concession stand with the boys throughout the year, in addition to helping out with the many other events hosted by ABC. Tony is a member of the Dad’s Club and has spent time making sure fields are in tip-top shape for Flag Football and Soccer for CathedralFest weekend. This year he has also taken on the role of 3rd Grade Boys Basketball Coach. Shannon has been a micro-soccer coach for the past two years for Mikey’s teams and is also serving as a room parent for the Pre-K room. She has also spent time in Vinny’s classroom assisting room parents in the past and volunteering for the many ABC activities that occur throughout the year.

The Vaccaro family journey at St. Cecilia began long before Tony and Shannon with Tony attending St. Cecilia Elementary School himself, joining in second grade and graduating eighth grade in 1996. Throughout the years his involvement ebbed and flowed with life while his parents have remained actively involved since then. Shannon and Tony were married at St. Cecilia in 2009. They officially joined the parish in 2017 (having belonged to St. Charles Borromeo prior to that), the year in which Mikey was baptized at St. Cecilia. Vinny celebrated his First Reconciliation and First Communion at St. Cecilia as well.

Shannon and Tony are honored to be serving as chairs for the 2023 Comedy & Cuisine fundraiser for St. Cecilia Elementary School. Both thought they would be doing it when the boys were older, but are grateful to have the opportunity this year while there are not as many extra-curricular activities to balance out. It has been a wonderful way to get it know more families in the school and to become closer with the Lyons and McLaughlin/Gomes families, as all three have third grade students this year and live up and down California Street from each other!

What is Comedy & Cuisine?

Comedy and Cuisine is an event to gather as a Saint Cecilia community to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our school and raise funds to support the great work of the faculty and students. This event is an integral part of the support structure of our school.

The cost to educate each student continues to grow and we strive to keep tuition at an affordable level to allow all families that seek a Catholic education to send their children to Saint Cecilia School. Your support of this event is vital to our mission to educate students in a family atmosphere.

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 Activities Will Be Included?

Doors open at 5:00 pm. Cocktails and bidding!

Dining, Sharing, Laughing, Bidding, Buying!
Videos and Presentations of our Honorees
Silent Auction and Top of the Line Live Auction
Musical Entertainment
Lots of fun!

4:30 pm grade school tour

5:00 pm: doors open, bar open
6:00 pm: hors d’oeuvres and music
7:00 pm bidding ends for the silent auction
7:30 pm: dinner
8:00 pm: presentations to the honorees
8:30 pm: live auction
9:30 to 11:00 pm: Diamond Empire band, bar open, chance to visit with other attendees

Entertainment by Diamond Empire Band

High energy live music

We’re live music experts, wedding enthusiasts, and party starters. We’re a premium, customizable 3 to 14 piece band specializing in high-energy music for festivals, weddings, corporate events, and private functions–at a sensible price. We infuse every event with energy and fun and pride ourselves on filling dance floors.

Click on the photo to view their website.

What Has the Event Help Fund?

Improvements, Construction, or Renovation:
Gymnasium and Stage
School Windows
School Cafeteria and Kitchen
Library and Reception Area
Science Lab and Equipment
Classroom Technology
School Restrooms
Athletic Equipment
Robotics Lab
Fire Safety Equipment and Systems
St. Bernadette Hall Furniture
Computers and Technology
STEAM Lab & Media Center.

Enhancements to Educational Services:
Kindergarten Program
Full Time Art Faculty
Part Time Resource Faculty
Continuing Education Fund for Faculty
Music and Drama Program
Faculty Scholarship
Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance
Reading Curriculum.

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. 


Past Chairs

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 Chris and Remý Kaslon
2021 Brad and Amanda Perry
2021 Tri and Tami Tran
2021 Jim and Erica Bush
2022 Eric and Molly Neuman
2022 Joe and Maura Niederee
2022 Trevor and Candice Towey


Honorary Chairs
1999 Joe and Jeanne Barmettler
2000 Bob Matt
2001 John and Michaela Blazek
2002 Mary Lindsay
2003 Bob Soener
2004 Paul and Lori Hogan
2005 Mike and Ann Boyle
2006 Terry and Sue Wilwerding
2007 Larry and Karen Dwyer and Tom Dwyer
2008 Frank and Helen Matthews
2009 Barry & Mary Gerken and Bob & Mary Kay Gerken
2010 Deacon’s Joe Archibald, Dave Gurney, Fred Sommer, Jim Watson
2011 John and Joyce Passarelli
2012 Michael and Mary Beth Barmettler
2013 Tom and Betsy Morrison Family
2014 Tom and Jane Werner
2015 Previous Comedy and Cuisine chairs
2016 Paul and Janet Lehn family
2017 Phil and Emily Sauvageau
2018 Craig and Cathy Lyons
2019 Byron and Linda Stigge
2020 David and Michaela Doyle (event cancelled)
2021 David and Michaela Doyle
2022 Geoff and Lorraine Thiele


2007 Great Teacher: Sister Marie Juan Maney
2007 Great Coach: Roger Higgins
2007 Great Principal: Bonnie Pryor
2008 Great Administrator: Molly Swiercek
2008 Great Teacher: Sr. Marie Patrice O’Donnell, OP
2009 Great Steward: Leo Batenhorst
2009 Great Family: Mitt and Mary Ellen Stoffel
2010 Great Family: Leo Wilwerding
2010 Great Faculty: Saint Cecilia Grade School
2011 Great Teachers: Sr. Marie Patrice O’Donnell, OP and Sr. Mary Duchesne Maxwell, OP
2013 Great Steward: Pete Larson
2013 Great Family Award: Roger and Donna Higgins
2014 Great Stewards: Dorothy and Alice Lammers
2014 Great Family: Lindsay
2015 Great Alum: Herbert Rhodes
2015 Great Teacher: Dorothy Buchan
2016 Great Priest: Reverend Monsignor James Gilg
2016 Great Teacher: Margaret Swanson
2017 Great Alum: Adam Herold
2018 Great Family: Jerry and Patty Maguire
2019 Great Steward: Br. William Woeger, FSC
2019 Great Teacher: Carol Walters
2020 Great Family: Ed and Joni Fogarty (event cancelled)
2021 Great Family: Ed and Joni Fogarty
2022 Great Steward: Robbie Dylla
2022 Great Alum: Drew Gerken