The Pastors of Cathedral

Reverend Daniel Harrington

1899 - 1919 

Born December 21, 1872 in Eyeries, Ireland. Ordained a priest June 24, 1896. After assignments at Jackson (September), Saint Agnes, Omaha (October) and Kearney, Nebraska (November) in 1898, Fr. Harrington was assigned to Saint Cecilia (not yet the cathedral church) in October, 1899. He died in office on February 4, 1919. 

Reverend George Smiskol

1921 - 1925 

Born August 5, 1895 in Chicago. Ordained a priest May 28, 1920. After an assignment as Administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes (Omaha) from September to December, 1921, Fr. Smiskol came to Saint Cecilia (now the cathedral church since 1907) in December, 1921, and served until September, 1925. Subsequent to the Cathedral Fr. Smiskol served as pastor at Saint Charles Borromeo (North Bend) until November 18, 1933 and Our Lady of Lourdes (Omaha) until his death on April 7, 1953. 

Reverend James Aherne

1927 - 1936 

Born July 9, 1867 in Ireland. Ordained a priest May 11, 1890, by Bishop Bonacum of the Diocese of Lincoln at Park Place (the residence and chancery of the bishop of Omaha). Fr. Aheme served as pastor in 5 appointments from 1893 (the last of which was 24 years at Saint Agnes in Omaha) until his appointment as pastor of Saint Cecilia in 1927 where he remained until January 30, 1936. Fr. Aherne was made a Domestic Prelate (Monsignor) two years into his pastorate. He would subsequently serve as chaplain at Saint James Orphanage until 1941 and then Notre Dame Motherhouse into the 1940's. He died December 9, 1955. 

Reverend Edward Hunkeler

1936 - 1945 

Born January 1, 1894, at Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Ordained a priest June 14, 1919. His first assignment was as a pastor in Wynot, NE where he would stay 8 years. Fr. Hunkeler was appointed pastor of the Cathedral on January 30, 1936. He was appointed bishop of the diocese of Grand Island on March 10, 1945 and after that he was installed as the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas. Bishop Hunkeler died October 1, 1970. 

Reverend Ernest Graham

1945 - 1968 

Born May 19, 1901 at Conception, MO. Ordained a priest June 7, 1927 and was assigned to Saint Cecilia Cathedral from June 30, 1927 to April 7, 1936. Fr. Graham was appointed pastor of Saint Cecilia on April 6, 1945. He served until June 13, 1968. Fr. Graham was the first pastor to have previously served the Cathedral as an assistant priest, in the years June 30, 1927 until July 4, 1936 (pastorates of Aherne and Hunkeler). Upon his departure from the Cathedral Msgr. Graham served as pastor at Saint Patrick (Omaha), June 13, 1968 until June 12, 1970. He lived in residence at Saint Pius X (Omaha) from June 12, 1970 until June 14, 1973. He died November 28, 1975.

Reverend Edward Schad

1968 - 1970 

Born June 28, 1921 in Newman Grove, Nebraska. Ordained a priest April 4, 1948. Fr. Shad served his second assignment; as an assistant pastor from August 27, 1949 until May 15, 1954. Spending one year at Catholic University of America seeking a degree in education, Fr. Shad returned to Omaha and the Cathedral for a second tour of duty from September, 1955 until June 21, 1958. After a 6 year term as administrator of Archbishop James H. Ryan High School (Omaha) Fr. Schad was a pastor in rural Nebraska before receiving his appointment as pastor of the Cathedral on June 13, 1968. He served until September 30, 1970. Subsequent to the Cathedral, Fr. Schad served as pastor in four parishes before retiring from active ministry on June 16, 1994. He returned to active ministry. In August, 1994, serving as co-pastor of Saint Richard Parish for one year. He retired to the Priest Retirement Residence, 73rd and Shirley Street. He died October 4, 2001. 

Reverend Paul Peter

1971 - 1983 

Born November 11, 1922 in Omaha. Ordained a priest March 8, 1952 Fr. Peter was assigned to the Cathedral as an assistant from June 21, 1958 to June 15, 1961. Having served as pastor in 4 rural parishes from July, 1961, the last of which was Saint Patrick (Fremont — February 26, 1970) Fr. Peter was appointed pastor of Saint Cecilia on March 30, 1971 and served until June 16, 1983. Subsequent to the Cathedral Fr. Peter served as pastor at Saint Mary's (0maha) from June 16, 1983 to June 17, 1987, Saint Joseph (Lyons) from June 17, 1987 to June 13, 1990 and Saint Adalbert (Omaha) from June 13, 1990 to December 31, 1994 before retiring. He died October 15, 2000 (the Jubilee year). 

Reverend Martin Conley

1983 - 1986 

Born October 24, 1931 in Omaha. Ordained a priest May 11, 1957. Fr. Conley served his first priestly assignment as an assistant pastor at Saint Cecilia Cathedral from June 1, 1957 to January 17 , 1963. Fr. Conley was serving Sacred Heart Parish (Norfolk) from June 17, 1977 at the time that he was appointed pastor of the Cathedral on June 16, 1983 until June 18, 1986. Subsequent to the Cathedral Fr. Conley served as pastor of Holy Ghost Parish (Omaha) from June 18, 1986 to June 18, 1992, and, at Saint Patrick Church (Tekamah), from June 18, 1992 to June 13, 2002, when he retired from active ministry.  

Reverend Vincent Mainelli

1986 - 1995

Born September 25, 1935 in Omaha. Ordained a priest May 25, 1963. Having served as assistant director and then director of the archdiocesan Catholic Charities from June 15, 1967 to June 15, 1978, Fr. Mainelli was named the founding pastor of Saint Leo Parish (Omaha) from June 15, 1978. Fr. Mainelli was appointed pastor of Saint Cecilia June 18, 1986 and served until June 22, 1995. The parish high school closed at the end of the school year 1993-1994. Fr. Mainelli went to Hawaii to consider membership in the Oratory from June 22, 1995 to April 15, 1998. Upon return to the archdiocese he served as senior associate pastor at Christ the King Parish (Omaha) from July 1, 1998 to June 17, 1999 and pastor of Holy Ghost Parish (Omaha) from June 17, 1999 to October 1, 2000. Fr. Mainelli left active ministry and entered a civil marriage in the fall of 2000. 

Reverend Norman Hunke


Born October 4, 1947 in Snyder, Nebraska. Ordained a priest May 26, 1973. Fr. Hunke served as an associate pastor at Saint Cecilia in his third appointment October 13, 1978 to June 14, 1979. Subsequent to two rural pastorates, Laurel/Dixon and Humphrey, Fr. Hunke was appointed pastor of Saint Cecilia on June 22, 1995 until June 16, 2005. He was appointed the founding pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Sarpy County.  

Reverend Michael Gutgsell

2005 - 2017 

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he came to Omaha in 1961 as an eighth grader in Blessed Sacrament Parish on North 30th Street in Omaha. He has five sisters and four brothers. Six years of minor seminary (four years of high school and two years of college) were taken at Saint John Vianney Minor Seminary, which became Mount Michael High School after his departure. The final years of college and four years of theology took place in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fr. Gutgsell was ordained at Saint Cecilia Cathedral on May 25, 1974 with eight other classmates. He served in two parishes and, as part of his second parish assignment, taught full time for four of the seven years at Columbus Scotus Central Catholic High School in Columbus, Nebraska. Two years of Canon Law studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington, resulted in a License in Canon Law and an assignment to the Archdiocese Marriage Tribunal. Fr. Gutgsell served full time in the Tribunal from 1983 until 1994 when he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese by Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss. In 1998, in addition to the duties of Chancellor, Fr. Gutgsell was appointed Moderator of the Curia (Chief of Staff among the Directors of the Archdiocesan departments and agencies). In 2003 Fr. Gutgsell, retaining the position of Moderator of the Curia, was named pastor of Saint John the Baptist parish, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. In 2005 he completed his service at the Chancery. Fr. Michael Gutgsell was appointed pastor of Saint Cecilia parish and rector of Saint Cecilia Cathedral on June 15, 2005. Along with the duties of pastor and rector at the Cathedral, Fr. Gutgsell continued to hold the position of Defender of the Bond for the Second Instance Marriage Tribunal in the Archdiocese. He served as a Judge in the First Instance Marriage Tribunal in the Archdiocese. 

Reverend Michael Grewe

2017 - 2023 

Fr. Michael Grewe became our pastor on July 1, 2017. Fr. Grewe was born in West Point, NE, and attended school in Lyons, NE. His first college years were at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he first gave thought to a priestly vocation. From there he went to the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and later the St. Paul Seminary. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha on June 2, 1979 here at Saint Cecilia Cathedral. His assignments as an associate pastor included St. Joan of Arc Parish, Omaha; Holy Trinity Parish and Cedar Catholic High School in Hartington, NE; St. John Vianney Parish, Omaha; and Holy Cross Parish, Omaha. Fr. Grewe has been pastor at St. Mary Parish, Laurel and St. Anne Parish, Dixon, including campus ministry work at Wayne State; Holy Ghost Parish, Omaha; St. James Parish, Omaha; St. Patrick Parish, Gretna, and now Saint Cecilia Cathedral. Some highlights of those years were building the new church at St. James and building the new Parish Center and Pre-School at St. Patrick’s. At the Archdiocesan level he is the Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries and, since the year 2000, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Omaha. “I am grateful for all the people who have been so supportive of me all these years. I am blessed with a wonderful extended family and with great friendships among our priests - especially with my own priest support group - six of us who meet together every month  for a full day of prayer and mutual support. I am so grateful to Almighty God for the gift of my vocation. It has been the greatest blessing of my life.”