Rowan first priest from FC since 1963

By Jason Schock

Rev. Mr. Cy Rowan, a transitional deacon and 2005 graduate of FC Sacred Heart High School, will be ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Lincoln in a May 23 ceremony at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln. 

Deacon Cy, son of Bill and Mary Rowanl, of Falls City, is the first to be ordained a priest from Sacred Heart School since Fr. Thomas McGuire in 1981, but the first Falls City native since Fr. Nicholas Baker in 1963. Fr. Baker is officially retired, but still active at St. Joseph Parish in Alma. Fr. McGuire is Resident Priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church and School in Beatrice and is also Assistant Spiritual Advisor for the Lincoln Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

Two more recent FC Sacred Heart graduates – Robert Froeschl and Lane Barnhill – are current seminarians at St. Gregory the Great Seminary at Seward. 

After studying philosophy and political science at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO, Rev. Rowan said he, too, “felt God’s calling in that direction” and headed for St. Gregory the Great. 

“There were times in high school and at Maryville when I thought about it,” the 28-year-old said. “And there were a few times when I thought maybe it’s not the right thing for me to do. But there are going to be bad days with anything you do. I realized it was the only way I was going to have peace in my life – peace with God,” Rev. Rowan said. 

After two years in Seward, he moved to St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, where he spent the past four years. 

“That was a big change, coming from Falls City,” he said. “There are a lot more people in Philadelphia,” he joked. “But overall it was a great experience. 

Rev. Rowan returned to Nebraska last week and upon his ordination will be assigned to serve as an assistant priest and teach at one of the six high schools of the Lincoln Diocese (David City Aquinas, Wahoo Bishop Neumann, Hastings St. Cecilia, Lincoln Pius X, Nebraska City Lourdes Central and, of course, Sacred Heart). Make that five: Rowan said the chances of his assignment being in Falls City are slim to none.

Rev. Rowan’s ordination to priest puts him in the most elite company. Though the Catholic population has nearly doubled the past 45 years to include some 1.2 billion people worldwide, the number of Catholic priests in the United States has dropped some 33 percent, to fewer than 40,000, since 1981. Six or seven Catholic priests are ordained each year per million practicing Catholics. 

“We’re doing OK in the Lincoln Diocese,” Rev. Rowan said, noting there will be eight ordinations on the 23rdfor 95,000 members of the Diocese. 

“But on the east coast, there are seven being ordained for 1 1/2 million people.” 

Rev. Rowan studied with 130 or so seminarians in Philadelphia and is one of 16 graduating this spring.

The ordination will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 23, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, which is located at 3500 Sheridan Blvd., in Lincoln. He will offer a Mass of Thanksgiving at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Falls City at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 24.

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