Catholic Charities Dedicates their St. Teresa of Calcutta Campus Chapel to The Reverend Mel Merwald
Omaha, NE - On Thursday, August 25th, Catholic Charities dedicated their new Chapel at the St. Teresa of Calcutta Campus to The Reverend Mel Merwald Chapel. Reverend Mel Merwald (Fr. Mel) served as Executive Director of United Catholic Social Services, known today as Catholic Charities of Omaha, from 1982-1990. Fr. Mel is known and loved by all, he devoted his life to service Christ and people in need. It is for his steadfast faith and his heart for service that he is remembered.
Born in 1945, Fr. Mel grew up in Omaha, graduating from Omaha Creighton Prep. He attended the former St. John Seminary (now called Mount Michael) in Elkhorn and graduated from Conception Seminary College. He received his Theology training at Mount St. Bernard College and Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and his Master of Divinity degree from Creighton University. Ordained in 1971, Father Mel’s first assignment was at St. Thomas More. He went on to serve as pastor at St. Margaret Mary for 12 years, served at St. Bernard, St. James, St. Bonaventure in Columbus, Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, and retired as pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in 2010.
Catholic Charities is also honored to carry on the legacy of Fr. Mel through the annual Fr. Mel Merwald Award that is presented to a client of Catholic Charities who has shown hope, strength, and resilience in their life, comparable of Fr. Mel. “Reverend Merwald truly embodied what Catholic Charities stands for as an organization, serving those most in need with complex issues regardless of their religion,” Dave Vankat, Chief Community Engagement Officer at Catholic Charities.
The Chapel, located at 9223 Bedford Ave. in Omaha, NE, is now home to many of the late Reverend’s religious items that were used throughout his nearly 40 years of service, including his altar, chalice, and bible to name a few. This was made possible through the generosity of the Hoch and Merwald families. Over seventy people attended the dedication including Bishop Emeritus William Dendinger from Grand Island Diocese and Archbishop George Lucas who performed the blessing.