Tour

Overview
SMM rainbow 623x844-croppedSt. Margaret Mary Parish (SMM) was founded in 1919, however the church you see today was not built until 1941. The church and grounds were designed by Fr. Suneg. Every component of the campus reflects his dreams, detailed planning and physical labor of love.  
SMM facilities sit on approximately 6.5 acres.  The church is constructed of Indiana limestone and oak.  It holds 850 people.  Sunday attendance averages 2500.   The parish has 4500 members and over 1500 families.
History
During the summer of 1919, Reverend Leo Patrick was commissioned by the Archbishop to establish a parish in the Dundee area, a former village annexed by the city of Omaha.  Fr. looked into a suitable place to hold services and chose a public dance hall, located in a cluster of businesses and shops at 50th & Underwood. It was there he said the first parish Mass on Sunday, September 7, 1919. In June 1920 he purchased a house and a lot at 5002 California Street. Services were held in the downstairs of the house, while Father Patrick lived upstairs. As the congregation grew, plans were made to establish a school.   In September 1921, two Sisters of Mercy began teaching grades one through four in two rooms on the first floor of the parish house.   A few months later, ground was broken adjacent to the house for a combination church and school.  When school began the following September there were 75-80 children in kindergarten through 8th grade.    In June 1923, Father Joseph Suneg was appointed to St. Margaret Mary Church.  The parish continued to grow. and by 1926, and it became evident that the little church and school would soon be inadequate. When 6.5 acres became available at 61st & Dodge, Fr. Suneg saw it as the site of a beautiful new church.  Over the next several decades his dream became a reality.
Choir LoftSMM stained glass window in choir loft-cropped
The choir loft, at the back of the church, houses the organ.  When the church was first built there was not enough money to purchase a large organ.  For many years a very small temporary instrument occupied one room in this area.  In 1990 after the original organ failed, an new Miller Organ was purchased and installed.  The organ has 21 pipes, including 8 from the original.   The beautiful windows in the choir loft  portray St. Margaret Mary as central, with St. Ambrose and St. Jerome at her sides. The twelve apostles are represented in smaller cameos.
Nave (main seating area)Large crucifix
The walls in the main body are unique because Fr. Suneg textured them with a burlap sack to give them a wavy appearance thus creating a softer, warmer atmosphere. All of the lighting in the church has yellowed glass installed to simulate candlelight.  The large hanging crucifixion scene is made of walnut.  
Sacraments stained glass windowsThe windows in this area of the church illustrate the seven sacraments. On the west side of the church: Eucharist, Confirmation, and  Baptism. On  the east side of the church: Anointing of the Sick, and  Reconciliation.  Matrimony and Holy Orders are located in the Chapel. Saints stained glass windowsThe transept windows illustrate the fathers of the church. Their names appear in each window.  There are two reconciliation rooms in the transepts. To each side of the transepts, are devotional areas dedicated to St. Mary and St. Joseph. The Stations of the Cross were carved in oak. The twelfth station is an Italian masterpiece, the First Place winner in stiff Italian competition. Fr. Suneg waited many years to obtain this work of art. It was his favorite purchase for the church.
Sanctuary (the area around the altar)
The sanctuary was constructed to conform to the style of the service in 1940, so the high altar was the main focus of attention. With the new rite, the oak altar, carved by Fr. Suneg, is the center of our Eucharistic celebration, and is built so the celebrant can face the people.SMM Tablernacle-colorThe Tabernacle shows the face of Christ. It is the place where the ancient tradition of reserving the Eucharistic bread is kept.   Suneg CrucifixAbove the altar is a crucifixion scene carved by Fr. Suneg .  It is considered his greatest artistic achievement. 
The four figures on each side of the crucifix represent the authors of the Gospels. St. Matthew is shown as a man, because he showed us the human nature of Christ. St. Mark is shown as a Lion, for he revealed to us the royal dignity of Christ. St. Luke is shown as an Ox, for his Gospels show the sacrificial aspects of Christ’s life. St. John is shown as an Eagle, for his ability to pierce further into the mysteries of heaven more than any other man.   The statuary in the sanctuary was designed and carved in Italy by Rambusch of New York. St. Margaret Mary, St. Ignatius Loyola, and St. Bernadette are on the west side.  St. Francis, St. John Berchmans, and St. Anthony on the east side.
The twelve windows in the sanctuary illustrate the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit which are suggested by the 12 stars often indicated in our Lady’s halo: 1. The flaming heart for love, 2. Birds on the wing for joy, 3. The olive branch for peace, 4. The ox for patience, 5. The lamb for gentleness, 6. The crown for generosity, 7. The martyr’s palms for kindness, 8. The dove for goodness, 9. The chalice and cross for faithfulness, 10. The violet for modesty, 11. The pitcher of water for self-control, 12. The lily for chastity
Rose window
The Rose Window is dedicated to Mary, The Queen of Angels. Mary is the central figure, with angels surrounding her, as well as an Ivory Tower and the Gate of Heaven. Connick Studios of Boston constructed all the windows.   prophet muralThe mural surrounding the window was painted by Sirio Tonelli, but is not considered an original work of art, for it is a copy of another work, “The Prophets” by John Singer Sargent.  The floor in the sanctuary is hand-made Namadji tile.
The ChapelOur Lady of PeaceThis space is dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of Peace.   The room, as well as the tower above it were not part of the original building, but were added in the 1960’s. On Sundays, and other service times, the Chapel provides a refuge for parents and restless children. Daily, it serves as a devotional space, and a place for small group prayer.    All of the artwork in the chapel came from the personal collection of Fr. Suneg. The glass tile behind the Statue of Mary is also his work.  Above the chapel are five bells that were cast in Holland. The largest weighs 6,500 pounds, and the smallest nearly 2,000 pounds. The bells were installed in 1965.
The GroundsThe front Prayer Garden near the chapel is dedicated to St. Francis and uses the old gates of the baptistery as the backdrop for this devotional statue. The statue of St. Margaret Mary was purchased by the Guild and placed in the garden in 1998.   St.Francis silhouetteThe statue of St. Francis that overlooks the grounds near the front drive was sculpted by Arturo Tomagnini. It won the grand prize Gold Medal at the Fine Arts Exhibition of Turin in 1927. This is the original statue and sits on a 50-ton granite boulder.   Tucked away northwest of the church and overlooking the school grounds, is the Prayer Garden.  It was dedicated in August 1998, and the Stations of the Cross sculptures were added several years later.  The artist, Charles Ewing, is an accomplished  painter and sculptor specializing in wildlife, nature and people.   The front doors of the church are plated in copper panels to protect them from the harsh weather of Nebraska.  Fr. Suneg carved the design on the entry.In 1957 Fr. Suneg received the tile of Monsignor.   Every  portion of the parish speaks of his dedication and labor of love.  We feel truly blessed that is assignment lasted for forty-six years —all of his active priestly years.