We are open for public daily Mass at 8:30 am in church and weekend Masses in the gym - Sat 5:30pm, Sun 9am & Noon. For our guidelines, please click on "Guidelines for Public Liturgies..." below.

Father Val Peter, longtime director of Boys Town, is remembered for his dedication to his vocation


Father Val Peter, of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, who died June 30, was a longtime member of the board of directors of Our Sunday Visitor. For 20 years, he was director of the legendary Boys Town USA in Nebraska.

He was a very special man and a very special priest. May he rest in peace.

He was one of two brothers, both priests in the Omaha archdiocese. From the beginning, they were whiz kids. Father Carl Peter became one of the best known and most highly respected theologians in the United States. His death, when he was in the prime of life, was a great loss to the Church.

Father Val was the younger brother, by a few years, but equally gifted. When Father Val died, he was 85 — an age when most people are ready to fade away and spend their days with their memories. Such was hardly the case with Father Val. He never lost a single grain of his zest for life and eagerness for his vocation as a priest. No day was long enough for him to serve his priesthood.

A bishop, now deceased, who studied with Father Val in the seminary in Rome, said that he could never forget the enthusiasm with which Val Peter approached his vocation. Excitement about being Christ’s disciple, especially in the calling of the priesthood, utterly enveloped him.

After ordination in 1959, Father Val returned to Rome, to graduate school. He had the brains, and the academic record, to be accepted into a doctoral program. The school had an iron-clad rule. A student could pursue only one doctorate at a time, in just one given field of study.

It would not work for Father Val. Life is too short! He had too much to do for the Lord as a priest. He would not, could not, wait, by achieving one doctoral degree before proceeding to seek another.

In a move not surprising to anyone who knew Father Val, he somehow undertook two doctoral programs simultaneously. He passed both courses, and secured both doctorates, with flying colors.

Returning to Omaha, he was a pastor, and he taught. In 1985, he was appointed to head Boys Town.

Boys Town is one of the glories of American Catholicism. In brief, it began when an Irish-born priest in Omaha, Father, later Monsignor, Edward J. Flanagan, working in less advantaged neighborhoods, met many boys on the streets with serious problems and no future. He invented Boys Town not as just a residence — God forbid a reformatory — but as a Christian community filled with hope, security, wisdom and understanding.

Father Flanagan had a motto: “There is no such thing as a bad boy.”

Cherishing the example of Msgr. Flanagan, Father Peter, as Boys Town’s director, oversaw a period of considerable growth as 12 satellite locations around the United States were opened, additional family homes on the Omaha campus were built, and the Boys Town National Hotline to help parents with the challenges of raising children was formed.

Great accomplishments, but Father Val’s greatest contribution was his abiding attention to his Christian, and priestly, vocation. An Omaha archdiocesan official recalled that Father Val began every day by praying at Father Flanagan’s tomb, and he made a point of knowing every single resident of Boys Town by name, the resident’s background, personal circumstances, family details and everything else that made each and every resident an individual, a person, a wonderful child of God.

The official said that Father Val was “Christ for them.”

Father Val lived through storms in the Church. He wholeheartedly embraced the Second Vatican Council because it was of the Church.

His philosophy? Cut away all the bad, now! Get to work! Make everything right. Waste not one moment. We are working for the Lord!

This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Father Val Peter, longtime director of Boys Town, is remembered for his dedication to his vocation

Monday, July 13, 2020
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Father Val Peter, of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, who died June 30, was a longtime member of the board of... Read More

Opening the Word: Seeing with the parables

Friday, July 10, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Today, Our Lord explains why he uses parables in his teaching. The use of parables is not exclusively a way of... Read More

Member of Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission says ‘We must use this opportunity to envision a better future’

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
By: Deborah Castellano Lubov Father Augusto Zampini, the Vatican’s adjunct secretary for its Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human... Read More

Supreme Court rules that states cannot discriminate against religious schools by withholding financial aid

Monday, July 6, 2020
By: Russell Shaw In a 5-4 ruling upholding a Montana program to provide student scholarships for use at religious schools, the Supreme Court also... Read More

Opening the Word: Resting in Jesus to reveal the Father

Friday, July 3, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley “‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son... Read More

Vatican releases new Directory for Catechesis

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
By: Dr. Joseph White The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization today announced the release of the new Directory for Catechesis for... Read More

Supreme Court justices have a history of being unpredictable

Monday, June 29, 2020
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Many were surprised at the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding gender identity and employment. It was one more occasion... Read More

Opening the Word: The prophet speaks

Friday, June 26, 2020
By:Timothy P. O'Malley It is natural to develop affection for those closest to us. We share communion, made possible through a history of mutual... Read More

Black Catholic leaders say more integration in the Church is possible — if all are willing to do the work

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
By: Brian Fraga When the Church was born at Pentecost, about 3,000 people “from every nation under heaven” were baptized,” St.... Read More

How do we stay hopeful in times of crises? By focusing on God

Monday, June 22, 2020
By: Deacon Larry Oney The year 2020 is turning out to be a year like no other in recent memory. As Catholic Christians, it is not difficult for us... Read More