News Release: Archdiocese of Omaha mourns death of Rev. Stephen J. Gutgsell

Funeral Arrangements

Sunday December 17, 2023

St. John the Baptist Church, 215 N. 13th St., Fort Calhoun
4:00 p.m.      Visitation
7:00 p.m.    Vigil and Rosary

Monday December 18, 2023
St. Cecilia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St., Omaha

11:15 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial

Burial at Calvary Cemetery (78th and West Center Road) and luncheon to follow. The Mass will be livestreamed here:

Media Contact:Riley JohnsonDirector of Communications
Archdiocese of Omaha

December 11, 2023

The Archdiocese of Omaha continues to mourn the death of the Rev. Stephen J. Gutgsell, who died after being assaulted during a break-in at the St. John the Baptist rectory in Fort Calhoun Sunday.

Father Gutgsell was 65.

“We continue to pray that the Lord of mercy and love will welcome Father Gutgsell into his Heavenly kingdom,” Archbishop of Omaha George J. Lucas said in a statement.  “May Our Blessed Mother intercede for us all as we grieve his death.”

Archbishop George J. Lucas
Archdiocese of Omaha

Stephen Joseph Gutgsell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1958. He graduated from Holy Name High School in Omaha in 1976. Gutgsell studied at the University of St. Thomas and graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in 1980.

He then entered seminary at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Archbishop Daniel Sheehan ordained him to the priesthood at St. Cecilia Cathedral in 1984.

During his 39 years of priestly service, Father Gutgsell served parishes across the archdiocese. He began as an assistant pastor at St. Bernard in Omaha and later served Christ the King in Omaha and St. Patrick in O’Neill before being installed as pastor of St. Boniface in Monterey and St. Anthony in St. Charles in 1992. While there, he also taught at West Point Central Catholic School.

He later led as pastor St. Aloysius in Aloys, then St. Francis in Humphrey and St. Patrick in Omaha. Fr. Gutgsell previously ministered as a chaplain to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Omaha.

Most recently he served as pastoral administrator of St. John the Baptist in Fort Calhoun and assisted at St. Francis Borgia in Blair and St. Patrick in Tekamah.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Following the tragedy, Archbishop Lucas celebrated Sunday Mass with parishioners of St. John the Baptist at nearby St. Francis Borgia parish in Blair and met with them individually afterward.

Law enforcement temporarily closed St. John the Baptist church, but it was reopened later in the day. Parishioners held a prayer service for Father Gutgsell Sunday evening at the church.

Pastoral care for the parish is still being finalized, and details will be shared later in the week.