Here at Charles Borromeo, we host two big events that frame the autumn season. The first is our Saint Charles Parish Fall Friend-raiser, held on Saturday, September 28, beginning with 4:00 Mass; the other is our Borromeo Academy Prayer Luncheon, held on Friday, December 13, beginning with a scholar’s prayer service at 11:30.
The Friend-raiser began three years ago after this faith-community suffered some horrendous losses in parish census, school enrollment, and Mass attendance. During my first month here, I must have met over a hundred people who introduced themselves by saying, “I used to go to Saint Charles.” The reasons they discontinued vary. Our neighborhood, which sprung up in the 1940’s and 50’s, lost appeal for many families that later wanted bigger, newer, fancier homes in outlying regions where daughter-parishes opened. Other former members lost faith in the church or were turned off by the direction that our parish headed. With far more funerals than baptisms or weddings, this one-time bustling parish diminished to a point in which the school was slated to close. We determined that it would be a good idea to invite people back for an annual event in which they could renew ole acquaintances and help us revive the spirit of this once-thriving community by summoning its storied history.
This homecoming event will begin with a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by an Italian feast. We hope to welcome back school alumni, Sisters of Charity from Leavenworth who taught here for over forty years, and parishioners who once lived in our neighborhood or were members of our faith-community. There will be plenty of activities for children including a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, tattoo art, games, snacks and desserts. After a delicious dinner provided by Dominic’s, we will enjoy the eclectic music of popular local band, Cherry Bomb. Though not a fundraiser, we will certainly accept donations to help offset costs for this terrific community-building event. And we are raffling a vintage vehicle: a classic 1965 Ford Thunderbird! It looks beautiful and I understand it moves fast. Raffle tickets are only $10 and can be purchased on-line at our parish website or by contacting the church office. Proceeds from the classic car raffle will go toward sponsoring scholars at Borromeo Academy. I hope you can join us on the evening of September 28 for the party!
On Friday, December 13, we will, similarly, host our third annual Borromeo Prayer Breakfast, only this time it will be a luncheon. I am immensely grateful to those many residents of Jackson and Johnson Counties who made the long drive, combating morning traffic, before sunrise to be here the past two years as we got this big fundraiser underway. As a result of your input, we are moving from early morning to mid-day, beginning with an 11:30 prayer service. During lunch that follows, Borromeo Academy students will offer presentations, Father Tom Curran, S. J., President of Rockhurst University, will speak about the state of Catholic education today, and our principal, Ann Lachowitzer, will give an update on the positive developments that have taken place here during the past year. It is our intention to raise endowment scholarship money for the increasing number of families that wish to receive a Catholic education but who struggle to feed, clothe, and house their children. Though I realize some do not agree with me, I believe it is the primary task of the Catholic Church to pass along the faith to those who follow us and I believe that there is no better way to do so than through our schools. Borromeo Academy is one of the best. I have well-founded hope that it will make a tremendously positive impact upon future generations. Please mark your calendars for this December gathering.