Annual dinner at St. Columba has raised $55,000 for seminarians
By BOBBIE GENOVESE
For The Catholic Week
DOTHAN — In 2010, the Knights of Columbus Council 6727 at St. Columba Parish in Dothan held their first Seminarian Dinner as a way to honor the young men studying for the priesthood from the Archdiocese of Mobile and to help them financially. Since that first dinner, the Knights have given a total of $55,000 to the seminarian cause.
The event has grown into a full weekend dubbed “Seminarian Palooza Weekend.”
It began Friday, July 13 with the annual dinner. More than 200 parishioners bought tickets that funded the event and enjoyed a gourmet dinner in O’Hara Hall to celebrate the archdiocese’s 17 seminarians.
Twelve of the seminarians stayed with local parishioners who volunteered their homes to lodge them for the weekend.
Bill Clements, deputy Grand Knight, acted as master of ceremonies for the dinner activities. Msgr. Patrick Gallagher, pastor of St. Columba, gave the invocation and Pat Arensberg was the keynote speaker.
Guests included Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Vocations Director Fr. Victor Ingalls, several archdiocesan priests, as well as St. Columba’s Parochial Vicar Rev. Jose Paillacho, Pastoral Associate Sr. Miriam Fiduccia, MSBT and Permanent Deacons Steve Sykes and Joe Mueller.
Bernardo DeFaria, Don Gardino and Jay Meyers planned and prepared a dinner of citrus green salad, prime rib of beef with horseradish sauce, shrimp skewers, fire roasted corn, fingerling potatoes and a selection of desserts, all served by the St. Columba Parish youth group. Parishioner Ed LaCour provided a medley of piano stylings.
Following the meal, the seminarians were introduced and asked to relate an interesting fact about themselves, which resulted in some humorous stories and much laughter.
Three senior seminarians then described their discernment and path to their vocations. To offset the cost of the men’s education, Grand Knight Al Griggs then presented a check to each of the young men and a check for $1,500 to Archbishop Rodi.
On Saturday, the visiting young men engaged the parish youth in a grounds cleanup and gamesmanship before serving at the evening Mass. The weekend events ended with a bilingual 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.