by The Leaven
ATCHISON — The annual Benedictine College Scholarship Ball, one of the premier fundraisers in the Kansas City area, will be held this year on the evening of Feb. 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd. The co-chairs of the event are Kevin and Colleen “Cocoa” O’Malley and Lene Westerman.
The ball includes dinner, awards, entertainment and dancing to live music by the Michael Beers Band. More information and reservations are available online here.
Each year, the ball features the presentation of the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict. The college established the award in 1969 as a way to recognize alumni and friends who have supported charitable institutions, provided civic or religious leadership, and demonstrated professional excellence.
This year, the prestigious award goes to the Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas. The award recognizes his role as the shepherd of the Catholic Church in northeastern Kansas where he oversees 125 parishes and 40 Catholic schools in 21 counties.
The archbishop grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Cardinal Glennon College. After serving as a deacon in Florissant, Missouri, and completing his theological studies at Kenrick Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1975.
He was assigned to several parishes in the St. Louis area over the years and became the coordinator of the pro-life committee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1984. He was named pastor of Ascension Parish in Normandy, Missouri, in 1989.
In 1994, he became vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and, after three years, was appointed auxiliary bishop of St. Louis/titular bishop of Caput Cilla by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas in 2004 before becoming archbishop in 2005.
Archbishop Naumann is very active within the church on issues of marriage and life. He serves as chairman of the Kansas Catholic Conference and is a member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family Life. In 2018, he was chosen by his brother bishops to lead the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The pro-life cause has long been of importance to Archbishop Naumann. While serving as archdiocesan pro-life coordinator in St. Louis, the archdiocese established a Project Rachel ministry for women recovering from abortion, as well as the Lifeline Coalition. He was a founding board member of the Vitae Foundation, which promotes effective pro-life messaging. He is also a regular participant in the annual March for Life in Washington, supports a variety of pro-life organizations and regularly participates in pro-life rosaries in front of abortion clinics.
“The pro-life issue has been, and remains, one of the paramount moral issues that the church tries to give some guidance on to our own people, as well as society at large,” he told the Catholic World Report in 2017.
To make your reservation for the annual Benedictine College Scholarship Ball, click here.