by Lesle Knop
My mom always said it didn’t matter what you were wearing, as long as you wore a smile.
As the third child of six, hand-medowns were the staple of my wardrobe throughout my growing up years in western Kansas. With an August birthday, I typically received a new school outfit or sweater of my own as a birthday gift and was always eager to wear my new clothes, even if the temperature climbed into the 90s in September.
The fairgrounds in Hutchinson were located about three blocks from our house and I remember a particularly hot Kansas State Fair when, overheated from proudly wearing my new fall sweater and woozy from carnival rides, I took comfort in the air-conditioned food booth of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of our Hutchinson parishes. The bustling, busy “church ladies” made sure I was well before they let me leave their booth, where the aroma of hot Mexican food compounded my temporary condition.
Last weekend, the good people at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee conducted their fundraising auction for St. Joseph School. The Nigro brothers did their usual good job cajoling guests into bidding high on the many donated objects. Father Mike Hawken won a 50-inch plasma television in a game and promptly re-donated it to be auctioned off for an additional $3,000.
My parish, Holy Trinity in Paola, sponsored its annual autumn bazaar on Sunday. I helped with cleanup while Nick Hart and his wife Connie washed dozens of heavy pots and pans that were used to prepare the meal for 768 people, 70 more than the number served last year. The parish deposited more than $10,000 in the bank from its fundraising effort.
These activities are traditions in our parishes, and I hope that everyone supports these causes with as much enthusiasm as any fundraising event: a race or a walk or a charitable gala. These stewardship activities are coordinated by teams of volunteers who donate hours and hours of service to make them happen. Their commitment to their parishes and schools is a demonstration of their compassion and concern for the people served by the parish. The students in the schools, the adults who receive pastoral care and the sacraments — and all of us — benefit from their time and talent.
I will always remember the kindness of the ladies of Our Lady of Guadalupe on that hot September day when I was a child. I will always appreciate the generosity of those who make our parish and school fundraisers successes.
May God bless all the volunteers and the many donors for their love and care for the church in northeast Kansas at this time of Thanksgiving.