Archdiocese Local Religious life

Union Station event benefits seminarians from both sides of the state line

by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Michael Skoch needed only one word to describe last year’s Support Our Seminarians benefit dinner.

“Outstanding,” said Skoch.

The 27th annual Support Our Seminarians (SOS) event will take place 5:30 – 10 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.

Funds raised at the event help fund vocational development for the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri.

Michael and Ginny Skoch, members of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha, are the parents of archdiocesan seminarian Tim Skoch. 

Although their son is in formation at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, they believe it’s important to support archdiocesan seminarians through the SOS.

And it’s fun, too.

Michael and Ginny Skoch have sent their seven kids to Catholic schools — from kindergarten through high school. Consequently, they are veterans of all sorts of fundraising events for Catholic education.

“[The SOS] is not a new sort of thing for us,” said Michael Skoch. “The setting at Union Station, the kinds of auction items, the witness of the seminarians, and the presence of the archbishop and bishop made it a fantastic evening.”

This year, they’re trying to get as many adult family members as they can for their own “family table” at the event.

This year’s SOS will feature cocktails, a silent auction, a raffle and dinner. Father Edward Looney, a Marian theologian who serves in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, will be the keynote speaker. He is the author of “Our Lady of Good Help: Prayer Book for Pilgrims.”

The “signature items” to be auctioned off are a dinner with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop James Van Johnston Jr., and Lamar and Rita Hunt at the Hunts’ home; two tickets to the Abbot’s Table; two round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines; and a registration to Camp Tekakwitha for summer camp.

Currently, the archdiocese has four seminarians at Conception Seminary College, said Father Dan Morris, archdiocesan vocation director. Many priests who have served archdiocesan parishes over the years have studied at Conception’s pre-theology program.

Like students at secular colleges and universities, seminarians at Conception have to pay for part of their tuition. Unlike their secular counterparts, there aren’t many scholarships available to help the seminarians.

That’s why SOS is so important, said Father Morris. Both the archdiocese and the seminary college use the monies raised at SOS to help  seminarians with their tuition.

A total of $160,000 was raised last year, after expenses. The funds were distributed in equal thirds to Conception Seminary College, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

How to attend

Something new for the SOS event this year is that organizers are making it easier for young adults to attend by discounting their admission to $75.

The regular price for an individual is $175 ($225 per person after Jan. 20). The cost for a table of 10 is $1,750.

For information or to make a reservation, contact:

• Martha Hodes: (913) 207-9893 or at: mmmhsos512@gmail.com
• Jenny Huard: (660) 944-2827, or at: jhuard@conception.edu
• Fran or Linda Van Nieuwenhuyse: (913) 432-8292, or at: franlinvan@gmail.com
• Event website: SupportOurSeminarians.com

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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