Archdiocese Local Schools

A divine evening

St. Lawrence Center’s 16th annual wine fest a success


by Jill Ragar Esfeld

LAWRENCE — If Jesus had attended this year’s annual Divine Wine Fest benefiting St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center here, there would have been no need for a miracle.

The best wines were available throughout the evening, flowing as freely as the conversation, camaraderie and generosity of guests.

The crowd was as eclectic as the international assortment of wines provided by Glazer’s Midwest of Kansas City. Vintage alumni, young graduates, and lay and religious patrons came together to take part in the tasting, share an excellent dinner, and support the mission of this important Catholic center.

The event was the 16th for St. Lawrence, but the first to be organized by new assistant director of annual giving, Grace DelNero.

Father Steve Beseau, chaplain and director of the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, said DelNero deserved every bit of credit she’s been receiving for the successful event.

“Grace and the entire staff did a great job,” he said. “It was a great chance for the many different constituents of the St. Lawrence Center to come together in a night of fun and friendship.”

In all, 250 wine enthusiasts came together to support the center and acknowledge its guest of honor, Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher — this year’s recipient of the St. Lawrence Award for Witness to the Faith and Service to the Church of Jesus Christ.

Father Beseau presented the award, acknowledging the archbishop as a most deserving recipient.

“The St. Lawrence Award is really to honor someone who has offered service to the church and a witness to Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith — in light of St. Lawrence who was a deacon, which means servant, and a martyr, which means witness,” he said.

In accepting the award, the archbishop recognized the important role St. Lawrence center plays in the faith and future of Kansas University students.

DelNero estimated the center raised more than $50,000 at the wine fest, $30,000 of which will go to fund this year’s trip to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The center hopes to help sponsor 100 university students.

Father Beseau was pleased with the funds raised, but even more pleased with the number of people who gathered to celebrate the mission of St. Lawrence Center.

“I think the impact St. Lawrence has on the larger church in the world is one of the best kept secrets in the church,” he said. “The wine fest has been one of our biggest events for gathering the community together and offering us a chance to share the mission.

“Really the future of the church comes through places like the University of Kansas and St. Lawrence,” he added.


About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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