Archdiocese Local

Cowboys and legends turn out for Prairie Star Ranch

by Bob Hart

WILLIAMSBURG — Break out that cowboy attire and get ready for some boot-scootin’ boogie.

On Oct. 10, supporters will gather at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg for a fun-filled evening of food and entertainment that will also serve as a fundraiser. Prairie Star is the 291-acre Catholic youth camp owned and operated by the archdiocese. It is located about 50 miles south of the Kansas City area, on I-35, just past Ottawa. Money raised at the benefit “Legends Show” will go toward the construction of a chapel on the grounds.

“Prairie Star is just an awesome, awesome place,” said benefit organizer Mary Jo Doherty. “It’s one of the most beautiful and spiritual places I’ve ever walked around.”

Doherty’s involvement with Prairie Star came about through other volunteer efforts.

“My husband Phil and I have been the lay couple at Church of the Ascension [in Overland Park] for the Archbishop’s Call to Share, and in our presentations to the parish, we’ve tried to focus on one charity per year,” she said. “Last year, it was Prairie Star Ranch, and we just fell in love with it.”

Doherty’s pastor, Msgr. Tom Tank, was instrumental in the creation and development of the ranch and has long dreamed of building a chapel on the site, she said.

Participants in the October event can expect a great lineup of events:

•4p.m.—Meet at Church of the Ascension and take a bus ride to Williamsburg.

• 5 p.m. — Celebrate Mass with Msgr. Tank on the site where the new chapel will be built.

• 6 p.m. — Enjoy cocktails and dinner provided by PB&J Restaurants.

• 7 p.m. — Experience the live entertainment of Las Vegas entertainers Jerry Presley and his “Legends” revue. Their celebrity impersonators include the likes of Lionel Richie, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Sonny & Cher, Ray Charles and Patsy Cline.

The event is for adults only; tickets are $100 per person. There is a $10 charge to ride the party bus, which will return everyone to Church of the Ascension around 10:30 p.m. Participants may opt to drive themselves if they would prefer.

“We know that in this economy, it’s tough to spare a hundred dollars,” Doherty said. “But we’re hoping those in a position to do so will take part and join us for a great evening, while helping to get the chapel built.”

Doherty said she has set a goal of 100 couples (200 people) attending, which would “easily allow us to turn over $10,000 to the cause. But we won’t limit it to that number. The more, the merrier!”

Although the fundraiser promises plenty of western-themed fun and classic entertainment, its larger purpose should not be forgotten, said Dana Nearmyer, archdiocesan consultant for evangelization and Catholic formation for youth and executive director of Prairie Star Ranch.

“This fundraiser is a great opportunity to support the ongoing ministry of the ranch and deepen the spiritual lives of the students who visit us by providing a beautiful chapel in which they can worship,” Nearmyer said.

For more information or to make reservations for the Legends Show at Prairie Star Ranch on Oct. 10, call Mary Jo Doherty at (913) 685-8313 or (913) 302-9909, or send an e-mail to her at:

Checks may also be mailed to Prairie star Fundraiser, c/o Mary Jo Doherty, 5422 W. 141st terr., Leawood Ks 66224.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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