Archdiocese Local

New Praise & Graze event honors those who make CYO a success

Ben Tourtillott, a sixth grader at Corpus Christi School in Lawrence, attempts a reverse layup in a Catholic Youth Organization game against St. Joseph School, Shawnee. Several people, including priests, parish sports directors, coaches and parents will be honored at the first Praise & Graze celebration March 26 at the Church of the Nativity School gym in Leawood. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When you’ve got something great, you ought to celebrate.

And that’s exactly what the Catholic Youth Organization of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties is doing for its first Praise & Graze celebration from 7 – 11 p.m. on March 26 at the Church of the Nativity School gym, located at 3800 W. 119th St. in Leawood.

“Our board felt that we should acknowledge several individuals for the roles they play in CYO,” said John Goldrick, executive director. “These include parish priests, our directors of sports ministries at each parish, our volunteer coaches and the parents who enroll their children in our programs.”

To varying degrees, these individuals give their support and countless hours to teaching children sports, sportsmanship and leadership within a Catholic environment.

Up to 7,000 children in third through eighth grades from 23 parishes participate in CYO programs in the archdiocese. They compete in basketball, cross-country, flag football, tackle football, track and field, volleyball and virtual tournament.

Recognition and awards will be given to coaches, officials and other individuals from 7:30 – 8 p.m., followed by music and socializing from 8 – 11 p.m. Beer, wine and heavy appetizers will be served.

Tickets, which are limited, are $20 per person, adults only. Tickets may be purchased online at:

Goldrick and the CYO board are grateful for all in the CYO community who enabled CYO to continue its ministry even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our numbers are very strong,” said Goldrick. “They’ve gotten better each year. Our program is just about the kids participating in sports — learning sportsmanship and leadership in a Catholic environment. That’s what makes our program different from clubs and public leagues.

“We want to acknowledge all those who make our program possible, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and the archdiocese.”

For more information, send an email to:

About the author

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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