Archdiocese Local

Ooh la-la! SOS goes French? Oui!

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There’s a very good reason why Jodie Stockwell agreed to be co-chairperson for the 2010 Support Our Seminarians dinner and auction.

She loves the church.

“I love our church and I know that it is imperative for the future of the church that we have good priests,” said Stockwell, a member of Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood.

“And the only way we will have good priests is to offer [young men] an excellent education and time to pursue a life of prayer and formation,” she continued. “These things can’t be rushed. And there is no way to put a price tag on it.”

The 17th annual Support Our Seminarians dinner and auction will be held Jan. 29 at the Marriott Allis Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. It will start off with cocktails and a marketplace at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and the live auction at 8 p.m.

The event co-chairs with Stockwell are Tim and Katy Forrest, also members of Curé of Ars. The co-chairs have been assisted by a 25-member steering committee.

Funds raised by SOS are distributed equally among the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo.

Each entity uses SOS funds for ongoing seminarian formation and support. This support includes tuition and textbook assistance, upgrades to academic programs, or improvement of physical spaces — such as a library or chapel.

This year’s SOS is dedicated to the secondary patron of the archdiocese and a model for the priesthood: St. John Vianney, also known as the Curé of Ars.

“We’ve taken our nod from the pope, who not only dedicated this year as the Year of the Priest, but also named St. John Vianney as the priest for all priests of the world,” said Stockwell.

Since this humble priest was French, the SOS organizers settled on a French theme for the event. The “Eiffel Tower” in lights will feature, at its base, a marketplace, where auction items will be displayed.

“There will be music and an ‘artist in residence’ (Mike Debus from St. James Academy in Lenexa) to begin the live auction,” said Stockwell. “A fabulous dinner has been chosen, served with fine choice wines. Seminarians will be there to meet and greet, and to get to know the people they’re preparing to serve with their lives.”

Stockwell hopes that, despite the past year’s economic travails, this auction will surpass last year’s event. SOS 2009 was attended by approximately 750 people and raised more than $150,000.

Tickets to attend SOS are still available, with 10-place table sponsorships ranging from $10,000 for “Angels” to $1,500 for “Saints.” Individual tickets are $150, or $175 after Jan. 20. Donations will be gladly accepted from those who are unable to attend.

For tickets, contact Martha Hodes at (913) 649-9013, or via e-mail at:

It’s not too late to donate auction items, either. To donate, call Laurie Murphy at (913) 642-7433.

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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