Local Parishes

Raffle proceeds to go to bell tower, parish hall

St. Patrick Parish in Scranton is raffling off a 1994 Honda Gold Wing Touring Motorcycle. The motorcycle is valued at $8,500. COURTESY PHOTO

by Allen Ohlhaut
Special to The Leaven

SCRANTON — It’s been many years since the peal of St. Patrick Church’s bells was heard over the rural community here. But soon, those joyful sounds will return.

Thanks, in part, to a motorcycle.

As part of the ongoing capital campaign to raise funds for a new bell tower and parish hall, the parish  is raffling off a 1994 Honda Gold Wing Touring Motorcycle. An eye-catching piece, the $8,500 bike comes by way of a generous donor whose good friends, longtime St. Patrick parishioners Gary and Sandi Pope, have led the charge for the campaign.

The motorcycle is donated in memory of Dr. Mark Penn, as Sandi explained.

“The Penns are very close friends of ours; they’re not members [of St. Patrick], but they knew how hard the parish was working to raise funds,” she said. “Mark’s widow Jeanyne met with Gary and me, and felt that a way to really make something positive was to donate the motorcycle for our raffle.

“We’re truly grateful for that donation to help support this second fundraising campaign.”

According to St. Patrick’s website, the Catholic community in Scranton traces its roots back to 19th-century pioneers, mostly of Irish and German descent. The church that was their home for most of the 1900s survived catastrophes that ranged from a gas leak explosion in 1964 to severe storm damage 10 years later.

A capital campaign kicked off in 2012 to build a new church, and the small but tight-knit community of St. Patrick raised $552,000 in five years. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann consecrated the new church on Dec. 16, 2018, which is more handicap accessible, seats 150 and incorporates many items from the previous building.

The bell is not among them . . . yet. It’s waiting in storage for the second capital campaign, begun in 2020, to raise funds for a new bell tower.

“When we opened our time capsule [last] December,” Sandi said, “a lot of people in the community at that time said a few words, and that was one of the things they talked about — just remembering hearing that bell. It was important to them.”

The second goal of the campaign is to build a new parish hall, Gary explained, as their congregation has been missing a suitable space for communal gatherings.

“When we first started going [to St. Patrick], they always had doughnuts and coffee after church,” he said. “That’s how we got to know a lot of people in the community. We really don’t have a good place to do that right now. But with the new parish hall, we’ll go back to doing that!”

“And classrooms for our kids, of course,” added Sandi. “There’ll be space for that, and events that the community can benefit from. It’ll be a nice resource for celebrations and gatherings — more community fellowship.”

It’s an exciting time as the people of St. Patrick inch closer to their goal, having raised funds through events including weekly farmers markets, a daddy-daughter dance, quilt raffles and more.

And now the motorcycle is doing its part, too.

“It’s a beautiful motorcycle,” said Sandi. “As soon as we get all 200 tickets sold, we’ll have the drawing.”

Organizers are asking for a donation of $50 for a chance at the classic bike.

“People don’t have to be present to win,” added Sandi.

Even as the cost of construction balloons, they look forward to the time when the bell will once more call them to prayer and fellowship, and the hall will provide a place for their families to grow closer together and dive deeper into the faith.

For details on how to purchase a ticket, raffle rules and drawing times, visit the parish website at: www.stpatrickchurches.org and click on “News & Events” in the menu bar at the top.

About the author

The Leaven

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

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