Italian Dinner '09

I write this reflection the day after the Italian Dinner and look back with gratitude. The dinner is the most labor-intensive and personnel demanding event we do. It is complicated and takes many many months for which to prepare. All that said, I believe Ed VanDyke, the chair of the dinner, did a fantastic job. With a smile and a chuckle, he continually met each new glitch or wrinkle with style. Thank you Ed! Sharon, his wife, also deserves to be thanked for her tireless work. She served as the chairperson for the Bazaar, but she wasn’t boxed in just to that area. Indeed, she was certainly Ed’s right-hand helper and encourager. Thank you Sharon! If you ask any former chairpersons, I think they would all be in agreement and amazement as to how Ed did it. Why? Just think about the other responsibilities he and his wife have: Their children, ten in all! Even Zachary, their youngest, was helping out. In fact, their teenagers, Hannah and Cassie and their boyfriends, were among the last leave that night. Thank you teens!! I also want to thank all those who gave of their time and talent to prepare, clean, cook, serve, manage the ticket sales, bus tables, offer entertainment, manage the money, secure advertising, take-down, clean-up, lock-up, transport, and so many other duties. There are too many names to mention. However, without the help of folks like Becky Pettit, Lani Vandehey, and Linda Wardenburg (just a few of the folks with the knowledge and expertise about the details), I don’t know if Ed and Sharon would have been so calm. Thank you doesn’t seem to be sufficient, but am so thankful! I am so proud to be part of this community.

I don’t have solid numbers, but the initial figures show that we may be real close to meeting our goal for income. Of course, as more details roll in and other expenses are accounted for, that may be offset. Be sure that we will make that information known to you as soon as we have solid figures to report. More importantly, I believe it is very safe to say that the Italian Dinner was a great friend-raiser. From parousing the surveys people turned in, they loved the food and enjoyed the company. I know I really enjoyed saying hello to everyone, especially those who gave of their time to serve that day.

At the end of the night, though tired we all were, I believe everyone left with a smile on their face. Whether that was from the knowledge of giving to such a good cause, meeting new and old friends, eating the food, or serving in some capacity, I believe we can all see this event, still, as something that demonstrates the welcoming community that we truly are.

Thank you all for making the Italian Dinner such a wonderful event. Thank you Ed and Sharon for your tireless work. May God bless you all!


Depending on when you read this, it is either almost Lent or Lent proper. Maybe it's even Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It's a time for us to re-connect with that which is most important. By these three activities, I believe, we can simplify our lives and open a door for God's grace in our hearts.

We live in difficult times, a serious time of economic struggle. But, Lent offers us an opportunity to re-order our values and remember where our true hope and joy comes from. Jesus Christ is our hope. He is our joy. No matter what befalls us, he is the one who suffered, died, and rose so we may be healed of our sins and enter into eternal life. In the days to follow, I will be creating a list of potential Lenten and not-so-lenten activities that we can consider. We may not be able to solve the financial ruin that has victimized so many, but we can do something to remind ourselves that with God's grace that can make a difference for ourselves and those around us.

May we all remember where true hope and joy come from. May this Lent be a gift that helps us enter into those realities. May Christ's passion and resurrection live more vibrantly in our hearts in the days ahead.

Blessings in Christ,
Fr. William Holtzinger