Schools receive distributions from Bishop's Dinner proceeds
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
ST. JOHN BANCROFT $518
STS. PETER AND PAUL WEST BEND $651
DANBURY CATHOLIC DANBURY $1,079
EMMETSBURG CATHOLIC EMMETSBURG $1,283
ST. ROSE OF LIMA DENISON $1,322
POCAHONTAS CATHOLIC POCAHONTAS $1,575
ST. MARY HUMBOLDT $2,015
ST. PATRICK SHELDON SHELDON $2,467
SACRED HEART BOONE $3,091
SACRED HEART SPENCER $3,259
ST. MARY STORM LAKE $5,326
GEHLEN CATHOLIC LE MARS $7,400
ST. CATHERINE / ST. MARY REMSEN $7,440
SPALDING CATHOLIC GRANVILLE $7,576
SETON / GARRIGAN ALGONA $9,410
ST. EDMOND CATHOLIC FORT DODGE $12,559
KUEMPER CATHOLIC CARROLL $16,373
BISHOP HEELAN SIOUX CITY $35,656
He pointed out that the Tenth Annual Bishop's Dinner, which featured EWTN's Raymond Arroyo, established new records for both attendance and the amount of money that was raised for Catholic schools. Nearly $161,000 in profits was generated by the dinner - a 40 percent increase in earnings - and the attendance totaled 853.
"The dinner was a real joy for me," said Bishop Nickless. "It really showed me that my belief about Catholic schools is alive and well. I am so grateful for the Catholic education that I had."
The bishop described Catholic education as a gift to the church and a gift to diocese - "partly because of all of you."
"For the first time in the 10-year history of the dinner every single school recorded an increase in the amount of the distribution that it received in 2005," said Bishop Nickless, who added that some schools were going to receive a check that nearly doubled what they had received last year.
Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools of Sioux City received $35,656, a 78 percent increase over last year's amount. Special recognition was given to Kuemper Catholic Schools and St. Edmond's who recorded triple-digit increases compared to last year.
He mentioned that while the checks had been mailed out in the past, he wanted to use the luncheon as an opportunity to meet the administrators and school representatives and personally thank them for the work they do for Catholic education.
The bishop also used the occasion of the luncheon to commend Jim and Jameley Levich, the chair couple of the 10th Annual Dinner.
"Jim and Jameley did an incredible job with the dinner," said Bishop Nickless. "Their love of Catholic schools is unsurpassed and all of us should be so grateful for their hard work on behalf of the 6,088 students who attend Catholic schools in our diocese."
He presented them with a book on the Holy Father.
Bishop Nickless also extended gratitude to the development directors from the Catholic schools for their efforts.
To the administrators, he said, that "your ministry to Catholic school education is wonderful and it does not go unnoticed. It is a really important job that you do and I am so grateful for your dedication and your commitment."
He told them that there was no better way to pass on the faith than through Catholic schools.
Following lunch, checks were presented to the school representatives.
Mimi Wieck, development director for Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools, in commenting on their sizeable distribution said, "All of the credit should go to the leadership that Bishop Nickless has provided since he has been here and to Jim Wharton and the Levichs who worked so hard. We are just the recipients of all of their hard work."
She commended the commitment that people in this area have to Catholic education.
Sister Louise Scieszinski, principal at St. Mary's in Humboldt said she was grateful for the "assistance and support of our local Catholic schools."
Gene Meister, president of Bishop Garrigan Schools in Algona, pointed out that they will use the money for teachers salaries. They enhance the teachers' checks during the month of December so that it is a Christmas bonus of sorts.
He said it was a way to affirm the teachers for their commitment to Catholic schools because they do not make the same as they would in a public school.
The development director for St. Mary School in Storm Lake, Dawn Prosser, pointed out that there are always financial struggles for privately funded institutions.
"This was an additional way to bring in some funds," said Prosser. With such a successful year, the distribution is greater than what they had expected and budgeted so they will be exploring how the extra money will be used.
In addition to raising money for the schools, she mentioned that the dinner offers a chance to celebrate Catholic education with other supporters of the schools.
The Bishop's Dinner money is awarded with no restrictions and often is used for the most pressing needs of the school.
The 11th Annual Bishop's Dinner will be held on Oct. 21, 2007 at the Sioux City Convention Center.