Thursday, May 19, 2005

Scholarship Dinner

I'm backtracking to last Saturday night to fill you all in about the Holy Cross/IHM scholarship dinner. I got a ride out there in the van with some of the guys who play in the church marimba ensemble. One young man in the van with us was an undocumented student who wants to be a priest, but the seminaries here in the city won't take him because he doesn't have papers. Can you imagine?

A priest from Spain joined us in the van as well. Fr. Fernando has worked in publishing for many years, first in magazines and now in books. When I told him my current deadline woes--my first story idea for this month tanked, it took until last week to get all the data organized for my second idea, and now it's late May and our May issue is still in progress--his response was, "I would fire you." Thank God he's not my boss! We did have a good laugh over the adrenaline rush of magazine publishing. He works in book publishing now, which he says is a very different pace. He worked in the Philippines for some years and it was rather chaotic trying to get anything done out there, I gather. Now, in Spain, one of his big theological book successes was written by a nun in Kenya. He felt obligated to get her book out, he told me, because if it was tough trying to get a book published in the Philippines, imagine the difficulties in Kenya! And by theological publishing standards, this book was a big hit--the initial run was 1500 books, but they had to go up to 3000 to meet demand. So, for this guy, coming to Holy Cross/IHM and saying Mass and hanging out feels like a vacation.

There were more faces I knew at the banquet than I expected. Two or three of the local principals came, a couple of people from Neighborhood Housing Services (the people who sold me my house), and the lady I see everywhere--church, CAPS, Chavez LSC meetings. Fr. Ed from St. Joe's sang the blessing before we ate. Even my lawyer was there!

I was seated at a table full of older women, mostly nuns. I suspect whoever did the seating saw my Irish first and last name, didn't know me, and assumed I was a nun, too. Next year I'll have to ask to be seated at the NHS table or something. The ladies were very nice but most of our conversation centered around the high quality of the rolls. They were good, but let's just say it's a good thing I wasn't putting out $100 to attend based on the food. The dinner funds scholarships for parish and neighborhood young people in college and in private high schools, and scholarships are awarded without regard for a kid's immigration status.

They got Willie Delgado, a state rep who grew up in Back of the Yards and now lives on the Northwest Side, to lead the live auction. It was pretty fun to see a bunch of nuns ponying up hundreds, even thousands of dollars for stuff like a foosball table.

No punchy ending to this blog entry--just gotta get back to deadline, so I don't get fired!

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