The Catholic Foundation held its 17th Annual Foundation of Faith Event: Here I Am, Lord with guest speaker Father Chase Hilgenbrinck. The Catholic Foundation hosted three amazing events over a period of two days: a VIP event for sponsors, a special morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Foundation of Faith dinner at the Starlight Event Center. Fr. Chase, the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois and ex-professional soccer player, shared his vocation story: “From Pro-soccer to the Priesthood”.
Eugenio “Pacelli” and Cecilia Mesta hosted an exquisite VIP event for sponsors and their guests on September 6th in their beautiful home. Guests were able to share in a delightful evening where the presence of God was truly felt and enjoy an array of delectable appetizers, signature drinks, and appearances by Bishop Mark Seitz and Father Chase Hilgenbrinck.
The Catholic Foundation continued the Foundation of Faith Event with Mass celebrated by Father Chase for the students of Cathedral High School on the morning of September 7, 2023, at St. Patrick Cathedral. Fr. Chase’s devotion to the priesthood was very obvious and his love for God was reflected in his homily. Fr. Chase shared that the greatest privilege of his entire life has been to become a priest and he invited the young men to find the will of God in their lives and reminded them that God is always speaking to them.
That evening, the Foundation of Faith Dinner started with a cocktail reception and the program included the appreciation for those who support the mission of the Catholic Foundation and its efforts. The Catholic Foundation recognized the 2023 Steward of the Year. The Steward of the Year award is given in recognition of an exceptional individual who shared their gifts and talents to the fullest potential and generously helped those in great need in a parish, diocesan ministry, or a Catholic school. This year’s Steward of the Year was, Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez, from San Antonio de Padua Parish, who embodied all those qualifications and was nominated in the Mother Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein): Ministry of Bereavement category. Her work and devotion to the ministry of bereavement demonstrated a Stewardship way of life of PRAY, SERVE, and GIVE.
Another blessed highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 8th Annual Dei Gratia award. The Dei Gratia award, Latin for “By the Grace of God”, recognizes an individual, couple, or organization for their servant leadership, outstanding contribution to the Diocese of El Paso and our Catholic community, and dedication to being good stewards of God’s graces. This year’s Dei Gratia award recipients were Dr. Jose Manuel “Manny” and Maureen de la Rosa. The de la Rosa’s story of their incredible commitment to their faith, family, and community was shared and they were presented with the beautiful Dei Gratia Award.
The night continued with professional auctioneer, Subyn Novelle, who conducted an energized auction of amazing packages to raise funds for the various needs in the Diocese of El Paso. The Catholic Foundation highlighted several special auction packages including a package to support the migrant shelter efforts of Our Lady of Assumption. Father Mark Salas, Pastor at Our Lady of Assumption Parish, delightfully offered to prepare a BBQ feast for 20 individuals with a customized menu; highlighting his cooking skills. The “Dine Like a Disciple” auction package offered the opportunity to break bread and enjoy a meal with Bishop Mark Seitz and Auxiliary Bishop Tony Celino. In addition, the CareFree Homes “Sign of Devotion” package was offered to two auction winners to honor a passed loved one’s memory on one of El Paso’s upcoming street signs. Other packages included golf outings, dinners, bible studies, a wine tasting, and a historic mission tour. All packages were paired with various priests and deacons of the diocese.
The highlight of the evening was the keynote address of Father Chase Hilgenbrinck who enlightened guests with his personal vocation story and discerning God’s call. Throughout his address, he spoke the words of Pope Benedict XVI saying “You were not made for comfort…you were made for greatness.” Fr. Chase recalled, “I was sitting in a small chapel in Chile and heard Jesus say, ‘BE MY PRIEST’”. His message was an uplifting celebration of our faith, God’s will, and how we are called to serve.
The Catholic Foundation whose mission is to serve the Catholic Church in the Diocese of El Paso, raised over $220,000 from its Foundation of Faith Event efforts. In addition to its own mission, proceeds from this year’s event, also helped to support fuel for West Texas priests serving the rural parishes of the Diocese of El Paso, St. Pius X Catholic School, allowance for current seminarians to assist with their daily expenses, Our Lady of Assumption migrant shelter, and various Catholic Foundation endowment funds including Retired Priests Appreciation Fund, Permanent Diaconate Fund, On-Going Priest Formation Fund, Queen of Peace Parish Fund, Seminarian Education Fund, the Historic Mission Preservation Fund, and the St. Joseph School Fund.
The Catholic Foundation would like to give special thanks to all of the Foundation of Faith Event Sponsors, who without their support and generosity, this event would not have been possible. Gold Sponsors: Bowling Family Charitable Foundation, Freeport McMoran, and Tigua Indians - Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo. Silver Sponsors: Chick-fil-A Eastlake Marketplace & Rojas, Clara & Mike Miles, High Ridge Wealth Management, and Maureen & Manny de la Rosa M.D. Bronze Sponsors: ClearView Realty, Daw’s Home Furnishings, Doris Gurss, Exigo Architecture, Martha & Allen Stumbo, Salom Investments, Serra Club of El Paso, St. Raphael Catholic School, State Farm-Team Casillas, and Travel with Kerry. Thank you to ALL of the Guardian Angel table sponsors, Godparents, In-Kind, Silent, and Live Auction Sponsors for making the Foundation of Faith Event an amazing success.
The Catholic Foundation holds its Foundation of Faith Event every year, in September.