Here’s what I know and am making up about the Gala.
The doors opened at 5:30 to a surge of early arrivers who were cordially greeted by the welcoming committee who distributed name tags and assisted or coerced the uninitiated in filling out a form to get registered on ourseton. There continued to be a steady flow of arrivals over the next 90 minutes. At first ladies were noticing what dresses and shoes the other ladies were wearing while men were wondering what hors d’oeuvres there were and when the main meal would be served. Soon these superficial considerations were replaced by happy conversations, joyous laughter and discreet readings of name tags. During this registration/mingling time in the cocktail room, Chuckie entertained the growing crowd on the Baby Grand.
Then the mass of Seton humanity began to file into the banquet room. Sean O’Hare, MC, welcomed everyone, then introduced Father VW for the invocation. He did so by mentioning that Father had been voted Mr. Seton, Friendliest and Most Popular his senior year which was impressive given the six or seven boys at Seton at that time.
Prizes were waiting to be given out. At each table of 10 there was one chair that had a holy card of Mother Seton taped under the seat. The person who was at that chair was a lucky winner of some prize. This meant that 90% of the attendees became despondent, feeling like losers. Sean quickly pointed out that each of them had a chair and so each was really a winner. The crowd visibly perked up. [Suggestion: Put holy cards under nine chairs and the one without a holy card gets the consolation prize. Everyone is then a winner.] There were other prizes to be given away, and for these Father Fasano was called forward to draw names. A good rule of thumb is never draw your own name when given this honor. Father Fasano, for the first time, did the unorthodox thing by drawing his own name. He also drew the names of Mr. Larsen, Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. O’Reilly and maybe Mrs. Ferri. (Is this how she won bagels?) I never heard that he drew an alumnus’ name. If this is so, this breaks the thumb of some other rule. [Suggestion: Find some reputable layman to do the drawing and have Father read the names of the winners.]
Dinner was then served and devoured very properly.
Following dinner, Sean demonstrated on the big 10 foot screen how to navigate around the ourseton website. Attendees were urged to “try this at home”.
Next was the awarding of diplomas to the seven long-time serving teachers/coaches. The less than a minute introductions of each of these seven recounted how they came to be a part of Seton. Mr. Violett’s time began with a jog in a park; Mrs. Haggerty with a pro-life slide show; Mrs. Mirus with a move from NC to VA; I began right after graduating from high school; Mr. Scheetz after a short teaching career in Detroit; Mrs. Larsen through the suggestion of a friend and Mrs. Carroll began by beginning. Of interest, at least to me, is that I was asked to write my own introduction. I think this also violates some rule of thumb.
Then came the focal point of the evening: the video/slide show which had the theme of the Three Theological Virtues. Faith included pictures of religious events of Seton and featured a letter written to Mrs.Carroll by Bryan Muench when he was in the Navy. Hope had a variety of pictures and featured a letter written to Mrs. Carroll by Cathy Spicer Munsell. Love showed pictures of some people dear to Seton who have gone before us and featured a letter written to Mrs. Carroll by Col. Jones. (The latter two of these letters can be read in Ripples.) This presentation has been hailed by one and all as a tremendously moving creation that truly represents what Seton stands for and promotes. It may soon be available on DVD — information about this will appear on this website. Mrs Carroll then spoke in a light-hearted manner about Seton’s beginnings followed by a serious reflection on Pope John Paul II’s Gift of Self. These remaks meshed perfectly with the theme of Faith, Hope and Love. Chuckie then played and sang the Ave Maria which was a stirring conclusion to the tremendous program.
Joker’s Wild began and so did the swing dancing. Alumni and current students of Seton put on an Irish Dance exhibition during one of the band’s breaks. At another, Mr. Koehr was honored for his tireless efforts to make the Gala a reality. (I have shortened his title from “Galactic Emperor” to “Gala Emperor”.) One should read Mrs. Ferri’s Ripple to get more of a flavor of this part of the night.
That’s what I know or have made up about the Gala. Please feel free to amend or correct any part of this.
The following morning was Mass on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua said by Father VW at Burke Lake Park. After Mass was the Choose Santa. I mean, the Pick Nick. That is, the Picnic. And now you know the reason for that title. To get more of a flavor of the Picnic read Joanne’s and Mrs. VW’s comments.