ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The generosity of 180 attendees helped raise approximately $30,000 at this year’s auction to benefit Mt. Irenaeus.
Funds donated at the annual event go toward the Mountain’s operating expenses and its endowment. A rich social and spiritual occasion, the Nov. 3 fundraiser welcomed an enthusiastic crowd and gifts ranging from getaway packages to sailing lessons, museum passes and gift baskets.
Held in Doyle Hall on the St. Bonaventure University campus, the evening always begins with a Mass in the University Chapel, followed by silent and verbal auctions.
A fun evening of fellowship and sharing, the event is an extension of the atmosphere that permeates Mt. Irenaeus, drawing auction-goers from many communities and backgrounds.
“This was our 12th year and I would say the auction consistently brings people together from the university and local area,” said Daniel Riley, OFM, guardian of Holy Peace Friary on the Mt. Irenaeus grounds in West Clarksville, N.Y.
The Mass prior to the auction “continues to be a very important part of the evening, as our new and younger population of students shared during the Eucharist,” Dan said, noting that people of many different faith traditions gather in the habit of prayer.
Myriad friends and fans of the Mountain, including SBU alumni, employees and parents, Mountain trustees, and many Western New York supporters, donated the more than 300 items offered during the auction.
One lucky bidder won a Mt. Irenaeus hike and lunch with Joseph Kotula, OFM, while another earned a dinner for 12 at the Mountain hosted by the friars and chef Sheila Darrow.
Returning for a second year was home-brewed beer by John C. Coughlin, OFM. His Night Sky Porter was made with Mountain water, of course, and the beer bottles featured original labels designed by Dan. Mt. Irenaeus friarsKevin Kriso, OFM, and Louis McCormick, OFM, also donated homemade goodies, including blueberry jam and currant bread.
“I’m blown away by the support,” said Dan, who has served at the Franciscan Mountain Retreat since its founding in 1984. “The auction is our most stable and consistent fundraiser.” Dan is shown in the photo above with Mike Kasperski, coordinator of operations of Mt. Irenaeus, who served as announcer at the auction.
— Beth Eberth is director of university communications at St. Bonaventure University.