Mt. Irenaeus Plans Auction, Enhances Blog

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

WEST CLARKSVILLE, N.Y. — Autumn is a lively season at Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat here, where the annual auction is being planned, retreats are being held, and the mountain blog is gaining visibility.

Tickets for the eighth annual Mt. Irenaeus Auction on Nov. 1 are “going fast,” according to John Kennedy, Mt. Irenaeus coordinator of development and volunteers.

Popular Fundraiser
The auction will take place in Doyle Hall at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y.  A Mass, celebrated byDaniel Riley, OFM, will start the evening, with the auction immediately following at 6 p.m. Hundreds of gifts have been donated, including religious items, Buffalo Sabres tickets, vacations, original artwork, video game consoles, golf outings, autographed sports memorabilia, gift certificates, and more.

The auction serves two important purposes vital to the growth of Mt. Irenaeus, Kennedy said. The first is to offer an event that friends can look forward to every year to reunite. The second is fundraising.

“The auction garnered a net profit of $157,575 over the last seven years to aid the operating fund and support the general endowment,” he said. “Mt. Irenaeus is run solely on the donations and goodwill of friends, predominantly SBU alumni.”

This year’s auction has the highest demand for tickets since its inception in 2001, Kennedy said. Tickets are $40, which includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There will be a silent auction and a verbal auction, Kennedy said. To purchase tickets, contact Michelle Marcellin at 716-375-2096 or visit the Mt. Irenaeus Web site

Chair of the auction is Margaret Bryner, director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at SBU.

Connecting Through Retreats and Blog
Friends of Mt. Irenaeus gathered the weekend of Oct. 17 for a family retreat. In September, the friars of the mountain hosted Naomi’s Harvest Weekend. Joseph Kotula, OFM, said its purpose was to pray together and to harvest Naomi’s Knoll together.

Supporters of Mt. Irenaeus can learn about Mountain events on its Web site, which offers a blog containing reflections and comments. The blog is managed by volunteers who are part of the Franciscan Sojourners, a two-year-old group that works to bring the “mission of the mountain down to people in their everyday lives,” according to co-founder Michael Fenn of Buffalo, N.Y.  In the past few months, themes of the blog have included the feasts of St. Francis in October, the Stigmata of Francis in September, St. Bonaventure in July, and St. Irenaeus in June. Upcoming themes are All Saints Day and Advent.

An introduction to the blog invites visitors to “join us on our journey in making all things new” by sharing your thoughts in this blog. When posting, you may use your first name and the first letter of your last name.

The blog is managed by SBU alumnus and Franciscan Sojourner Greg Licamele.

The Franciscan Sojourners will gather at Mt. Irenaeus in February for its twice-yearly retreat. Comments from members of the Franciscan Sojourners community can be found in the Autumn  2008 Mt. Irenaeus newsletter. New participants are welcomed by the group.

As in the past, the Mt. Irenaeus ministry is taking its mission to the community through the Mountain on the Road program.  Dan Riley is offering the Mountain on the Road program in several cities this fall. The weekend of Oct. 24 he and Joseph will be in Connecticut. A Mountain on the Road is being planned for early 2009 at the Province’s church in Pompton Lakes, N.J.

Kevin Kriso, OFM, a new resident of the Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus, helped with recent planting of bulbs. He joined with members of the Mt. Ireneaus board as well as local community members in this project.

—  Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.