Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Local artists contribute work for Bishop’s Dinner/Auction

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the April 29, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Charities and “Chair-ity Auction.” The event will be held at the Spokane Club Friday, May 7.

The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. A seven-course dinner is at 7:15. Regional wines are paired with the food courses during the evening. Bishop William Skyl-stad is the emcee and host.

The evening’s decorations and floral arrangements in silver, black, white and fuchsia will carry out the theme of the silver anniversary. Black and silver leather bookmark favors will be given to each person who attends.

A silent auction is held during the evening with artworks donated by local artists. Theme for the auction items is “outdoor/yard.” There is a set of patio furniture, a resin sculpture by artist Vincent deFelice, and a handmade quilt from the quilting group at the Catholic Pastoral Center. Another special item is a handmade Irish-stitch afghan, made by Fran Nitkey, the mother of dinner chairperson Joan Kocharhook.

Several auction items are colorful decorated chairs, hence the name “Chair-ity Auction.” They come in all sizes and styles; they include a Nantucket bench, three Adirondack chairs and several child-size chairs.

Karen Orlando, events coordinator at Catholic Charities, said the artists accept invitations to attend the dinner.

The dinner is sponsored by a number of organizations: among them, Holy Family Hospital; Sacred Heart Medical Center; Moloney, O’Neill, Corkery, and Jones; and Guidance in Giving.

Adding another highlight to the dinner-auction is the presentation of the Bishop’s Medal. This special honor is presented to a person who has given 10 years or more of “outstanding service” either in Catholic Charities programs or in working with the poor and homeless.

Joan Kocharhook of Spokane and a large crew of volunteers organize the dinner-auction, along with Orlando at Catholic Charities. Kocharhook encourages people to attend; “it’s a lovely evening,” she said. She also praised her volunteers, two of whom are new. “I have a really great committee,” said Kocharhook.

Catholic Charities holds four major fund-raisers for its programs each year. The dinner-auction is the second since Jan. 1. The Spirit of St. Patrick evening, which benefits St. Margaret Shelter, was held in March. The Caring for Kids luncheon in September benefits Morning Star Boys’ Ranch and St. Anne Children and Family Home. The series of fund-raisers concludes with the annual Christmas Collection.

The dinner-auction was started in 1980 when the late Lawrence Welsh was bishop of Spokane. Art Sontergrath was chairman that first year, with the dinner-auction bringing in $19,718. In 2002 the dinner raised $38,514, the highest amount to date.

Proceeds from the dinner-auction benefit Catholic Charities programs, wherever the funds are most needed.

Formal dress is essential for this “classy, elegant evening.” Tickets are $150 each; $100 of that amount is tax-deductible. All beverages, including the wine, are included in the ticket price. To make reservations, call (509) 358-4254.


Sculptor Vince deFelice donates work to Bishop’s Dinner auction

Sculptor Vince deFelice of Spokane has donated one of his artworks to the Bishop’s Dinner. It is a resin piece, one of a series of works depicting mothers with children.

DeFelice, a member of St. Charles Parish, has donated artworks to the fund-raising dinner for several years.

DeFelice has sculpted for about 10 years, “on and off,” and is largely self-taught. He operates a gallery at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane where he shows some of his work but also showcases that of “other talented artists.”

DeFelice said he was always interested in art, fostered at least in part by the Catholic Church which is “rich with images and symbols.” He is the sculptor who created the Memorial to the Unborn at Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane.

The sculptor said he plans to be at the Bishop’s Dinner.


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