Handshakes and friendly banter were exchanged as dozens of alumni from the classes of 1958 to 2018 predicted the winners of their annual golf outing at Pine Meadow Golf Course. Several alumni priests, including “Vicar for Golf” Father Jim Hyland (Class of 1981) have been in attendance since the first outing was held in the 90s, and others made their debut this year. Good-natured wisecracks about golfing ability (or inability) set the tone for an enjoyable day for everyone, regardless of the actual scores.
Since Mundelein forms priests for many dioceses, the outing serves as a reunion for men who bonded as seminarians but don’t often see each other. In larger dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Chicago, occasions where priests from all vicariates gather is limited. Alumni from Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, and all over Illinois traveled back to Mundelein for fellowship with other graduates. The variety of ages was vast, with priests who have served more than 50 years talking to men who can count on one hand the number of years they’ve been ordained. Non-ordained graduates also attended the festivities and enjoyed catching up with former classmates.
“Our alumni do so much for their communities, so it was an honor to meet and welcome both our priests and non-ordained alumni to say thanks and give them a nice day to reconnect with each other and the seminary,” said Holly Gibout, Vice President of Development for Mundelein. “We deeply value our relationships with our alumni who make us proud to say they are Mundelein graduates.”
New this year was a Trivia contest, giving non-golfers an option for friendly competition of their own. Father Dan Folwaczny (Class of 2014) bested all other alumni for the prize.
After dinner, raffle prizes were awarded and golf contest winners were announced. The low score of the day, and accompanying bragging rights, went to Father James Wallace (Class of 2012), Father Connor Danstrom (Class of 2014), Father Tom Byrne (Class of 2013), and Father Bob Regan (Class of 2015) with a score of 64 (-8). They narrowly beat last year’s winners, a team of Father Jim Hyland, Father Mike Nacius (Class of 1989), Father Sam Mukundi (class of 2003),and Father Mike Novick (Class of 2001), with a score of 65 (-7).
Closest to the Pin winners were Father Tom Byrne, Father Terry Keehan (Class of 1986), and Monsignor John Canary (Class of 1969). Longest Drive winners were Father Piotr Samborski (Class of 2015), Father Bob Regan, and Father Dick Shannon (Class of 1959).
In addition to the golf and game options, alumni had the chance to win prizes in a raffle, with proceeds going to campus beautification efforts. Last year’s attendees raised funds for more seating options on campus, including a new teak bench near the Dowdle Memorial Garden. This year’s total of over $1,300 will be put toward restoration of the St. Thérèse of Lisieux garden, which sustained damage from severe weather earlier this year.
The entire evening was an encouraging occasion, and a reminder to continue praying for our priests and bishops, to get to know them, to share our lives with them. These are men with ideas, hobbies, and great care for their parishioners, whose purpose in life is to lead others to Christ. Holiness and opportunities for evangelization can be found anywhere – even a golf course.