In the Spirit of St. Nick
A Greek bishop living in what is now modern-day Turkey during the 4th century, Saint Nicholas was known for his kindness and generosity. But these charity works often went unidentified—he helped poor and downtrodden children by secretly leaving money and food in their shoes at night. It is believed that his love of children and covert kindness is what has shaped the concept of today’s Santa Claus.
While times have changed since Saint Nicholas graced the Earth, the state of children in need remains the same. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago captures the spirit of St. Nick during their upcoming gala benefit, only they aren’t keeping it a secret.
On December 3, Catholic Charities will host the aptly named “Spirit of Saint Nicholas Ball” at the Hilton Chicago. It falls near the traditional celebration of Saint Nicholas Day and is promised to be a fantastic display of holiday cheer.
“The Ball is a terrific way to start off the holiday season, no matter what your faith traditions are,” says Ed Wehmer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wintrust Financial and co-chair of the event with his wife, Dorothy. “It is all about the wonder we remember as children, and hope for today’s children who are helped by the generous Ball guests.”
The theme for the event, celebrating its 21st year, is “An Old Fashioned Christmas” and will include dinner and dancing, and the opportunity to meet His Eminence Francis Cardinal George and Monsignor Michael M. Boland, President of Catholic Charities.
Last year alone, more than 1,200 guests attended, and similar numbers are expected this year. The 2009 Ball netted more than $720,000, which assisted more than 228,000 children who participate in Catholic Charities programs. The monies support projects like teen parenting centers, maternity services, day care and after-school programs, emergency service centers, transitional family housing programs, and counseling programs. Catholic Charities serves everyone, regardless of religious background.
“The Spirit of St. Nicholas Ball truly captures Catholic Charities’ mission to serve the poor, especially children who, because of their dependent status, are the poorest of the poor,” says Ed. “It is a chance to celebrate charity and kindness during the season of giving.”
Tickets for The Spirit of Saint Nicholas Ball are $400 and can be purchased through catholiccharities.net/stnick. For more information, call 312-948-6797.