Students attending Catholic schools in the Diocese of Cleveland once again will be the beneficiaries of the Bishop’s Golf Classic. The 30th annual event took place Oct. 4 at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River.
One hundred twenty-four golfers hit the links on what began as a warm, sunny, early fall day. After registration, golfers enjoyed brunch, conversation and some practice swings before Patrick Grace, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation, offered brief welcoming remarks. The outing, which used the scramble format, was organized by the foundation.
Several Holy Name High School students were on hand to greet the golfers and help them with their clubs and bags as they checked in.
“Thank you all for coming and for your support for Catholic schools,” Grace said, explaining that proceeds from the outing will support tuition assistance for students in Catholic schools throughout the eight-county diocese.
Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries said the opening prayer before heading onto the course with his foursome.
Rain arrived soon after the golfers began play. At times it was a steady rain, but most golfers persevered and finished the course.
Bishop Edward Malesic arrived in the afternoon to greet golfers as they completed play and to join them for dinner.
After dinner, Grace again thanked the golfers for their support. He introduced Frank O’Linn, superintendent of schools for the diocese, who spoke briefly about the work the schools are doing to educate about 35,000 students both intellectually and spiritually.
One of those students, Mollie Stracensky, a Holy Name High School senior, addressed the group. She was introduced as a “triple threat, mind, body and spirit.” Mollie is ranked first in her class, is a member of the Green Wave cross country, basketball and track teams and was announced recently as a National Merit semifinalist. At her parish, St. Ambrose in Brunswick, she is an altar server and a lector.
Mollie is pondering a career as an aerospace engineer and is considering the Naval Academy, The Ohio State University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame among her potential college choices.
“My Catholic education is the best thing that happened to me,” she told the group. She described Holy Name as a welcoming community with genuine people and teachers who are always ready to help.
“My Catholic education allows me to be freely myself,” she said, adding she appreciates the fact that she is getting a high-quality education and can take rigorous classes such as engineering, honors, Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment classes to earn high school and college credits.
“But the best part of my Catholic education is the emphasis on faith. Jesus truly is the center of every day,” she said. At Holy Name and her parish, she has opportunities to become involved with social justice issues. She listed Right to Life as one of her favorites. Mollie and her mother, Vicki, wrote a book, “Rockin’ the Rosary,” which earned the approval of Bishop Malesic. The hardbound, 80-page publication is a guide to help children and adults learn to pray the rosary while strengthening their relationship with the Blessed Mother and Jesus.
“My Catholic education is priceless, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a price tag,” Mollie said, noting that she and her three brothers all attended Catholic schools. “Without the generosity of wonderful people like you, some students wouldn’t be able to go to a Catholic high school. Your support had a huge impact on my life and the lives of others. It really does make a difference and I am so grateful,” she added.
“Our Catholic schools are such a treasure,” the bishop said. “They are conducive to forming the whole person. Mollie said everything I was going to say,” he quipped.
Bishop Malesic said our culture is toxic and the Catholic schools are one place to counter that. “We teach the truth. I never want to hear someone say they can’t afford a Catholic education. We’re here to partner with parents to ensure they can send their children to a Catholic school, even if their children aren’t Catholic. We still have to give them the best education possible. They deserve it. We have something special that we’ve inherited and passed on,” he said, referring to the Catholic faith.
The bishop said Catholic schoolteachers see their work as a ministry, something they do because of a divine call and the desire to educate children, he said, again thanking those who help support the cost of a Catholic education for thousands of children each year.
The next golf outing will take place the first Monday in October 2022.
Click here for more information on the Bishop’s Golf Classic or how to help support Catholic education.