V. Rev. Father Joseph Allen
We always had some sort of “Festival,” but it was in 1977 when we built the Church Hall -what we now call Ivy Hall- that the Festival took a gigantic step in which it became a central form of financial support for St Anthony’s.
I remember it so clearly. The Women’s Guild ran it as their major event. And they worked very hard – and argued every step of the way.
At the first meeting I told them, “Now the we finally built a hall, we have to think ‘bigger’!” No more could we just break down the Sunday School and contain ourselves downstairs. They sat motionless; they were shocked to hear such a different venue. And the shock merely grew when I added: “We should be able to now make about $15,000”. They said they would be pleased if we could make $4,000 (they made $3,500 the previous year).
I told them they would have to “think differently”. ” We will need to do some PR.” WHAT?! What kind of PR? “It’s only our parishioners and they already know about the Festival,” they said. “And how much would that cost?” I said: “Well, more than $50”. WHAT?! $50 for PR?! Where is all this money coming from?
And we went on like that- every step, from decorations, to bakery, to the kitchen. Every step was a struggle.
I turned to Thelma Dacales and the late Ed Takla to help me change their minds and get them thinking progressively. The first thing we did was to develop a Manual which contained a Chart of who was who, and who would do what in order to reach our goal.
We did. And we made the $15,000. I could feel our minds and hearts expand!
These humble beginnings should never be forgotten. This is also why it is so disturbing when I see a lack of enthusiasm, or cynicism, or judgmentalism – or any purposeful negative response surrounding our festival efforts.
And now we are taking another giant step. Will you be with us?