Press Room

Catholic Charities Irish Fest Raises Over $500,000

For Immediate Release: March 21, 2016

OMAHA, March 21, 2016— Over 500 individuals attended the Catholic Charities Irish Fest gala fundraiser on Saturday, March 19, raising more than $500,000. All proceeds from the event benefit the over 100,000 individuals and families who turn to Catholic Charities for help and hope each year.

Guests were welcomed with the sounds of Ellis Island playing festive Irish music as they entered the Embassy Suites/La Vista Conference Center and made their way to the silent auction room. Over 150 items were available for guests to bid on, including an autographed Doug McDermott jersey, a custom men’s suit from Jerry Ryan, certificates for local Omaha experiences, decorative door hangers and more.

Master of Ceremonies John Knicely started the dinner portion of the evening off by introducing Archbishop George J. Lucas, who provided a blessing and invocation. Following dinner, guests received a special treat when The Craoi na Tire Irish Dancers showcased several traditional Irish dances for the crowd. Following the dancers, guests viewed a special video highlighting the work of Catholic Charities and John Knicely welcomed to the stage the most recently adopted baby through Catholic Charities, 5 week old Isabella and her parents Greg and Catherine Penny.

Auctioneer Scott Moore led the live auction portion of the event. The top-selling live auction packages included a trip to the Notre Dame vs. USC game complete with private airfare which sold for $16,000, a trip to a Chicago Cubs baseball game which sold for $5,000 and a Scottsdale, AZ condo vacation which also sold for $3,400. Following the live auction, guests danced into the evening to music by Urban Delight and the Horns of Plenty.

The event would not have been a success without the support of the honorary and event chairs. “We would like to extend our deep appreciations for this year’s event leadership. A very special thank you to honorary chairs, Shirley and Dan Neary whose help has been invaluable and to general chairs Alice and Mark Jaksich, Kari and Dan Kinsella, and Trish and John Kuehl. We truly appreciate their hard work and dedication to the mission of Catholic Charities,” John J. Griffith, Catholic Charities executive director.

Irish Fest is Catholic Charities’ largest annual fundraiser. Programs are varied as new needs arise and represent a seamless continuum of care to address the needs of children, women and men at all stages of life.

About Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities ministers to the greatest and most fundamental needs of our community. People affected by domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, unplanned pregnancy and other emergency situations can find sanctuary in times of overwhelming hardship, while opening doors for promising futures. Catholic Charities has a rich tradition of serving and advocating for more than 100,000 voiceless, hungry, addicted, abused and forgotten individuals and families annually throughout the Archdiocese of Omaha. For more information on Catholic Charities, visit