The official tee time is about two months away, but the staff and volunteers of the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma have already adopted their angle of approach to the organization's 12th Annual Golf Classic: They aim to raise a record number of dollars for the Catholic schools of the archdiocese and thereby participate in the "new evangelization" encouraged by Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
"Handing on the Catholic faith to young people is an essential part of the Church's mission to evangelize," Archbishop Paul Coakley said in his vision for Catholic schools. "Our Catholic schools — by virtue of the instruction, formation and witness that they provide — are a privileged place of evangelization. We invest and sacrifice so much in support of our Catholic schools for the sake of this missionary mandate. It is for the sake of evangelization."
Since its inception in 2002, the Golf Classic has raised more than $330,000 for the Catholic Schools Endowment Fund at the archdiocese. Last year, the Classic netted a little more than $76,000.
Along the way, both the organizers and the contenders for the Golf Classic title have had their fair share of fun.
"The Golf Classic has evolved into a day of fun, fellowship and great golf for the participants and volunteers who attend," said Jaimee Zorio, a CFO board member and chairman of the Golf Classic Committee. "The event not only includes golf on one of Oklahoma City's premier golf courses (Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City), but the day is capped with a wine and cheese celebration for spouses or guests of the golfers and an awards dinner and auction."
Always, though, the participants remember just why they play the game.
"At the core of the event is the beneficiary of the net proceeds, our Catholic schools in the archdiocese," said Barney Semtner, executive director of the Catholic Foundation. "Half of the proceeds go directly to the 21 schools and the other half goes to the endowment fund, which has a goal to reduce school tuition throughout the archdiocese and to make it more affordable to more Catholic families."
At the moment, Zorio and the rest of the Golf Classic Committee are busy assembling a team of backers led by presenting sponsors Karen and Ken Kenworthy.
Love's, MidFirst Bank, and Zorio herself, along with her husband, Charles, are among the 2013 Flight Sponsors. Rick Jones GMC Buick will sponsor a Win-a-Car with a Hole-in-One contest.
"We gave away a car several years ago to a winner of the Hole-in-One contest," Semtner said. "That was truly an exciting day."
The Committee is also recruiting additional help for the event.
"It takes a dedicated team of volunteers to make the Golf Classic a great event," Zorio said. "We need hole sitters, signage placers, photographers, registration desk volunteers, cashiers, and awards dinner and auction volunteers. It takes about 25 volunteers in total to make the event run. We could not do it without them."
It's all a part of the mission of the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma, which aims "to procure and build endowment funds while serving as a permanent organization for the management and administration of funds given to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for the advancement and expansion of the Catholic Church in central and western Oklahoma," according to Semtner.
"We have become strong advocates for responsible stewardship in individual estate planning and, specifically, the Foundation promotes education-related programs that include scholarships and educational grants," Semtner said. "The Golf Classic is but one of these programs that allow us to share our faith. As our slogan says, 'We continue to invest in the future of our faith.'"
IF YOU GO
Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma Golf Classic
When: Morning and afternoon starts on Monday, June 3, 2013
Where: Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City
Why: To benefit Catholic schools and evangelize Catholic youth
Sponsorship Information: Sponsor levels include Flight Sponsor ($5,000), Awards Dinner Sponsor ($3,500), Goodie Bag Sponsor ($2,800), Double Eagle Sponsor ($2,200), Team Hole Sponsor ($1,500), Premium Hole Sponsor ($500) and Hole Sponsor ($300). In-kind donations for goodie bags and auction items also much appreciated. For more information, please contact the Catholic Foundation at (405) 721-4115 or visit www.cfook.org.