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Flamingos flock to St. Ignatius for a good cause

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Friday, September 11, 2009

By Mike Dyer

ST. MARGARET MARY DEANERY — It didn’t take long for parishioners at St. Ignatius to realize flamingos would be invading some of their yards for a couple of days in the Monfort Heights area this summer.

And while the tropical birds didn’t actually escape the Cincinnati Zoo and take residence on the West Side, the plastic versions were certainly present, and their significance was easily observed.

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A trio of flamingos wearing Roman collars adorns a yard. (Courtesy photo)

Parishioners purchased a flock for a donation of $10 to be secretly placed in a friend, neighbor or teacher’s yard by a member of the St. Ignatius youth group for two days. For $15, the flock was dressed in a birthday or graduation themed outfit or even Hawaiian gear. “Flocking insurance” could be purchased for $10, which removed the threat of having the flamingos in a yard.

All the proceeds from the fundraiser went to benefit the group of 40 students from nine different schools that traveled to the Steubenville Youth Conference in early July.

Cindy Wurzelbacher, director of youth ministry at St. Ignatius, said about $1,500 was raised in order to help defray bus transportation costs to the conference.

It was the first year the parish did a fundraiser with the flamingos, and Wurzelbacher said the parish will definitely do it again next summer. The group purchased about 400 flamingos for the fundraiser, which began in early June.

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Members of the St. Ignatius youth group enjoyed their trip to the Steubenville Youth Conference, made possible by the “Flamingo Fun” project. Pictured from left in the back row are Jenna Hartmann, a student at Mother of Mercy High School, and Ashley Jansen and Katlyn Klare, both students at McAuley High School. In the front row from left are Kathryn Geckle and Samantha Morrissey, both McAuley students. (Courtesy photo)

While the fundraiser was a favorite among teens and those parishioners who were “flocked” in their yards, Wurzelbacher said the students often put notes on the doors with Scripture passages or information that described the youth ministry program.

“One of our goals was evangelization and getting the word out about the St. Ignatius Youth Ministry,” Wurzelbacher said.

The group gave 10 percent of its profits to the Share the Glory program at the youth conference, which helped purchase school supplies and backpacks for kids in need.

“We did this because we know all that was given to us was a gift from God and that we are called to be good stewards, giving back in His name — knowing the rewards will be gigantic,” Wurzelbacher said.

McAuley High School junior Samantha Morrissey, who attended the youth conference this summer for the second time, said the teens enjoyed being able to participate in a fundraiser that was cooperative, fun and promoted Christ’s message.

“It was a lot of positive feedback,” Morrissey said. “Everyone loved it.”

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