Irish Day of Caring set for April 29

Fundraiser will focus on the Class of 2020


Photo submitted

Information on social media promotes April 29’s fundraiser.

Katie Darragh, Reporter

The continuous effects of COVIS-19 have deprived those on the Hill of many traditions that typically fill the end of the school year. Yet a new tradition, first showcased as the Irish Day of Giving, has risen to the challenge of uniting the scattered Irish family for the newly named Irish Day of Caring.

The event will take place April 29.

“Celebrating being Irish, especially in quarantine when we are not together, is so much harder to do, so let’s all get together wherever we are to celebrate,” said Mr. Ben Pawelak, director of database operations and advancement communications.

The purpose of the day is to engage with the Cathedral family over social media and raise donations in order to support the Cathedral fund, which generates at least $2.5 million a year for tuition assistance and other needs such as academic equipment, teacher salaries and everyday maintenance.

This year, according to Mrs. Abbe Ernstes, director of major and planned gifts, “We are going to ask for gifts in honor of the Class of 2020, and place an emphasis on tuition assistance.”

She explained how, due to the pandemic’s effect on jobs and income, some families’ financial situations might have changed, and there is a greater need for tuition assistance. She also added how there are about five students for whom the school is providing Wi-Fi hotspots, which cost $30 a month for each individual.

Last year, the theme of the day was All Around Cathedral, and in order to feature different activities on campus, the advancement team went on Facebook and Instagram live every hour. “We started the day at speed school at 6 a.m., 7 a.m. Mass and band at 8 a.m. We went through the day and featured different parts of the school,” said Ernstes.

However, due to recent developments, the theme this year is focusing on the Class of 2020 and inviting the community to participate in a great send off for the seniors. The advancement team will highlight some of the senior spring activities that will be missed such as the spring musical, sports, We the People and some senior traditions. Other events include a broadcasted senior Mass and the announcement of next year’s leprechaun.

According to Pawkak, the hope is to engage alumni along the way.

“We can ask them to share their favorite senior traditions. We will be highlighting some seniors’ college choices; that way, they can relate on an individual level, whether they were in a sport, whether they carried their canoe up the Hill, whether they went to IU, that kind of thing” explained Pawelak.

While it is not the event Pawelak and Ernstes had originally planned, Ernstes remains optimistic, saying, “It is going to be different in terms of energy. It isn’t going to be the same as if we were all together, but I think it is going to be a great day.”

Last year there were more than 500 donors who pitched in $109,000. Pawelak is striving for the same amount this year, but said he is “interested to see if that was a one-year thing, or if it continues every year.”

Ernstes reminds the community that “this day is all about participation. A gift of any amount makes a difference.”

More information is posted at