How to Raise Money in a Hurry

“A Church is a good place for a miracle. Especially during the Christmas season,” begins the Jan. 1 Chicago Sun-Times Report.

“Holy Family Roman Catholic Church is celebrating the seventh anniversary of a nationwide appeal to save the building. The city's second-oldest church had fallen into ruin in December 1990, and teetered near demolition.

“The appeal has raised $3.9 million since 1990, allowing the church to do major structural repairs and restore the delicate stenciling, artwork, and statues.

“This week, church officials remembered the frigid Christmas of 1990 when the Jesuits announced plans to demolish the structure unless $1 million could be raised to save it.

“‘The Holy Family Preservation Society organized a five-night prayer vigil on the steps of the shuttered church in bitter December cold,’ said [Father] George Lane, the society's founding board member. ‘We had seven candles out in front,’ hastily begged from a local restaurant.

“‘With prayers and publicity, the appeal went out to the world,’ [Father] Lane said. ‘The money poured in. We received $300,000 in three days. We made the deadline with $11,000 to spare.’

“Several thousand people attended an open house on the feast of the Holy Family Dec. 30, 1990, each with a story to tell about the church, each bringing a check or cash.

“We had so much money in the rectory that night, we had to have the police,” Father Lane said.

Funeral Mass for Chris Farley

Cable TV's E! News reported the funeral rites Dec. 23 for Chris Farley, a comedian who became famous on Saturday Night Live and in slapstick movies.

“Today, in his hometown, SNL alumni Dan Akroyd, Chris Rock, and Al Franken sat in pews at Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic church to say good-bye to the burly, boisterous performer.

“A program handed out at the service featured a photo of Farley and a poem, The Clown's Prayer, according to wire reports.”

The report, by Joal Ryan, quoted an 18 year-old who attended the wake, where he saw John Goodman, George Wendt, and SNL creator Lorne Michaels.

“It's a really sad scene,” the observer is quoted saying. “All these people who make you laugh on TV, to see 'em crying. It's really different.”