The Padua Franciscan community celebrated our annual Christmas For Others Liturgy on Friday, December 16, 2022. Fr. Johnpaul Cafiero, OFM presided and Dcn. Matt Harley assisted.
During his homily, Friar JP told everyone about a moment that often goes unnoticed in the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas. When Linus is telling everyone what Christmas is all about, he drops his security blanket for the first time in any Peanuts production. He lets go when uttering the words “fear not.” Throughout the Christmas season, we’re all encouraged to “fear not,” seek peace and find security in the birth of Jesus.
Throughout the month of December, Padua collected a record-breaking $36,694 in cash, in addition to collecting thousands of donations (clothing, food, books and toys) for non-profits and families in need. We distributed the money and goods at the end of CFO Mass. Two dozen non-profits, local food pantries, animal shelters and many others received these donations.
Our students raised funds in a number of ways. The most exciting was our Coin Wars competition. In 18 minutes, we collected $8,309 cash for local charities and families in need. Our Italian Club hosted a Spaghetti Dinner. Spanish Club sold nachos. Art Club sold handmade jewelry. We had a student vs. faculty volleyball game, where $1 admission went to this good cause. We also had a blood drive, where students’ donations helped save 60 lives. Our main lobby was full of large bins to collect: toys, books, coats, mittens, hats, scarves, socks, blankets and food.
For 51 years, the Padua community has come together in the Franciscan spirit of giving. Since its inception in 1971, CFO has raised over $500,000 for charity. CFO is the largest student-run outreach program in Northeast Ohio. It is sponsored, organized and operated by the students, under the direction of Padua’s Key (Kiwanis) Club.