by Terry Quilico
On Saturday evening, Nov. 19, supporters of the Comboni Missionaries were greeted by two FIAT 500s flanking the entrance to Abbington Banquets in Glen Ellyn.
The occasion was the 45th annual Comboni dinner dance and the Cinquecento’s were there to highlight John Fields of Fields FIAT of Highland Park, who would receive the Comboni Benefactor Award at the event. The cars were also positioned to promote the raffle drawing for a new 2012 FIAT that evening.
One hundred and eighty people were in attendance as Nino Folino and then Enzo and Iliana Incandela provided a grand night of music and dancing.
On a more serious note, a video was shown that was produced by Roxanne Schorbach of the Comboni Mission Center in Covina, Calif., that was based on her book, “The New Republic of South Sudan,” which is a photographic record of her visit to that country as it became independent on July 9, 2011. Later in the evening, Sister Madge Karecki, from the Archdiocese of Chicago Mission Promotion Office, spoke about what mission means in the modern church and the particular role of the Comboni Missionaries in fulfilling this work.
Fr. Maurizio also gave a farewell address, as he is leaving the Peace Corner Youth Center, which he founded in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, to begin missionary work in Kenya. Fr. Maurizio said, “My work is done here. I leave the Peace Corner in good hands, and although I am sad to leave so many friends behind, I am looking forward to embracing the continent that first inspired Daniel Comboni.”
Master of Ceremonies Steve Fiorentino introduced Paul Laton, Studio Head of FIAT of Highland Park, who accepted the Comboni Benefactor Award on behalf of Mr. Fields, who could not be present due to urgent family business.
This year’s raffle proved to be the largest and most successful in the history of the Comboni Mission Center, and although it was national in scope, all three prizes were awarded to people living in the Chicago area.
The FIAT was awarded to Carol Davidson of Franklin Park, the $1,000 was won by Loree Kilian of Chicago, and the iPad2 went to Dan Spata of St. Charles. Dan said that the iPad would go to his go-kart-racing 10-year-old son.