[Silent Auction bidders for the Dinner with Bishop Soto AND Polish Dinner with Two Polish Priests finally had their fill of a wonderful evening of Food, Fun and Fellowship! Below are short articles written by Mike and Laura Blakey as hosts of Dinner with Bishop Soto.and by Liz Ponce for the Polish Dinner. They both captured the ambiance of a wonderful celebration. You can view the photos from both events in the Gallery.]

Dinner with Bishop Soto

On October 13, 2023, we had the honor of hosting the Dinner with Bishop Jaime Soto of the Sacramento Diocese. The dinner guests were the bidders for this silent auction item at the Energize Fundraiser Luncheon held last May 27, 2023.

We were blessed with beautiful fall weather, allowing us to dine in our backyard patio. The event planning started weeks in advance. Members of the Secretariat who sponsored this event took the lead in staging and coordinating every detail of the event, all the way down to loaning chinaware from multiple families to make the evening incredibly special.

The day of the event began with volunteers from the Knights of Columbus arriving in the morning to help prepare our yard for this beautiful event. Other volunteers from our Cursillo Community arranged a beautiful table for 20 people, helped us arrange the flowers and placed a ton of pumpkins from the garden in just the right places creating a fun and festive atmosphere. The party really began when Executive Chef, Jeff Williams and Sous Chef Jenny Williams and the rest of the Secretariat members and their spouses arrived in the early afternoon to start preparing for a fine dining experience.

Each Secretariat member - and their spouses - attended to two dinner guests exclusively. The dinner menu included pumpkin soup, scallop salad, a choice of chicken cordon bleu or salmon with wild rice and a mix of sauteed vegetables. Sobon Family Winery donated a variety of premium wines. Wine pairing and training on different types of wines were poured by our fellow Cursillista, Elaine Sobon Stenoski while giving a brief description of each wine. Guests were served with a special cheese cake with brandied cherry sauce while sipping Zinfandel Port. To end the evening, Secretariat members serenaded the dinner guests with an impromptu singing of De Colores!

What a pleasure it was to be at such an elegant event with such a joyful group! The evening was so relaxed, and filled with people that were just happy to be there, not just the guests, but also the Team serving us. This experience was truly a gift to us. We were truly blessed with a wonderful evening of delicious food, lovely people and mostly feeling the JOY in taking care of each other.

By: Mike and Laura Blakey

[Laura lived her Cursillo in 2018 and Mike in 2023. Mike is an active member of the Knights of Columbus. They are both engaged in the Works of Mercy ministry at Good Shepherd feeding the homeless.]


Polish Dinner

With Fr. Sylvester Kwiatkowski and Fr. Leon Juchniewicz

On October 20, 2023 at 5:00p.m. we were greeted by Father Sylvester, at Saint Maria Gorettiā€™s Rectory, dressed in his Polish attire, very colorful.

From the minute Fr. Sylvester opened the door, he made all of us feel so welcome! And once we were inside the hallway, the aroma coming from the kitchen, told us we were in for a real treat.

We were blessed with two wonderful hosts for the evening, Father Sylvester, and Father Leon. Each telling us stories of their homeland, showing us on a map the location of where they came from.

Father Sylvester, had turned on the blue tube, (TV) and we were entertained with Polish dancers with an orchestra. Even though we were watching them on the big screen, we felt like we were right there in the front row.  This was one of the many entertainments of the evening.  

Father Leon arrived with a platter of Polish appetizers, an assortment of cheese, pickles, bread, salami, olives, and Polish Sausage from Chicago. After some wine with appetizers, and good conversations, we took our seats at the beautiful table set before us.

After the blessing we enjoyed a wonderful dinner.  While at the dinner table, we also noticed the beautiful paintings done by Father Sylvester, an acrylic artist.

The Polish dinner that was prepared by fellow Cursillista, Michelle Hayes, and her mother Ms. Becky Sliwa, began with a green salad, followed by meat perogies, golabki (cabbage rolls), seasoned boil potatoes, asparagus with two traditional sides, a cucumber salad, and an apple carrot salad made by Father Sylvester. Michelle was a little concerned about me since I am known as a picky eater. She had nothing to worry about.  The food was DELICIOUS I had never tasted Polish food before, and the others around the table all agreed. YUMMY!

Our table group was like a fine bottle of wine, we all enjoyed ourselves. I know Father Sylvester and Father Leon  had a wonderful time, too. 

Our second entertainment of the evening, was from our two-host serenading us all evening with several Polish songs, while having our dessert Kolaczki (Polish cookies bought in from Chicago by Ms. Becky. Father Leon was playing his accordion, with Father Sylvester singing along. One of the best dinners I have been to.

 Those who joined me for the evening, were Mike & Monica Small, Terry & Ruth Defrates, Diane Marcotte, Monica Goodale, and Sharon Dorricott.

Thank you, Michelle, and your kitchen crew, Ms. Becky, Margie Balch, and Grace Garcia, for a wonderful, home style Polish dinner. No complaints!

By Liz Ponce

[Liz lived her Cursillo in the Oakland Diocese in 1995. She is the current coordinator  for the Lazarus Ministry at Good Shepherd. She guides bereaved families in planning for their loved ones' funeral services.]