Priest gets personal with piglet to raise funds

Father Rudy Juarez, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, plants a kiss on Pork Chop, held by Abe Schropp, June 13 as the culmination of a parish youth fundraiser.

At St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, 13 youths and five chaperones have been raising funds to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City in November. In April, the group launched a “Kiss the Pig” fundraiser in which Father Rudy Juarez, pastor; Lila Scott, office administrator; Chuck Brock, youth minister; and Cheryl Schropp, volunteer and chaperone, each had a homemade piggy bank located near the church’s entry.

Each person agreed to kiss a live pig if his or her bank had the most donations in it on April 30. Fr. Juarez won the competition with $512.20 in his bank; the bank of runner-up Brock held $194.41. Scott raised $169.91, and Schropp squealed behind with $96.13.

Fr. Juarez kissed Pork Chop, a piglet donated by Mike Donovan & Sons Farm, during a hoedown June 13 at the site of St. Patrick’s future church. Parishioners gathered around a stage with their cameras ready and shouted “Beso!” (“kiss” in Spanish) to encourage Fr. Juarez.

Father Ken Kuntz, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Iowa City, and Father Mike Phillips, pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, were onstage to witness the event. They decided the first kiss didn’t count, so audience members shouted “Encore!” until a redo was completed.


Several hundred dollars was raised during the event, which also featured bluegrass and country music, food, kids’ games, face painting, gothic photos and door prizes.

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