By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Father Andrew Rauenbuehler was thinking about ideas for building community and growing in discipleship with students at Assumption High School where he serves as chaplain. He also serves as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.
He wanted something fun to do outdoors, an opportunity for students to hang out. A tailgate party during Assumption home football games might be the answer, he thought. It would be held during junior varsity games and conclude in plenty of time for students to find seats in the stadium.
However, weather conditions caused an interference for the first event. Pending thunderstorms led to the varsity game going ahead of the junior varsity game. The tailgate party, originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m., moved to 4 p.m. Students attended, but not many. Those who did enjoyed pulled pork.
Fast forward to Sept. 9, when Father Rauenbuehler hosted the second of five tailgate parties. He had help from Abbey Heinrichs, coordinator of youth ministry for Our Lady of Victory. They set up a cornhole (beanbag toss) game, turned on the music and set out snack foods. The priest grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Heinrichs also helps find funding for the food and volunteer help as needed.
Senior Charlie Leinart said the tailgate “helps us build community and is a lot of fun. We can play cornhole and talk. This is a great new tradition and then we can go watch some football.”
Several female Assumption students said the tailgate was “peaceful,” “relaxing” and “fun.” “We can come together as one and bond —make new friends.”
Father Rauenbuehler is already thinking of other events he can host once the football season is done to continue building community. “We’re starting new traditions,” he said.