Successful biennial auction ‘a collage of things God had a hand in’

Photos show Mary Immaculate parishioners and visitors having a good time June 21.. (Photos courtesy of Mark Leggett)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — The first Mass ever celebrated in Daviess County, Mo., was held in the Gallatin home of Joe Peters on June 21, 1947. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in St. Joseph sent street preachers to the town, a tour begun in Lock Springs in 1945, which would continue for four more years in Daviess County.

Street preaching paid off in Gallatin. In April 1950, the building of a church seating 125 was begun — the first Catholic church in the county. A contest had been held to select the church’s name, and Mary Immaculate won. The church was dedicated Aug. 22, 1950, the Feast of the Queenship of the Virgin Mary. The new parish was a mission of Hamilton.

That was 67 years ago. The parish continues as a mission of Hamilton and is still small and close-knit, comprised of about 30 full-time families with average Sunday attendance around 60-70. However, during the summer months Catholics from nearby Lake Viking bring the weekly attendance to 80-100 with big surges of 150-200 plus during the holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. In fact, Leggett said, “When we did the parish remodel a year or so ago, we added the capability to stream the Mass over to the parish hall so we can accommodate the overflow. Our church is full at 90. During the 4th of July weekend, we topped 200 again and were able to accommodate them.”

In recent years, parishioners have organized parish auctions held at the nearby Lake Viking Clubhouse to raise funds for projects including a renovation of the interior of the church. For several years, the auction was dubbed the largest Catholic event held in Daviess county.

When Father Bob Rost was assigned to pastor Mary Immaculate parish, he suggested an auction to benefit the parish. Parishioner Mark Leggett and his wife Missy enthusiastically agreed — they had worked on auctions at St. Therese Parish in Parkville for years and watched the proceeds increase dramatically.

Leggett said the proceeds from the first auction in 2007 totaled $17,000, which surprised parish leaders. Due to the amount of work involved in organization, they decided to hold the auction every other year.

And every other year, proceeds from the auction increased. Proceeds from the 2015 auction netted the parish $25,000. Since 2007, the parish has given 10 percent of the proceeds to organizations in the community. A social means committee determines and suggests respective needs.
This year, proceeds from auction six were earmarked to finish the parish prayer garden and to give back to the community. The results of the auction surprised and delighted everyone involved.

Leggett said, “Our little parish in Gallatin did something that few parishes or organizations have ever done. We shared in a historic moment as the auction was possibly the single largest fundraising event ever held in Daviess County. One of our parishioners suggested that we are “the little parish that could!”

Net proceeds from the auction exceeded $50,000, and Fund-a-Need proceeds topped $15,000, allowing the parish to make equal donations to two community organizations of about $7,500.

Mary Immaculate Parish’s annual budget has grown from around $40,000 five years ago to $78,000, and the auction proceeds have allowed it to do some great things for the church and community, Leggett said, including paying off the debt on the Parish Hall, remodeling the church interior, and paying $55,000 cash for one half of the new rectory built in Hamilton two years ago.

This year, at the suggestion of several parish members, it was decided to add a “Fund a Need” during the live auction. It was agreed that 100 percent of the proceeds from the Fund a Need item would be split 50/50 with two local programs: The Gallatin School Back Pak Buddy program and the Active Age Resource Center in Gallatin for local Seniors.

That item went crazy, Leggett said a week after the auction. “It looks like after all the accounting we should top in net proceeds more than $50,000!  Auction night bidders donated $13,000 to the ‘Fund a Need’ and as of the following week they had more than $15,000 with a few more donors possible.  Mary Immaculate Parish was able to make the largest donations ever to both programs.

The little parish that could, did.




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November 29, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph