Playing sports at a young age can be a vital tool in developing skills that can benefit a person later in life.
Such is the mission of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), and in order to keep that mission going strong, it takes a community-wide effort.
For the past seven years, the diocesan Office of Parish Giving and Annual Catholic Appeal have hosted the CYO Golf Classic to benefit the athletic and spiritual needs of the youth of the diocese.
On June 16, over 100 golfers played the challenging course at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, L.I., to show their support for CYO sports.
“The purpose of the CYO golf outing is to raise the funds needed to provide for the CYO programs in our parishes and also to provide youth ministry in the diocese,” said Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development.
Msgr. Gigantiello was recently inducted into the CYO Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts each year in organizing the golf outing along with Rita Damato from the Office of Parish Giving.
This year, $100,000 was raised, a portion of which helps fund the CYO programs throughout the year as well as support the entire youth ministry of the diocese. A majority of the funding is used to help parishes rent facilities throughout Brooklyn and Queens for practices and games, since not all parishes are lucky enough to have their own facilities.
“I’m extremely grateful,” said CYO Director Rob Caldera. “Each year, the money raised from the golf outing has greatly helped me expand this organization. Over the next year, we plan to even expand more.”
CYO has big plans for the upcoming year. In addition to adding the new sports of flag football and boys’ volleyball, the organization is looking to institute a youth summer camp for next year to be held at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston.
Nearly 20,000 children from just under 125 parishes participated in 13 sports and events this past year. With more kids playing, a trickle-down effect then allows the mission of the CYO to be further spread throughout the diocese.
“It’s a two-fold role that sports plays,” Msgr. Gigantiello said. “First of all, it’s a vehicle of evangelization for young people to keep them connected to the Church and their parish.
“And then second is to also help them to develop not necessarily their sports skills but to help them to realize what it means to be a team player, to work together and how we’re called to support and assist each other to achieve a goal. It’s a way of sharing our talents with others so that the whole team benefits from it.”
At this year’s outing, special guests included Judge Patricia Dimango – who appears on CBS’ “Hot Bench.”
St. John’s University’s former basketball coach Lou Carnesecca was honored with an award but was unable to attend.
Even though summer vacation is now here, the CYO will continue to be in full swing over the next few months with the third annual summer basketball league, which wraps up in early August.
Shortly after that, it’s on to another year of CYO sports and youth ministry activities in the diocese, made possible, in part, by the annual golf outing.
Just like it takes teamwork on the field, court, diamond and even the pool, a team effort by the Office of Parish Giving keeps the CYO running strong.
The annual CYO Golf Outing, conducted by Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development, took place Thursday, June 16 at North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, L.I.
Msgr. Gigantiello and honored guest Judge Patricia DiMango with the contingent from Our Lady of Snows, North Floral Park.
More than 110 golfers participated including Carl and Anthony Bonomo and Friend.
Foursome shows Michael Romersa, the event sponsor, second from right, with Msgr. Gigantiello and Judge DiMango.
(Photos © Rita Damato)
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.