Relevant Radio® friends turned out in record numbers for the 8th Annual Christ Brings Hope Banquet in Minneapolis at the J.W. Marriott – Mall of America on April 26, 2019, with the theme of “Miracles of God’s Love.” More than a thousand guests honored the Most Reverend Bernard Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, for the presentation of the Christ Brings Hope award by Rev. Francis “Fr. Rocky” Hoffman, Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio, and Tom Vorpahl, Chairman.
Attendees gave an exuberant standing ovation to Archbishop Hebda in gratitude for his courageous and humble leadership. The Archbishop remarked on the importance of Relevant Radio in the work of evangelization, calling it the “gold standard” of Catholic radio. Also, in attendance was Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, who stated that Relevant Radio is “the glue that helps keep the Archdiocese together.”
Michael O’Neill, host of the Relevant Radio weekend show The Miracle Hunter®, spoke on a number of Church-approved miracles that open our eyes to God’s love, including the recent Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires. Exhorting attendees to put faith into action – Patrick Madrid shared a powerful story of a man taking a risk to save a life. Also present were show hosts Father Richard Simon, Glen Lewerenz and Paul Sadek.
In an effort to help schools and their communities learn about Relevant Radio, a generous anonymous matching grant of $300,000 for tuition assistance was made available. Friends of 49 Catholic schools participated in the banquet and the match!
Also honored was Jan Sweere, for whom daughter Char Nelson accepted the posthumous Caritas Dei award. Sweere’s legacy gift made almost a decade ago, not only miraculously helped keep the network afloat, but allowed Relevant Radio to enter additional major markets. Joel Hazzard, former CEO for the Sweere’s company, gave a heartfelt testimony of Jan’s witness of faith in her business practices, and shared his decision to return to the Catholic Church – thanks to Jan’s past encouragement.
Special thanks to banquet co-chairs Mary Jo Feltl and Judy Schierman and all the volunteers who worked with so much heart for this evening celebrating the miracles of God’s love. Thank you to all who attended and to our sponsors for making the event such a success!
Twin Cities listeners are invited to mark their calendars for the next Christ Brings Hope banquet on April 24, 2020!
Photography by Dave Hrbacek, Elizabeth Groshek