‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ tournament a hole in oneBy: Laura Ball Springfield MO
First-year event lauds $12,000 for St. Mary Catholic School
On Mon., April 16, the first annual Everybody Loves Raymond golf tournament took place at Hickory Hills Country Club, Springfield. Twenty-five teams from the Springfield and surrounding area came together to celebrate Msgr. Raymond Orf’s 57th anniversary as a priest in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and to raise money for St. Mary Catholic School in Joplin, MO.
The genesis of the tournament came to Jim Hennessy and Larry Jansen in September of last year during a golf game with Msgr. Orf. Hennessy got a hole in one, and Msgr. Orf expressed his disappointment that in all of his years of golf, he has never gotten a hole in one. The idea of the golf tournament was born surrounding the idea that in a day’s time, Msgr. Orf would be given 25 chances at a hole in one … at the same hole. As Jansen and Hennessy became serious about planning the event, Msgr. Orf chose St. Mary Catholic School in Joplin as its beneficiary. The school was destroyed by the Joplin EF-5 tornado in May of 2011.
The idea exploded within Immaculate Conception Parish, where Msgr. Orf, although retired, is visible in ministry, even teaching religion in Immaculate Conception School.
Many people were involved in the planning of the event and its subsequent festivites, including David Pomerenke, who provided all the signage, and Tom Wamsley who championed the process. Silent action items included gift cards from various local restaurants, a hot-air balloon ride from RE/MAX House of Brokers, Springfield Cardinals merchandise, and an autographed Payne Stewart golf ball. Servicemaster donated a special golf cart for use by Msgr. Orf that was named the “Pope Mobile”.
All 25 teams had a chance to golf with Monsignor on the #2 Hole, as he tried to finally make his hole in one.
Teams included one team from Joplin and others included various diocesan staff and lay people. Both Bp. James V. Johnston and Bp.-Emeritus John J. Leibrecht came out to show appreciation for Monsignor and support St. Mary School. The two bishops were named “Cardinals For a Day” by event planners.
The day of the tournament was “blessed with beautiful weather,” beamed Msgr. Orf.
Mayor of Springfield, James O’Neal, designated April 16, 2012 “Monsignor Raymond V. Orf Day.” The official proclamation was presented to a surprised Msgr. Orf in a leather-bound binder.
“It greatly humbles me with all that they did [event planners],” Msgr. Orf said. “It was a tremendous day and very pleasant to meet all the golfers.”
Ordained a priest in 1955, a year before the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was established, Msgr. Orf has been in the Church of Southern Missouri since the beginning.
“It is a great pride to be a priest and serve the great people of Southern Missouri,” Msgr. Orf said.
“It’s been a challenge at times, but I have enjoyed every minute of it,” the Flinthill Missouri native said. “Being at Immaculate Conception now is just great.”
Msgr. Orf served a broad area of the Diocese before retiring in 2002: West Plains, White Church, Willow Springs, Mansfield, Ava, Advance, Glennon, Branson, Kimberling City, Forsyth, Kelso, Carthage, and Lebanon. Like many of retired priests in the Diocese, he continues to be active in ministry.
“I’m retired,” he said, “but I haven’t found out what retirement is yet!”
The event has raised over $12,000 for St. Mary Catholic School. Renee Motazedi, Development Director for Joplin Area Catholic Schools (JACS), joined the effort at the tournament.
“It was a gorgeous day and we are so grateful for the great turnout and commitment from everyone from the planning committee to the teams and volunteers,” Motazedi said. While the decision about how the money will be spent remains undecided, “It is wonderful to know it is there to be used to help us rebuild our school system.”
Students from St. Mary School sent hand-written thank you letters to all the businesses that contributed to the event.
Did Msgr. Orf get his hole in one? He came very close, hitting the pin.
Mark your calendars now: Msgr. Orf will continue his quest for the elusive hole in one on April 22, 2013, the date of next year’s tournament.