The Capuchins to have a ball with bocce contest

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 24, 2015

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Capuchin friars in Detroit and their fundraising allies plan to roll out a bocce event in Sterling Heights after the new year begins.

The fourth annual Bocce with the Brothers fundraiser will take place at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights Jan. 22.

Michael Schodowski, founder of Bocce with the Brothers, said the fundraiser will be an indoor “strolling party” and will feature a buffet and a 19-piece band. Guests can look forward to getting a drink at a cash bar, bidding in a silent auction and, of course, playing bocce ball.

“Usually we’ll have 250 to 300 guests,” he said. “The front area, we make it into a lounge, and we have entertainment there. Everyone plays some bocce ball with the Capuchin brothers, and you get a chance to meet them as well.”

Bocce is a game in which opposing sides attempt to roll balls closest to a special ball called a pallino. Schodowski said the bocce portion of the event doesn’t really have a prize for winning, and “we just have it all for fun.”

According to Schodowski, the fundraising event has raised around $75,000 over its history for the Capuchins, a Catholic religious organization of Franciscan friars. He said he has been involved with the Capuchins for around three decades in some volunteer or fundraising capacity.

Schodowski explained that the Capuchin Soup Kitchen has locations in Detroit that distribute food, clothes and other services to the needy.

“They have no government assistance, and they have two locations: the one on Meldrum and the other on Conner Street,” he said. “They provide about 2,000 meals per day.”

In addition, Capuchin Ministries has programs that deal with substance abuse, urban farming and more. Money from the bocce fundraiser will be distributed to programs like those as well, Schodowski said.

Father Larry Webber, executive director of the Capuchin Development Office, said the Capuchins appreciate financial assistance, as the older friars need health care and the younger friars need education. He called the event wonderful and a fun time because bocce is “something that anybody could play.”

“The people there at Penna’s are just very warm and supportive of the Capuchins,” Webber added.

The fourth annual Bocce with the Brothers fundraiser will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 22, 2016, at Villa Penna, 43985 Hayes Road in Sterling Heights. Advance tickets cost $50 each and may be bought by calling (313) 579-2100, ext. 153.

Learn more about Capuchin Ministries by visiting www.thecapuchins. org or