When three local parishes combined to make a new one, it brought confusion for some and strength for many. The churches involved were St. Hugh in Lyons, St. Mary in Riverside and Mater Christi in North Riverside. St. Hugh closed and the two remaining churches continued services, absorbing the congregation of the three churches to become St. Paul VI Parish. Confusing, yes, but it is working.

And each parish folded into the new one its strengths, courtesy of the people who forged strong bonds through organizations such as the Holy Name Society at Mater Christi Church.

It has long been the primary organization for men of the parish. Going back, my late father-in-law was one of the first officers. The group consisted of men of all ages working together, socializing, volunteering and doing whatever ministry was needed. It continues to be strong with many current members being second generation.

The group meets monthly to plan their projects and generally have a good time. Which brings me to their most successful project — the annual Turkey Shoot. Held around Thanksgiving in the school basement at Mater Christi, the Turkey Shoot – no guns involved! – offers a bevy of food raffle prizes, including many turkeys, There are also game booths, which offer food as prizes.  I can’t tell you how much money I have spent trying to win a prasky.

COVID stopped the popular event and for the last two years they’ve held the Turkey Shoot virtually. However, the Holy Name Society returns to an in-person event on Nov. 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the basement of the school (now known as the St. Hugh Faith Formation Center), 2400 10th Ave. in North Riverside. I suggest you get there early, so you won’t miss out on the many items — they go quick.

While I always went to the original Turkey Shoot, I do like the virtual basket raffle — this year I won two baskets, which I’m sharing with the family. With food prizes that are both Italian and Czech, like houska and panettone, I can’t go wrong.