Providing scholarships for youth to experience christ fully alive
A night of food, reflection, and spiritual depth
Sunday, January 15, 2023 • 6:00pm
St. Catharine Parish Center
“...for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20)
This teaching expresses that with just a little faith, you can accomplish great things. Gary Allwein, owner of Mustard Seed Catering, sees the faith of his wife Christina come alive in the lives of children and adults to this very day. Although she passed in 2007, Christina’s faith and passion for Christ lives on through her husband, nine children and the countless children she continues to help even after her earthly life.
The Christina Ann Allwein Catholic Retreat Donor Advised Fund, created by Gary Allwein, supports Christina’s belief in connecting youth with God by sending them to Catholic retreats and summer camps.
“She always said that if you just got them there, then God will do the rest,” said Gary when asked about Christina’s strong support for Catholic retreats.
For the first two years, the family focused on Steubenville Youth Conferences, which invites young people to participate in a life-changing experience with Jesus Christ. All of the nine Allwein children attended either a Steubenville Youth Conference, Catholic Youth Summer Camp or participated in NET ministries.
“Tina loved sending the kids to retreats,” said Gary, who also attended his first Catholic retreat at Christina’s urging. “It has been beautiful to witness the impact it made on each of the kids’ lives.”
When Catholic Youth Summer Camp became popular, the Allwein’s witnessed several family members, including three children, attend and enjoy their time there. Gary said the relationship with CYSC felt natural after seeing how it impacted his family.
“CYSC gave the kids a path to youth leadership,” said Gary, whose son, Jotham, became a youth leader at CYSC after his experience as a camper.
The Allwein’s expanded the reach of their fund when they connected with NET Ministries, which challenges young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church. Several of the Allwein children and extended family attended NET Retreats right out of high school. One son continues his relationship with NET Ministries through a full-time job in their marketing department.
Heidi, one of Gary and Christine’s daughters, participated in both CYSC and NET Ministries.
“It formed me into the woman Christ wanted me to be and opened my heart up to so much more,” she explained.“This is what I want for the next generation.”
To help raise money for the Christina Ann Allwein Catholic Retreat Donor Advised Fund, Gary and his family host the Christina Ann Allwein Memorial Dinner at St. Catharine of Siena Parish each year. At this dinner, guests enjoy musical performances, dramatic theater and testimonies from campers who attended retreats or summer camps, all while reflecting and remembering Christina Ann Allwein.
“People who attend get a good night of reflecting on Tina and seeing what God is doing in the kids’ lives,” Gary said of the memorial dinner.“Tina touched people’s hearts her whole life.”
“This is our way of using what our mom’s legacy was,” Heidi added.
Reprinted from The Catholic Foundation newsletter, Blessings, Winter 2015.
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