By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
GRAND MOUND —Surrounded by paper football decorations, members of Ss. Philip & James Parish stirred chili and chicken noodle soup by the roaster-full. Piping-hot cornbread muffins sat on paper plates, ready for the next hungry customer. An assortment of homemade cakes and bars filled four or five folding tables nearby, promising to make customers’ dessert decision a tough one.
It was all part of the parish’s annual Soup-er Bowl Sunday luncheon Feb. 5, which raises money for a different cause each year. Putting on the event is a team effort, according to parishioner Paul Rock, who helped prepare and serve the soup.
Game prep starts the day before the meal, when parishioners huddle in the church kitchen and chop meat and vegetables for the soups. The ingredients are mixed together and refrigerated overnight. The next morning, hours before the luncheon begins, the chili and chicken noodle soups go into the roasters and are heated to the perfect serving temperature. Parishioners bake desserts at home to be served at the luncheon.
Confirmation students earned service hours by helping serve beverages and carrying trays for older diners. “It’s a good way to get the young folks to interact with the old folks,” said event organizer Mary Ann Schanze.
Andrew Rock, a student at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been helping out since high school and said he enjoys coming back to help his dad, Paul, prepare and serve the food.
The luncheon wasn’t always held on Super Bowl Sunday, according to Schanze. It began in 1998 as a benefit meal for a young man who had been in an accident. “After that, we decided it was a good thing for fellowship and the community, so we started having one every year.” The event became more popular when the date was set for Super Bowl Sunday, she said. The luncheon attracts Grand Mound residents from other churches as well as Catholics from nearby communities. “It’s not just for the parish, it’s for everyone,” she said.
On the morning of this year’s luncheon, cars overflowed the parking lot and lined the streets surrounding the small Clinton County town’s Catholic church. Longtime Ss. Philip & James parishioner Jean Bradshaw decided to beat the post-Mass rush and enjoyed a bowl of chicken noodle soup as her friend Kyle Jackson, a member of Grace Church in Grand Mound, enjoyed chili. “I always go for the chicken noodle,” Bradshaw said. They sat across from members of St. Joseph Parish-DeWitt, including Angela Mowry. “I get the chili; I’ve been a fan for years,” said Mowry, a former Texan who admits she likes a little spice in her food.
After Mass at Ss. Philip & James, parishioners headed downstairs and the crowd appeared as if it would overflow the tables.
Funds from the luncheon go into the parish’s general fund to be used for repair or restoration work on the parish, or any other cause the parish deems important that year, Schanze said. This year’s funds will likely be used to help fix the water heater in the parish hall. “There’s always something that needs to be done, fixed up, taken care of,” she said.