Basilica Block Party = marriage broker

| June 22, 2015 | 0 Comments
Hayes-Ruoff wedding pic

William Ruoff and Katie Hayes on their wedding day in 1998.

Katie Hayes was pulled into working on the very first Basilica Block Party in 1995.

William Ruoff, her future husband, didn’t show up on the event’s second year, but without the block party, there might never have been a Hayes-Ruoff wedding. Nor scores of other weddings.

Hayes shared in an email interview with The Catholic Spirit the story of how the annual block party outside the big Minneapolis church — July 10-11 this year — played a role in their marriage.

Katie’s mother, Sue Hayes, was working with Basilica rector Father Michael O’Connell on duplicating the concept of the block party that had proved successful at Old St. Patrick’s, a parish near Chicago’s Loop that had found new life with an influx of young adults.

Hayes & Ruoff 2015

Katie and William in 2015

Father Jack Wall, Old St. Pat’s pastor, was serving as a resource for the Basilica when he said, “Kate, get involved in this event. You will be engaged within 18 months.”

Hayes recalled, “As a grateful Basilica parishioner, a former attendee of Old St. Pat’s Block Party, and great fan of both of these great priests, I agreed to help recruit 250 volunteers for the first event.

“Thankfully, Father O’Connell had asked an amazing woman, Lisa Shaughnessy, to be my partner. We hit it off right away,” she added.

Instead of getting 250 volunteers however, the pair’s responsibility grew to recruiting more than 1,400 volunteers.

“We worked day and night for months,” Hayes remembered.

“Having had such a rewarding experience working on the first block party, Lisa and I wanted to continue to volunteer our time to the Basilica,” Hayes noted. “We joined the New Member Dinner Committee.”

One of the people Shaughnessy invited to join the Basilica parish was William Ruoff, a friend from college who had moved from Arizona to the Twin Cities seven months after the first block party.

Ruoff attended a new member dinner in February, 1996, and that’s when Katie met William. But let’s let her tell the story:

“William came in and I could see that Lisa knew him. I said: ‘You never told me about him!’ I smiled at my handsome husband-to-be as they took his photograph as a new parishioner. The photo was between the pictures of two popes.”

Was it love at first sight?

“For me, yes,” Hayes said. “For him, he says yes, too (smiley face inserted here).”

The couple both worked on that second Basilica Block Party and this year celebrated the 17th anniversary of their wedding — at the Basilica of St. Mary, of course — May 30. They both work in sales and management and are the parents of three, Michael, 16, Mary 14 and Monica 12. They’re now are members of St. Victoria Parish in Victoria, and no longer volunteer at the block party.

Hayes offered that working at the Basilica Block Party or similar volunteer activity is the kind of environment that nurtures relationships.

“First of all, out of giving, we receive,” she explained.

“When one volunteers, one is doing it from the heart. One is oneself with no agenda. One is hoping to do a good thing for the community and to do the right thing in God’s eyes,” she said.

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Category: Local News