During fundraiser, priest makes ‘longest shot ever by a priest on a playground’

Father Jarrett Konrade Father Jarett Konrade, pastor of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Beloit, Kansas, made an impressive basketball shot during a fundraiser and the moment was the Image of the Week on “EWTN News In Depth.” | Credit: “EWTN News In Depth”

Father Jarett Konrade, pastor of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Beloit, Kansas, made an impressive basketball shot recently during a fundraiser, landing him on the “Images of the Week” for “EWTN News In Depth.”

Two years ago, his parish suffered a fire in one of its church towers, and parishioners are still raising money to pay for the repairs. On Nov. 7, Konrade announced a creative way to raise funds ahead of the #iGiveCatholic GivingTuesday on Nov. 28 — a “foosketball” challenge (a mix of foosball and basketball).

For several weeks ahead of GivingTuesday, Konrade and Father Andrew Rockers, associate pastor of the parish, took part in challenges to encourage donations while giving students at the school something to cheer for. The two went head to head in “foosketball” and a one-on-one basketball game. But it was a trick shot from Konrade that made this Catholic community’s record book.

In a video shared on the school’s Instagram, two high school students said that Konrade would be attempting to make “the longest [basketball] shot ever by a priest on a playground.”

After 85 attempts, standing from a fire escape 76.9 feet away, Konrade found the basket with his basketball and an eruption of cheers followed the impressive shot. 

Through their #iGiveCatholic campaign and a matching grant, St. John’s raised $45,822.24 for the parish and $274,882.21 for the school, bringing their grand total to $320,704.25.

Along the way, the school reached several milestones in terms of funds gathered. At $50,000, the students were treated to a movie sponsored by a small business in Beloit.

The milestone of $75,000 and $100,000 means several administrators and teachers will spin a “Wheel of Good/Bad Fortune” on Jan. 7, 2024. The wheel includes “good” items — such as gift cards to local restaurants — as well as some “not so good” items like the ice bucket challenge, eating cream pie with no hands, boiled or raw egg roulette, and milking a goat.

Since $125,000 was raised, Konrade will be going skydiving. 

Finally, Bishop Jerry Vincke of the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, promised to walk from Glasco, Kansas, to St. John’s Parish as part of the fundraiser. This walk will take him more than six hours. In a video shared on Instagram, he said he will complete it before St. John’s inauguration of their restored church on Jan. 7, 2024. 

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