St. John's Byzantine Catholic Cathedral - Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh - Cameo Club
CAMEO CLUB - Members 2013
CAMEO CLUB Officers - Anna Marie Wargo, Fr. Dennis Bogda, Patricia Bovee, Carol Lawson, Ernest Varhola, Eugene Lucas, Leonard Stagon
CAMEO Club History
For years, the Holy Name Society was the premier men's organization for the Cathedral. However, as the years went by, the men lost interest in the Holy Name Society. Membership declined, few functions were planned and a general malaise infiltrated the club.
Because of this, Monsignor John Bilock decided that the club needed a shot in the arm to encourage the men of the parish to again work energetically and enthusiastically for the benefit of their souls and the betterment of the Cathedral.
Monsignor Bilock called for the men of the Cathedral to establish a new organization for the Cathedral. He organized a committee to draft the by-laws for the new club and to solicit men to join the club. The by-laws were drafted, a name selected. It was to be called the St. Johns Byzantine Catholic Men's Organization (CAMEO Club). The purpose of this organization is to encourage and promote spiritual, cultural and social growth of the men of St. John's Cathedral.
On April 11, 1970, 50 men gathered in the Cathedral basement of Dixon Street.
The first election was held. John Kuklinca was elected President, Ernie Varhola, Vice-President, Paul Kundrat, Secretary/Treasurer, Nick Kovello, Public Relations Officer and Board members Bob Bodnar and Ivan Braszo. The first order of business was to adopt the by-laws and approve the name of the club. Both motions were passed unanimously. Monsignor John Bilock was appointed Spiritual Advisor. Subsequent Spiritual advisors were Monsignor Judson Procyk, Father Bob Karl, Father John Kudrick, Father Stephen Wahal, Father Simeon Sibenik and the Archpriest Dennis Bogda.
The CAMEO Club was to meet monthly. There were 4 members assigned to each of the months of the year. It was the mandate of these four members to plan the Club's activities for their particular month. These activities were many. They included pre-Lenten and Oktoberfest dinner dances, turkey and ham bingos, picnics, raffles, Nite at the Races fundraisers, dinner trips to Weirton Racetrack, Mother's Day brunch, Pirate games, retreats at the Benedictine monastery in Butler and speakers at our monthly meeting.
As you can see, we were a busy club, and we needed the participation of all members to accomplish what we did.
Our goal was to contribute $10,000.00 per year to the Cathedral. Our financial base was provided by our 20 week raffle. We had two a year which generated $7000.00 for our treasury. We had Christmas and Easter raffles. It became difficult to sell a thousand tickets, we eliminated this raffle. We had a 20/20 club raffle that included a prime rib dinner for 200 members. During the evening, numbers were eliminated; the last number drawn won the $1000.00.
We replaced the raffles with the dinner dances. These dances flourished at the beginning, but over time began to wane because of lack of ticket sales.
However in the last past 40 years the CAMEO club has generated over $200,000.00 to the Cathedral. In addition CAMEO has contributed regularly to the Seminary, Mt. St. Macrina, Salvation Army and other worthy charities.
When the Club began in 1970, probably the average of the membership was in the late forties. Today, we have approximately 31 members and the average age of the membership is probably in the early seventies.
At the September 24, 2008 CAMEO meeting, the members decided to invite women of the Cathedral to join the CAMEO Club. We would no longer be known as a men's only club. Our official name will be the CAMEO club.
Today, we need an additional influx of the young men and women of the Cathedral to provide the shot in the arm that Monsignor Bilock felt we needed forty years ago.
Come on board, it is a worthy endeavor and I will guarantee that along with the work involved you will have fun. Remember it is for your church.