Family is focus at Good Shepherd Festival Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- From preparation to the actual event, the Good Shepherd Parish Family Festival engages family members of all ages.

Well known for the sale of pfeffernuesse cookies, the festival will be held Sunday, Nov. 13, at St. James Church located on St. James Ct. near Mills and Mound Sts.

The festival begins with a Children’s Mass at 8:30, followed by the opening of the trash and treasure sale in the school basement as well as the bakery, snack bar, silent auction and raffles, pfefferenuesse sale, and children’s games in the school gym. The chicken dinner starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m.

Cookies go back 40 years

Co-chairs Karen Grosse, Carol Marshall, and Joe Tiller aren’t sure when the festival started at St. James, but they know pfeffernuesse cookie baking began 40 years ago.

Dorothy Dittmann is credited with the idea of adding the small German-originated cookie to the festival. She was a school parent at the time and active in the parish.

The families of Marshall, Tiller, and Grosse were also active in the parish back then as well. Now a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison, Dittmann still can be seen rolling the cookies along with others from outside of the Good Shepherd community.

Many volunteers roll cookies

Pfeffernuesse rolling starts the Monday and Wednesday nights before Labor Day and continues until the last week of October. School children get a chance to roll on Tuesday afternoon, but many also come in the evening with their parents and grandparents.

School alumni show up as well. One recent evening, an alumna visiting from Colorado came with school friends from 30-plus years ago.

Two cousins who grew up in the neighborhood and now live in Waunakee and Monticello come regularly because it is not only fun but is also a good stress reliever.

On Wednesday evenings, parents and young siblings of religious education students roll while classes are conducted in the school.

Catholic Financial Life volunteers from the greater Madison area donated at least 110 hours of their time to rolling this year.

New this year volunteering were members of the St. Paul’s University Catholic Center community, who have been using the St. James facility while their new church is being built.

Family tradition

In the kitchen preparing and baking the dough are long-time parishioners, including Betty Schuchardt who took over the leadership for pfeffernuesse when her brother Emmet passed away.

The family tradition of volunteering for the festival is a long one. The Grosse and Marshall/Russell families represent several generations at the parish and school, and Joe Tiller grew up in the parish.

Because of her love of the Bible and sharing stories with her many grandchildren, Carol Marshall created the Bible-themed games for children to play at the festival.

Using her artistic talents, she drew and painted Bible scenes on wood and then made up games to fit them. Her son Jim helped cut out the pieces and put the games together.

They feature Noah’s Ark animal toss, Jonah and Whale dice game, Joseph and his multi-colored coat spinning wheel, Daniel and the Lion’s Den ball-throwing, Nativity quiz, and Adam and Eve “pick a winning apple.”

Parish children help staff the children’s game. They also bus tables for the dinner and greet people.

School children get first chance at the trash and treasure sale, which features a section of toys and games. They shop on Thursday before the festival. On Friday evening from 5:30 to 8:30, the trash and treasure sale is open to the public for an admission fee of $5.

And, finally, with a Packers game on that Sunday, festival organizers have arranged for a Packer viewing party.

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