Pioneer Catholic presents ‘An Evening with Mike Ditka’ Print
Around the Diocese
Thursday, May. 09, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Pioneer Catholic presents 'An Evening with Mike Ditka'
Date: June 1
• Social — 4 p.m.
• Dinner — 5 p.m.
• Program — 6:30 p.m.
Cost: No cost
Site: UW-Platteville Ullsvik Hall, 1 University Plaza, Platteville
Seating: Limited seating — tables of eight
RSVP: Early at or 608-383-5574.

PLATTEVILLE -- Coach Mike Ditka will be returning to Platteville when the Pioneer Catholic at St. Augustine

mike ditka
Mike Ditka

University Parish presents “An Evening with Mike Ditka” on Saturday, June 1, in Ullsvik Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

“All are invited to come and join the Pioneer Catholic Newman Center and St. Augustine University Parish in celebrating the many blessings the Lord has shown to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and our students,” said Blaine Hechimovich, director of development for Pioneer Catholic.

“Learn what we do here at the Newman Center and the great impact it is having on our culture. Come and join us in supporting the new generation of Catholics soon to be entering your very own parishes!”

The event begins with a 4 p.m. social hour with a cash bar, followed by a dinner at 5 p.m. and program at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend. Those coming are asked to wear semi-formal attire.

About Mike Ditka

Mike Ditka, Pro Football Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl-winning coach, joined ESPN as an NFL analyst in 2004.

With a combined 26 years of playing (12) and head coaching (14) experience, Ditka is an analyst on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown and makes regular appearances on ESPN Radio and SportsCenter. He also served as a booth analyst during the Monday Night Football doubleheader in 2007 and 2008, alongside Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of Mike & Mike in the Morning. Ditka previously worked as both an analyst and commentator at CBS and NBC.

Ditka has amassed a career few can match. He is only the second person to win the Super Bowl as a player (Dallas, 1972), assistant coach (Dallas, 1977), and head coach (Chicago, 1986). After earning All-America honors at the University of Pittsburgh, the tight end enjoyed a stellar 12-year NFL playing career. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year and selected All-Pro six times. He also caught a touchdown in the Cowboy’s Super Bowl VI win against the Miami Dolphins.

As an assistant coach with Dallas, Ditka’s teams made it to the playoffs eight times, including the 1977 Super Bowl victory. In 1982, he assumed the head coaching job in Chicago, and in 11 years, collected six NFC Central titles, three NFC championship game appearances, and the Super Bowl XX title (1986) for which he was named Coach of the Year.

He again earned the honor in 1988 after coaching the Bears to the NFC championship game. Mike Ditka left Chicago in 1992 only to return as head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1997. He retired from coaching in 2000.

In addition to broadcasting, Ditka owns and operates Ditka’s restaurants with locations in Chicago and Pittsburgh. He also continues to generously devote himself to varied charitable endeavors, including numerous anti-drug and prevention campaigns. He founded The Mike Ditka Foundation in 1989 to raise funds for Misericordia, a residential facility for developmentally disabled children, and also for pediatric AIDS research programs.

When he was the coach of the Bears, the team held its summer training camp in Platteville from 1984 to 2001.

Student testimonies

Following are testimonies from students who have been involved with the Pioneer Catholic at St. Augustine Parish.

• Marlee Bonham 19' -- “Coming into college four years ago, I attended Mass on the weekends because that’s what you do as a Catholic. I went on retreats, because I am a people person and that is the best way to meet new people. I took part in a Bible study because, somehow, my grandma would find out that I wasn’t in one and be upset. I didn’t know why I was doing these things. I just thought I was a ‘good enough’ Catholic because I was doing them. When asked by people why I was Catholic, I couldn’t give them a better answer than, ‘My grandma.’

“On a mission trip to Ecuador during my sophomore year, God met me in my questions and confusions about my faith. He sent people to share life with me. He sent people to answer my questions and be a shoulder to cry on when times became tough. That second semester of my sophomore year was my hardest year yet. I dove into books about the Catholic faith. I was finding passages in the Bible and the Catechism. I was meeting weekly with Fr. John Del Priore to get some more questions answered.

“I began to be discipled by a FOCUS missionary who taught me how to pray and how to evangelize. I led a Bible study and encouraged my girls in the study to ask questions and live more like our Blessed Mama, Mary. I attended Newman dinners and speaker events to form friendships with other people who are trying to pursue God.

“I met a man at our campus minister’s wedding who is running with me toward the Lord and who constantly reminds me to pray. (He also helps me to grow in patience, lots and lots of patience!)

“I will be sad to leave the comfort of my community at Platteville, but I am excited to spread God’s word to the people I encounter outside of college. Leaving college four years later, I attend daily Mass, because God sacrifices Himself everyday for us. I go on retreats because I am able to meet and share in other people’s journeys toward Christ. I lead and take part in a Bible study because the mystery of our faith is so real, and I am learning something new every time. I do all of these things and more because I know there is no such thing as a ‘good enough’ Catholic, but God loves and forgives me anyway.”

• Tyler Fincutter (Senior, Geography) -- Newman and St. Augustine’s is a place where students will shape their entire lives. I’ve experienced this. If a student desires something more in their life and they take it seriously, I can say it will save their soul. We of course don't always take things seriously, but people that go to Newman events on a regular basis, attend Bible studies, and participate in the sacraments find lifelong friends as well as someone to share in their struggles with.

Being on a college campus for some students can drain the hope that is in them. Where many students found a source of life and comfort at home, not having a place far from home can destroy a student’s life on campus. I’ve found Newman is the only place around where students can look for comfort that is similar to that of being home.”

These are just two of the many students whose faith as grown through the Pioneer Catholic at the Newman Center at St. Augustine Parish at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

People are invited to attend “An Evening with Mike Ditka” on June 1 and learn more about this outstanding campus ministry program.

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