Olympian's family gets support from home parish in Michigan

After a sprint, a cartwheel and one, two, three twists in the air, Jordyn Wieber landed precisely on the mat.

On July 31 Wieber, 17, earned a near flawless score on the vault — her score proved to be a major contribution to USA's women's gymnastics team's gold medal victory over Russia.

In the stands were her parents, Rita and David, who made it to the 2012 Olympics in London to watch their daughter in no small measure because of the help of their home parish in Michigan, St. Jude Catholic Parish in DeWitt, in the Diocese of Lansing.

Tickets for the women's gymnastics competition can cost thousands of dollars, causing some Olympic families to watch from their living rooms as their daughters perform.

But the St. Jude community wasn't going to let that happen, said parish office manager Christina Simon who organized a fundraiser to help cover the estimated $40,000 cost of sending the Wieber family to London.

"We'd watch her over the years progress and progress and become quite the little star," said Simon. "So as she traveled more we asked Rita if we could do anything to help the family see Jordyn. Her siblings haven't seen her compete in more than three years because it was so expensive."

Wieber was baptized at St. Jude and has been at the parish her entire career as a gymnast.

The teen told Faith magazine, Lansing's diocesan publication, that there is more to life than gymnastics.

"I like to look at my gymnastics ability as a great gift from God," she said. "Without God in my life, I feel like there would be no meaning."

In the magazine interview, she also credited her mother and father with giving her strong faith.

"My parents have always made going to church as a family important," Wieber said. "Sometimes we have to split up due to our schedules, but most of the time we are able to get to Mass together. It's a very special family time and it means a lot to me."

Simon's fundraiser drew more than 1,000 people to support Wieber, who barely managed to fit the fundraiser into her schedule just before leaving for the Olympics. One family came from as far as Indiana.

Different T-shirts were sold, including a popular "Wieber Fever" shirt mirroring the enthusiasm for teen idol Justin Bieber. So many were sold that "a good portion of DeWitt now owns a shirt in one way or another," Simon told CNS.

Also popular were her autograph on 5-by-7 cards that were being sold. Some kids even came with Corn Flakes boxes with Wieber's image in hopes of getting her autograph.

"Jordyn was amazed," said Simon. "We didn't know if 35 people would show up."

After expenses, the fundraiser managed to bring in more than $11,000, far exceeding expectations. Coupled with proceeds from a local golf club's own fundraiser, about $20,000 was donated to the Wieber family.

CNS



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Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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