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Friends, Franks, and FJ

By Kenta Sachen (ACE 28 - Indianapolis)

Friends, Franks, and FJ

Teaching, community, and spirituality. We in Indy take pride in living out these three pillars of ACE. While we do enjoy these three pillars as a community of six, we wanted to find a way in which we could extend this love and joy with the people we care about outside our home. With this goal in mind, the Welcome Back(yard) Bash was born. During the summer, we ran a guerilla-style campaign to invite everyone we knew to our home on the last Saturday of August. We invited ACE pastorals and directors, our coworkers and principals, college friends, neighbors, an official Oscar Mayer hotdogger; heck, we even invited Indy-native Joey Chestnut. 

At long last it was “The Big Day.” For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some highlights:


11:30 am

Fueled by some Rise n’ Roll donuts, courtesy of Kitty, we gather around the kitchen island for a final game-planning session. Our fearless leader John Schoenig looks down at us from our ACE Altar. 

12:35 pm

Final decorations are being put up around the house by the 28s. Tony’s friend Sam stares in awe at the nonverbal communication between Matt and Sara. 

1:12 pm

The Rookwood home is fully decorated for The Big Day! Our first guests are from Matt and Kitty’s school: Justin the principal and Mary Kate (ACE 21). 

1:34 pm

It’s the ACE team! Marco and Taylor Kelly arrive with the guest of honor: FJ! After plastering the ACE building with invites, we were so happy to see the three make the drive down to their favorite ACE community. 

1:38 pm

While FJ was the guest of honor, the main attraction of the party was the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Tony happens to know everyone in the state of Indiana, including Kaitlyn, who is a Hot-Dogger, one of the drivers for the six Weinermobiles in existence. Look at the pure ecstasy on this man’s face. When we saw the big glizzy driving down our street, we knew that the Bash was about to be in full swing.

1:42 pm

We all gather outside to admire the spectacle of parallel parking in front of the home. Teachers are screaming, principals are weeping, children are jumping in joy. I haven’t experienced this energy since Notre Dame beat Clemson my senior year. 

2:03 pm

An hour into the bash, we all gather around our living room to celebrate Mass. This room is normally used for after school naps and late-night New Girl sessions. To see this space completely filled with people who’ve impacted our ACE journeys in so many different ways was a truly awesome experience. I’m sorry Oscar Mayer, but this was the highlight of the Bash for me. 

3:08 pm

Mass is over, which means it’s time to feast! All the Indy house provided were some hot dogs, which kept disappearing as soon as I put them together. The rest of the food was brought by our guests. To me, this felt like a giant community dinner with people from all parts of our lives coming together to share a meal. Some of our favorites were my school custodian’s famous chicken salad, Oreo truffles, and pumpkin-flavored gooey butter cake. 

3:11 pm

The Bash wouldn’t be complete without a picture of the people who brought the six of us together. While we were sad to hear that some of our favorite pastoral team members couldn’t make it, we made sure that they were represented in spirit (and in framed photography). 

3:47 pm

Something I learned this weekend: hosting is a full time job. Somewhere in between all the socializing, the six of us found time to snap a community picture outside our house. It’s no Golden Dome, but I think it’s a pretty good background. Any chance we can get this picture on our ACE community website?

4:34 pm

All good things must come to an end, including the Back(yard) Bash. If I had it my way, we’d keep it going all night, but we reluctantly said goodbye to all of our friends. On their way out, we made sure that they got one last picture with the Weinermobile to brag about the Bash to all of their friends back home. 

Sunday - 10:25 pm

Should I be planning for tomorrow? Probably. Should I be going to bed? Most definitely. But I cannot stop thinking about all the wonderful people that came together yesterday for the first annual Back(yard) Bash. I am so thankful everyday for the blessing to be part of this community and program. This won’t be the last time we’ll host a Bash. We hope to share the Indy experience with you next time!