Fund-raising feast celebrates Cinco de Mayo

April 19, 2013 by

May’s “First Monday at Manna” fund-raising dinner will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican  feast.

The dinner at Manna House of Prayer, 323 E. Fifth St., Concordia, is scheduled for May 6, and reservations are required by May 2, by calling 785-243-4428 or emailing

There will be two seatings for the dinner — at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. — and guests are invited to arrive 15 minutes early for chips and salsa, plus beer and sangria punch.

Donations are welcome, with all proceeds going to the numerous Manna House ministries, including Helping Hands, a program that provides emergency assistance for people throughout Cloud County and operates a small food pantry.

The menu for the Mexican dinner includes avocado salad, chicken mole, tamales, refried beans, rice and tortillas, topped off with a special bread pudding — called capiratada — for dessert.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In the Mexican state of Puebla, the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla), but the Cinco de Mayo celebration originated in the United States among Mexican-Americans toward the end of the Civil War as a way to commemorate freedom and democracy. Today the date celebrates Mexican heritage and pride.

The “First Mondays at Manna” dinners are part of the center’s 35th anniversary celebration, and will continue throughout 2013.

The June 3 dinner will feature South American cuisine in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Brazilian mission.

The red brick building that is today Manna House was built in 1884 as the first Motherhouse of the newly arrived Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The building at Fifth and Olive streets served as the convent and a boarding school — but as the number of sisters and students grew, it soon became apparent that a bigger building was needed to house Nazareth Convent and Academy.

So in 1903, the new (and still current) Nazareth Motherhouse opened at the corner of 13th and Washington streets, and the sisters converted their old home into St. Joseph Hospital.

An addition to the hospital was built in 1915, and the significantly bigger facility remained a hospital until 1951, when the sisters built what is now Cloud County Health Center.

The sisters converted the building into a nursing home and it served as St. Anne’s Home for the Aged until 1977, when the residents there were able to move to the new Mount Joseph Village on the west edge of Concordia.

Renovations began immediately and in just four months — in April 1978 — the building was dedicated as Manna House of Prayer.

Its mission, then and today, is to be a place were people of all faiths come for personal and communal prayer, on-going education, quiet time and counseling. Sisters who live there also provide youth ministry, facilitation services, spiritual direction and counseling.

In 2013 Manna House is home to seven Sisters of St. Joseph and has a staff of four laypeople. Throughout the year there are workshops on everything from “seasonal spirituality” and the ancient art of bobbin lacemaking to “meditation and movement” and the meaning and mystery of the rosary.

To learn more about Manna House, its ministries and upcoming events, go to




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