Witness Through Fitness is a fun event that can help your parish in many ways including evangelization.  Now in it’s 9th year, we would like to get more parishes to join in this special event.  As a parish, all you need to do is let your parishioners know about it and optionally designate how the funds raised by your parish team will be used.

Witness Through Fitness is a 2-day event that includes:

  • BBQ on Friday, June 21st hosted by North American Martyrs
  • Walk/Run on Saturday, June 22nd at Holmes Lake

 Children up to age 18 may walk or run for free making it a great summer get together.  Adult tickets to The Walk and Run are just $15 if pre-registered.  Tickets to the BBQ are just $10.  T-shirts are also available for just $10.  Funds raised benefit Villa Marie and/or (optionally if you choose) a family or designated special cause at your parish.  

How Does It Help My Parish?

While it is a fundraising event, the Witness Through Fitness event is about so many more important things than just money!  WItness Through Fitness will help your parish to:

1)  Provide an opportunity for your parish to express their love and support for children with special needs.  Within each parish we have children with various physical and developmental disabilities.  Some children attend Catholic schools.  Others may attend public schools for special education.  

2)  Provide an opportunity for your parish to recognize and honor the families in your parish who may sacrifice on a daily basis helping to raise their special sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  The stories that families can share are very inspirational.

3)  Provide financial resources to help support families in your parish who have children with special needs.  For the past 8 years, North American Martyrs has helped 16 families in our parish.  Now your parish can optionally designate and donate proceeds from the event to a family your parish honors at the event if you like.  See our list of previous honorees and all the families we with helped with conditions including Down Syndrome, Autism, Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Tramatic Brain Injuries, Brain Cancer and much more. 

4)  Provide financial resources to your parish’s Catholic School, Youth Ministry and CCD program.  Their are many accommodations and needs that are often unmet to help children with physical, occupation or developmental challenges.  Funds raised by your parish team could help purchase adaptive kits for CCD, provide additional resources for students in your school with an IEP and/or host social events to develop friendships.  

5)  Help your parish create awareness and support Villa Marie Home and School for Exceptional Children.  Many parishes have had at least one child attend Villa Marie since it was started by Monsignor Dawson in 1964.

6)  Create a unique opportunity for your parish to evangelize.  The 1 Mile Walk and 5K Run provides parishioners to invite non-catholics and express their Catholic faith in a unique way. By hosting a public event we evangelize through our actions.  People can see that, as Catholics, we value the human person, the need for family, the need for charity and the need for love!

7)  Have fun and socialize.  The Walk and Run event at Holmes Lake is a great way for parishioners, students and their families to cheer on their team.  It’s a fun morning with music and watching runners race around the park.

How It Works

The Witness Through Fitness committee at North American Martyrs takes care of all the details with organizing, promoting and hosting the event.

You may already have parishioners attending Witness Through Fitness.  It’s advertised in the Southern Nebraska Register, Spirit Catholic Radio, and online race and event calendars.  We have posters and signs around Lincoln.  We also contact employers to share with employees.  It also shared on social media.

When people register they can already choose your parish as their team.  However, by default, 100% of the proceeds from your parish team will support Villa Marie Home and School for Exceptional Children.

We only ask your parish to do two things:

1) Optionally choose if they would like to designate funds raised to be designated to an Honoree or special fund. We would need this information by June 1st.  At NAM, we donate 50% to Villa Marie and 50% to a parish honoree.  As time is limited, you can optionally just help raise money for Villa Marie as it supports an option for all children with special needs throughout the Diocese now and into the future.

2) Encourage your parishioners to attend.  We can provide materials and other resources to help publicize the event.  Here are a few ideas that you can choose from:

  • Share the event in your bulletin and/or parish newsletter
  • Email your parishioners so they can easily access our website to learn more and register
  • Make announcements at Mass
  • Share the event on social media
  • At Mass have pastors encourage parishioners to attend
  • Encourage children 18 and under to come and meet their friends since they can walk or run for free
  • If your parish also has a school, encourage the school to encourage students to participate 

At North American Martyrs, we’ve found that attendance is the strongest when you have an Honoree from your parish and it is promoted in multiple ways. 

Get Started

Please contact Brian Nelson and he will answer questions, provide your parish with pre-written bulletin announcements, posters, flyers and much more.  Email brian@wtfsnf.com or call him at 402-202-2479.

If you are part of the administration at your parish, you may also contact Father Brian Connor at 402-476-8088 with any administrative questions or concerns related to your church or school’s participation.


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