Frank and Sharon LaForge, members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Wichita, used their time and talent for the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. (Advance photo)

Frank and Sharon LaForge have been retired for years, but they haven’t retired from an avocation that has evolved into stewardship that benefits Catholic education.
The LaForges began videotaping soon after the amateur cameras were made available for popular use – using videotape.
“Father (Thomas) McGread started us back in the video ‘revolution.’ He wanted us to do First Communions. He could see people showing up at Mass with 100 video recorders!”
Monsignor McGread was pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita from 1968 to 1999. He died in 2013.
Over the years the LaForges recorded many ordinations in the Diocese of Wichita, about 20 graduation ceremonies for Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, and many First Communions at about 15 parishes.
When they became members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in 1992 they began taping First Communions there for the families of the communicants.
“There was a time when, when we charged for it, but after I retired, for some reason I didn’t need the money anymore,” Frank said. For the last few Bishop Carroll graduations, the couple asked for donations that benefitted the school.
As compensation for the SEAS First Communion videotapes, the LaForges request donations to the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. The fund provides financial support to parishes that struggle financially to carry out the mission of Catholic education in a parish school.
The LaForges now focus primarily on First Communions for SEAS parishioners.
It may take a couple of hours to videotape a First Communion Mass but it takes much longer to edit and produce DVDs, Frank said.
“It’s a monster to edit,” he said. “We start it off with a little video from around the church. And the kids come into the church from two sides and we’re filming both sides…and then we try to balance between showing the kids and showing the priests. We put a microphone on Father so that the kids hear the actual words of consecration.”
Frank said production might take about 10 times the two hours it takes the couple to videotape. After hours of editing, he must print an image on a DVD, burn the DVDs in real time, and package the final product attractively.
“There’s a lot of time involved in it,” he said, “but we certainly believe in the time, talent, and treasure thing.”