Trivia nights build community and help those in need

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Can you name the 2009 American Music Award Artist of the Year or list five countries that border Russia? If you can, you might be a good candidate for a trivia night. The fun brain teaser game is popular in Northern Virginia bars and restaurants, and now, not only has it made it on the Office of Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministries calendar, it’s become a successful fundraising event for Catholic groups.

For the Young Adult Ministry, trivia comes on the heels of the popular Theology on Tap speaker series, one of the office’s most popular recurring events. Many of the venues that host TOT talks also offer trivia. Groups come early to form teams, answer obscure questions and win prizes. 

Trivia was a fun addition to TOT talks in 2016 at the Auld Shebeen in Fairfax. This past June, the Young Adult Ministry held a separate trivia night at O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Arlington, according to Brendan Gotta, Young Adult Ministry coordinator. “We had over 75 young adults show up. I think it was very well-received because it was an event that allowed young adults to just be engaged in a relaxed setting,” said Gotta. “It was a great way for people to get to know one another, as many people came without having teams set up prior.” He believes more than 100 young adults might show up for the next trivia at O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub Nov. 13.

Kaitlin Ammirati, a parishioner of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield, has been going to trivia nights regularly with a group of friends since 2013. They call themselves the Back Alley Latin Teachers and are always quick to invite others to join them.

According to Ammirati, it’s a great way to get to know someone because the game allows everyone the chance to contribute and also provides enough down time for socializing between questions.

“It’s not for everyone, but neither is swing dancing,” said Ammirati. “My faith has grown being part of this group. You tend to emulate the people you surround yourself with, so if you surround yourself with good strong Catholics, chances are you will become a good strong Catholic.”

Young adults who have been bitten by the trivia bug are taking the game from the pub to their parish. Andrew Flusche, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus council at St. Jude Church, has organized two trivia night fundraisers. His wife, Nicole, suggested the idea after attending one of the Young Adult Ministry trivia nights.

“Trivia definitely seems to attract a diverse crowd,” said Flusche. “We had a team of middle school students in April. We had several teams of young adults, and of course all ages beyond that.”

Their first trivia night raised money for Mary’s Shelter in Fredericksburg, a home for pregnant mothers and their children.

“The attendees had a great time, and so did the volunteers who helped to run it,” said Flusche. “We decided to try doing two trivia nights per year to help solid organizations within our community.”

The St. Jude Knights sponsored a second pub-style trivia night benefiting St. Vincent de Paul in the parish activity center in Fredericksburg Sept. 16. According to Flusche, it was a huge success with more than 80 people in attendance.

If you’ve never played trivia before, now might be a good time to start. Hint: Mongolia is one of the countries that borders Russia.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017