Though Catholicism is strong and Pope Francis is winning hearts and minds, the number of men and women entering religious orders declined last year, according to Vatican statistics. Still, a robust network of Dallas Catholic Diocese nuns and sisters exist. Each year around this time, Lake Highlands’ St. Patrick’s Catholic church members host a thank-you luncheon at the neighborhood Knights of Columbus, a.k.a. KC club.

“The men cook a three-course meal and the women serve these wonderful women who have dedicated their life to serving others,” notes St. Patrick’s member Erika Estrada. “It’s interesting to see the nuns in a different light laughing, socializing and enjoying a drink or two.” (“Yes,” she adds. “They drink.”)

Advocate photographer Rasy Ran joined the festivities and brings you photos, along with more insights from the event.

Unbeknownst to the guests, rosaries blessed by Pope Francis were given to each attendee inside their own gift bag. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Unbeknownst to the guests, rosaries blessed by Pope Francis were given to each attendee inside their own gift bag. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Fresh hand-cut flowers lay await for nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women to take home on April 3, 2016. About 50 invitees attended the gathering. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Fresh hand-cut flowers lay await for nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women to take home on April 3, 2016. About 50 invitees attended the gathering. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Senior Virginia Rozich converses with women from the Diocese of Dallas at the Kaycee Club. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Senior Virginia Rozich converses with women from the Diocese of Dallas at the Kaycee Club. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Senior Mercy Mary Ubagaram jokes with other nuns from the Diocese of Dallas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Senior Mercy Mary Ubagaram jokes with other nuns from the Diocese of Dallas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Patrick Vlk, former Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, fries up shrimp for a lunch hosted by the knights, with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church, celebrating the nuns of the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Patrick Vlk, former Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, fries up shrimp for a lunch hosted by the knights, with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church, celebrating the nuns of the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

A blue cosmopolitan sitting between two margaritas waiting to be served. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

A blue cosmopolitan sitting between two margaritas waiting to be served. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women were being celebrated at 9th annual gathering for their devotion and services April 3, 2016 at the Kaycee Club in Dallas. The luncheon was hosted by the Knights of Columbus with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church members. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women were being celebrated at 9th annual gathering for their devotion and services April 3, 2016 at the Kaycee Club in Dallas. The luncheon was hosted by the Knights of Columbus with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church members. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

 

Nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women were being celebrated at 9th annual gathering for their devotion and services April 3, 2016 at the Kaycee Club in Dallas. The luncheon was hosted by the Knights of Columbus with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church members. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Nuns from the Diocese of Dallas and consecrated women were being celebrated at 9th annual gathering for their devotion and services April 3, 2016 at the Kaycee Club in Dallas. The luncheon was hosted by the Knights of Columbus with help from St. Patrick Catholic Church members. (Photo by Rasy Ran)