Comedian Berens Headlines Schools Dinner

On your way to the Archbishop’s Catholic Schools Dinner in March, watch out for deer.

Comedian Charlie Berens, who is known for his brand of humor that perfectly captures the experience of living in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest, will be the headline speaker March 7 at the Wisconsin Center (400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee).

“Charlie is a rising comedic star whose unique take on life in Wisconsin is hilarious,” said John Borgen, the president and CEO of Catholic Financial Life, who is co-chair of the Catholic Schools Dinner for the second year in a row with his wife, Katie. “He is the product of 12 years of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, so what better way to come together and have fun than being entertained by a special talent who is a product of our Catholic schools.”

Berens has become nationally recognized for his Manitowoc Minute (an irreverent news program) segments, in addition to his takes on Midwest nice (“Tell your folks I says hi”) and Midwest cheap (funneling inexpensive wine into an expensive bottle). His comedy clips feature heavy doses of alternative curse words (“Holy smokes,” “Cripes”), his love for the Green Bay Packers (leaving a Kwik Trip glazer on the Vince Lombardi statue at Lambeau Field during the pandemic) and sight gags that resonate with anyone who has lived in this state.

The funds raised at the schools dinner benefit the GIFTS — Grant Initiatives for Today’s Students — program, which awards funds to archdiocesan schools for extra-budgetary items to enhance the learning experience of students and accelerate educational innovation.

Past GIFTS recipients have used the funds for items such as innovative furniture, musical instruments and recruitment/retention projects.

As the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s development office looks to expand the event, they seek to increase attendance and raise more money to provide additional grants to individual Catholic schools. Since 2019, there have been 112 grants distributed, totaling $810,000.

The theme for this year’s event at its new location is a Catholic school pep rally; guests are asked to wear spirit wear in support of their favorite Catholic elementary school, high school or university.

“The 2023 Catholic Schools dinner will be new. We will be at a new venue, with a new experience and a new program,” Borgen said. “It will be a big pep rally for Catholic schools and Catholic education.”

The evening will begin with Mass celebrated by Bishop James T. Schuerman at 4 p.m. and a 5 p.m. cocktail reception. The dinner, program and entertainment will begin at 6 p.m.

During the event, the 2023 Elizabeth Ann Seton award recipients will be recognized, including Fr. James Lobacz (priest), a vicar general for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee; Donna Bembenek (educator), the president of Catholic Memorial High School; and the Michels Family (community members).

To register online (either individually or to purchase a table), log on to For more information, contact Mary Ann Bickler at or 414-769-3457.

So get those tickets and keep ’er movin’.