In welcoming 500 donors to the fourth annual Cheers to Charity at Joe’s Stone Crab, Archbishop Thomas Wenski described it as “the most popular event in the Catholic community.”MIAMI BEACH | The stone crabs were delicious and the company fabulous, but best of all was the money raised: Over $150,000 “clams” for archdiocesan charities.

Perhaps, he said, that’s because it involves “no long speeches” and plenty of “great food.”

Indeed, after briefly thanking sponsors and saying grace, the archbishop sat down, put on Joe’s iconic paper bib, and dug into a cold plate of meaty stone crab claws — accompanied by Joe’s famous creamed spinach, hash browns and key lime pie.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski wears the iconic Joe’s bib for eating stone crabs.

Among the donors the archbishop thanked at the event were:
Jumbo Claw sponsors: 

  • Lee Osiason
  • Michael and Lynda Gordon

Large Claw sponsors: 

  • Bunny Bastian
  • Brickell Motors
  • Paul and Trudy Cejas
  • Terry Buoniconti and Chris Pederson
  • The Dooner Group
  • Ferraro Family Foundation
  • Jorge Luis and Marile Lopez
  • Juan and Laura Munilla
  • Juan and Mariana O’Naghten
  • Sonnia and Miguel Viyella
  • Wells Fargo

TD Bank sponsored the champagne, and there were 17 Key Lime sponsors.

“Cheers to Charity at Joe’s Stone Crab is a wonderful way for the Catholic community to unite with the archbishop to raise funds in support of the many life-changing ministries of the Catholic Church here in south Florida,” said Katie Blanco, president of the archdiocesan Development Corporation. “It is an opportunity for us to unite as one family of God; a vibrant, welcoming and family friendly event which has quickly become one of the most popular.”

One other popular fundraiser remains: the annual ManCave with Archbishop Wenski, featuring drinks and dominos for men (and women). It will take place Wednesday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cuban Crafters, 3604 N.W. Seventh St., Miami. Tickets are $100/person and proceeds benefit Catholic Charities’ Unaccompanied Minors Program.