NWPRL February News
Fisher House Donation
NWPRL in cooperation with three parishes held their third annual collection program for the Pittsburgh VA Hospital Fisher House. Fisher House provides accommodations and general living supplies for the families of those receiving treatment at the Pittsburgh VA hospital. They have an ongoing need to replenish the supplies used. Holy Ghost Northside-Pittsburgh, St. Andrew Gibsonia and Holy Ghost McKees Rocks all stepped up and collected over $3,000 worth of much needed material. Fisher House was most grateful to receive the delivery from Lodge President Tina Burns.
Youth Group Sarris Candy Sale
This year the Holy Ghost McKees Rocks youth group had to make changes to their Sarris Candy Sale as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The planned biennial Youth Rally originally planned by the Byzantine Metropolitan church for July, was moved to 2021. The Youth Group’s annual in person Easter Candy Sale were postponed to a fall event. Since attendance and in person activities were greatly restricted the sale added an online sales component. Sarris Candy launched a fundraising website allowing tracking of orders to any group. The combination of in person and online sales kept the event active and gathered resources for this summer’s youth rally. The Youth Group is hopeful the vaccines will make the event a reality this year.
Parish Expansion Bakeless Bake Sale
Holy Ghost Northside-Pittsburgh launched a Bakeless Bake Sale fund raiser this fall. The event was held via envelope and mail in donations instead of the normal in person fundraising activity due to COVID-19 precautions. A huge thank you is extended to all who made the project successful, especially to the McKees Rocks parishioners who participated in helping their sister parish.
Christmas Toy Drive
St. Andrew BC Church in Gibsonia held its 4th annual Christmas toy drive culminating on Saturday, December 5. The parish collected toys and money from parishioners beginning in the middle of November. On Saturday December 5, the church opened its doors to donations from the churches’ surrounding neighborhoods. This is the second year the drive was opened to the surrounding community. Signs in front of the church and local parishioners neighborhood outreach programs alert the community to the drive. Over 200 items were collected for the toy drive. The toys were taken to Bakerstown United Methodist Church and handed out to families in need. The toy drive is organized by the Lighthouse Foundation. Thanks to everyone who donated this year, especially with all that has gone on with the pandemic.
Saint Andrew Collection for KDKA Turkey Fund
Based on a suggestion by Father Radko Bilchar, for two weeks, Saint Andrew parishioners collected donations for the KDKA Turkey Fund. The KDKA Turkey Fund gives families in need a thanksgiving meal. Twenty dollars provides a family with the means to celebrate the holiday. Church members loved the donation idea and in the future plan to start collecting earlier in the month to increase the time available to raise donations for the cause. This year, parishioners donated $305 and the church $1,000 providing 65 families with their Thanksgiving meal. More information about the KDKA Turkey Fund can be found online at www.kdka.com.
St. Nicholas Christmas Canceled in Gibsonia
Unfortunately, St. Andrew BC Church in Gibsonia canceled its annual St. Nicholas Christmas party due to the pandemic. ECF students have continued with their education via zoom. ECF instructor Veronica and her husband Bruce, collected the traditional St. Nicholas gift bags and delivered them to all of the ECF students’ homes. Any children that made a donation during ther annual toy drive on Saturday, December 5 were also given a St. Nicholas gift bag in appreciation of their donation.
St. Nicholas Party in McKees Rocks
On Sunday, December 6, NWPRL sponsored the annual Holy Ghost McKees Rocks St. Nicholas day celebration. This annual event features a short performance by the students in Holy Ghost’s ECF program and a party with gifts for the students and a visit from St. Nicholas. The celebration highlights the role of St. Nicholas as the patron of the Byzantine Catholic Church and provides the opportunity to remind each generation that there is a real saint behind the tradition of Santa Claus.
This year COVID-19 brought a much smaller socially distanced celebration with families seated in separate pods via RSVP. Food was prepared and served using pandemic precautions per health department recommendations. The youth group created a program on why St. Nicholas always comes no matter what is happening in the world, even during global pandemics. They noted all the issues from war to terrorism that cannot stop St. Nick. Gifts were provided for all the catechetical program students, even those who could not attend for the safety of their family.
Handicap Ramp Built
The handicap ramp at St. Andrew BC Church was in need of repair with the underneath supports completely worn away. Dave Kostilnik planned out the project, ordered materials and tore down the old ramp. With the help of Michael Leggin and Stephen Savka the new ramp was rebuilt from the frame up. After about 100 hours of labor, St. Andrew parish now has a safe and beautiful ramp. Thank you gentlemen, for improving the church and keeping your fellow parishioners safe, with your work.
GCU member Kim Valeriano and parishioner of Holy Ghost Northside.
Fathe Radko Blichar, Michael Leggin, David Kostilnik, RoxAnn Savka and Stephen Savka.