Sadly this is the last weekend we have Fr. Dan Carr with us. And my sadness is NOT just because I am losing a helper, not to be replaced until (hopefully!) the beginning of Advent. Fr. Dan was so much more than a mere "helper;" he became a true collaborator with me and the original Fr. Dan and an INCREDIBLE asset to Our Lady, Queen of the Yough. I was especially impressed with the various projects which he, on HIS OWN initiative (i.e. no one ASKED him!), undertook. In one of these he put his computer background to FANTASTIC use and created a database that allows us to easily search for parishioners across the four parishes without having to first know to WHICH parish they belong.

I have to admit that I was quite NERVOUS when I learned I would be getting a "baby priest." I never considered "breaking in a newbie" to be part of my skillset. (Fr. Dan 1.0 certainly DOES have that ability in his, but he was still away at school for the first month of 2.0's presence.) Additionally, considering how busy things are here in the Jewel and its country surroundings and lacking the help of 1.0 during that critical first month I feared I wouldn't have the necessary time to "show him the ropes." All fear, apprehension, and nervousness dissipated, however, as Fr. Dan's giftedness and maturity became immediately and ABUNDANTLY obvious. With out a doubt the greatest compliment I can pay Fr. Dan Carr is to state, without the slightest hyperbole, that had I not known otherwise I would have NEVER pegged him as a newly ordained priest!

As he departs the Connellsville-Dunbar metroplex to complete his education in the Eternal City he certainly goes forth with the prayers, good wishes, and LOVE of this community. He definitely had an outsized impact on us in a mere three months! So much of an impact in fact that I have formally requested of Bishop Malesic that when he returns from Rome permanently next June he be assigned with us FOR GOOD. I realize that countless factors go into making priest assignments and it is foolish to think that just because I make a request it will be granted but I am a FIRM believer in the principal that it NEVER hurts to ask! But then again Jesus DID say "ask and you shall receive!


Friday marked the world famous Italian food fest at Saint Rita's Bucci Hall. This annual event, originally known as "Nationality Days" as it has its roots in the city's former celebration of the same name, draws people from far and wide EAGER to dine on the delicious delicacies delivered day-long* by the delightful, diligent dames of the Christian Mothers. Unfortunately I was away on holiday and didn't get to yield to the YUMMINESS.

My heartfelt thanks go out to all the women and a few men as well who slaved away not only Friday but for weeks beforehand preparing this fabulous, festive foodie FEAST. This year I owe a special note of gratitude to Rita and her ladies for their FLEXIBILITY. Due to work on the Hall the date had to be moved from the traditional FIRST Friday of September. I'm sure the extra week just made everyone MORE HUNGRY for the incredible Italian food on offer!* Or, to quote TV commercials,"As long as supplies last!"


For the next stop on our ethnic food journey we travel north (and a bit to the east) to Bavaria as Immaculate Conception kicks-off their sesquicentennial celebration with Oktoberfest on Saturday 22 September. OUR celebration actually coincides with the beginning of the festivities this year in the famed birth-place of this "fall classic," München, Freistaat Bayern (Munich, Bavaria for the non-Germanophile). Come enjoy food, music, games - and of course BEER! (other beverages will be available) - at the IC festival building from noon til 8pm. PROST!


Saint Rita parish was recently the recipient of a generous gift from the estate of the late parishioner Michael Prestia. That gift was given with the stipulation that it be used for the completion of the "Meditation Garden" that is taking shape between the church and the former school building. Michael, who entered Eternal Life on 5 November last year at the age of 94, was an incredibly civic-minded individual who wanted his not-insignificant estate to benefit the community he loved. Thus, in addition to Saint Rita many other organizations were blessed by his generosity, including Geibel, Conn-Area, Community Ministries, Saint Vincent de Paul, Carnegie Library, the Fayette County Cultural Trust, the Yough River Trail, and Highlands Hospital. A special "Thank You" to Michael's brother and executor Paul Prestia who was responsible for determining, in accord with the wishes Michael expressed in a general fashion, the specific beneficiaries of his brother's largess.


The tranquility of nature along Morgan Run, just off the Yough River Trail across from Camp Carmel. I captured this idyllic scene during a bike/hike in early June.


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