Two "kitchen angels" who gave tirelessly of themselves for decades on behalf of their parish - St. Joseph Catholic Church, Summit Hill - were remembered on Sunday, June 20, during a brief but special program held in the church hall.
Parishioners and their pastor, the Rev. James Burdess, recalled the dedicated commitment that Loretta Bonner and Angie Petrash had for the parish family, citing their long service of volunteerism before their deaths in June of last year.
"We talked about dedicating our kitchen expansion to the workers in the kitchen," said Rev. Burdess. "And last year around this time, we lost two of our angels (Loretta and Angie), so we thought the timing was right to do this."
The event halted briefly the parish's monthly breakfast fundraiser in the church hall, where the two women were mainstays for many years. Family members unveiled a plaque on the kitchen wall, labeling the women the first two "kitchen angels." During a short blessing, the priest, citing the ladies' commitment to the church, noted, "God has given us many blessings shared with us through the parish kitchen and social hall... whenever we ask God's gifts, we do so in praise and thanksgiving."
That thanksgiving, he implied, was because of church members "like Loretta and Angie," pointing out, "They were very dedicated...they were here very often."
According to Joseph O'Gurek, who heads the "kitchen crew" for the parish, the ladies, members of the former Guild of Catholic Women of the church, "never stopped working for the church." He said, "They both worked for the church for decades. We miss 'em both. It's been a year (since their deaths) and anything that goes on, we often talk about how they would love to be here. We know they're watching, knowing that each of our events will be a success."
About Petrash, he said, "Angie was involved in everything and anything that went on here. You name it and she was always a part of it. She was a model parishioner. She loved the church."
He added, "Loretta was another one. She spent every Monday night here (at the church's weekly card games), and was a part of every breakfast we had here, and that dates back to 1999."
Meanwhile, family members attending the event appreciated the church's opting to remember the ladies.
"She would be very, very pleased," said Liz Mongi, Loretta's daughter, of her mother. "Both she and Angie loved the church and its social programs. They gave us a great legacy to carry on."
Another daughter, Mary Dakosty, remembered, "My mother loved coming down here to the church. Love of church always came first in our family. Our parents gave us our faith, and we are truly grateful for that."
Eileen Metro, Petrash's daughter, added, "Mom would be so pleased. When she was living, she always joked they (the church) would have to put a plaque up in her name because she spent all of her time here... Of course, she was kidding. I'm sure she never thought that this would happen. It's wonderful. I'm very grateful."
She added, "The church was everything to my mom. No matter how tired she was, she'd do anything for the church. It's what she wanted to do the most."
Church members said the plaque has additional name plates on it for others to be memorialized in the future.