“Overwhelmed with gratitude”

St. Nicholas Charity Dinner at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, Pa. celebrates 65th year

by David Mayernik Jr., Editor


This year’s 65th annual St. Nicholas Charity Dinner coincided on the same day as National Cookie Day.

It’s the first time it’s happened since the cookie celebration was instituted in 1987, according to Chris Singel, master of ceremonies.

But there’s no debating which is sweeter.

That’s because the annual dinner, held Dec. 4 at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, Pa., benefits the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa

It is co-sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union, which is celebrating the 130th anniversary of its founding in 1892, and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

George Juba, GCU president and CEO, presented Metropolitan Archbishop William Skurla with the fraternal organization’s annual contribution to the Seminary, which this year totaled $125,000.

The organization has donated $3.75 million to the Seminary since 1960.

“The Byzantine Catholic Seminary strives to be worthy of the magnanimous generosity of the GCU. We just witnessed one of countless charitable outreaches by the GCU to BCS. I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” Father Robert Pipta, Seminary Rector, said.
He also offered updates on the Seminary’s many ongoing projects:

n A “special benefactor” has helped establish a Living Hope fund, a scholarship to assist men and women in becoming lay leaders so they are able to assist their priests in the works of the parish.

n Twenty-one young men recently attended “Come and See,” the Seminary’s annual discernment retreat.

“Their interest, enthusiasm and prayerfulness remain powerful signs of God’s abiding presence in the hearts of those He calls to ordained ministry,” Father Robert said.
n A revamped website at www.bcs.edu is now online.

n There are also “very exciting plans” underway for “Welcoming Our Past and Our Future,” which will result in noticeable physical changes to the Seminary building on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

In addition to the Seminary, GCU support includes donating $10,000 each year to the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Eparchies of Parma, Passaic and Phoenix to support needs as determined by Archbishop William and respective Bishops.

The Eparchies can also apply for a $10,000 grant to support a project.

He said as part of the GCU’s “total transformation” of its internal structure, all Byzantine parishes will receive a $2,000 donation in 2023.

George Juba also announced that he will present $250 checks funded by the GCU Foundation to this year’s 10 seminarians.

The Foundation was organized in 2007 and makes monetary grants for charitable, educational and religious purposes.

Seminarians receiving grants are: Evan LeDoux, Joshua Johnson, Thomas Donlin, Nicholas Krivacs, Deacon Timothy Kennedy, Allen Blehl, Mark Le Roy, Luke Iyengar, Tyler Wisniewski and Nathaniel Tapsak.

Seminarians sang “Joyful Tidings Come Our Way,” and “Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming” and St. Nicholas’ hymn before dinner was served.

“It’s been a tremendous period of growth during the last 10 years,” Archbishop William, president of Seminary’s Board of Directors, said.

He thanked everyone for their support of the Seminary and asked to continue to pray for vocations.

“It is a hope we continue to grow and have priests who fulfill all the things that have been done for the past 130 or 140 years here in the Byzantine Catholic Church in the United States.”

The Greek Catholic Union, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Seminary and the St. Nicholas Celebration Committee thank everyone involved with the 2022 event who helped in any way to ensure its success.