In Bavaria, it’s time for Oktoberfest, a chance to feast on some good German food. But where can a Pittsburgher of German heritage get some good German food at this time of the year? The obvious answer is at St. Malachy’s annual Nationality Festival. And if you are Italian or Polish or some other nationality (or just like their food), you can get those here, too. In fact, I intend to sample a number of different foods, including those perfectly pinched pierogis. But as the festival draws near, it is the German food that I am most looking forward to.
This will be my first Nationality Festival at St. Malachy, and I am looking forward to it. It should be a very good time. There are, of course, several aspects to a parish festival, and its success can be judged on a number of levels. On the one hand, a festival is a fund raiser. In fact, when most people ask how the festival went, we usually are asking whether we made a good profit. With the raffle, we are certainly off to a good start, and I have hopes that this will be a very good festival in that sense.
When we speak of a festival as a fund raiser, we remember why we are raising these funds. There have been a number of times when someone has come to me and asked if his or her ticket had won the raffle. When I say no, the response I often get is, “That’s okay; it’s for a good cause.” The festival helps our parish have the resources to be a sign of God’s grace in the community, particularly by helping our school to bring the message of Christ to a new generation. So for those who are donating to a good cause, we offer our thanks for making our festival a success.
To be a good event, a festival cannot be judged simply on profit or loss. It needs to be fun, too. Sampling different types of food can be very enjoyable, and there are games and other activities as well. It should be a very enjoyable time.
And when we get together for a good time, we are building our community. This is a time that can bring St. Malachy’s parishioners closer together. Whether you are working at some part of the festival and pulling together with others or are coming as a customer, you have a chance to get to know some of your neighbors. We also have a chance to be visible to the community, as we know that some non-parishioners will be coming for the pierogis or other foods. You can tell your friends and neighbors that we welcome them (and their money) to our big party.
Finally, I have to say a word of thanks to all those who are running and working this festival. These people have put in such yeoman’s work for some long and hard hours, all to make the festival a success in all of the above aspects. I offer my personal thanks on behalf of the entire parish community for all your hard work and dedication in making the festival a success.
And to those who want to come and share in my Oktoberfest celebration at the festival: “Ein prosit.”