STORY & PHOTOS
By MADELYN P. HASTINGS
Devotion to your faith can take many forms. Be it a life of celibacy or hand-peeling potatoes at 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.
That’s exactly what the ladies of St. Stanislaus Church, 430 Williamson Ave., on the South Side do Tuesday through Friday every week. In an effort to keep their church thriving, these volunteers dedicate their time to a tradition passed down from generation to generation in the Polish community in Youngstown.
In the early 1970s, with the congregation dwindling, the Rev. Edward Neroda created a tradition that kept the church alive. According to Marsha Schlais, longtime church volunteer, “Father didn’t like bingo,” and thus the pirogi tradition began.
On Tuesdays, the volunteers peel each potato by hand and soak them in ice water. Wednesdays, they mash the potatoes and mix them with cheese, sour kraut or cottage cheese.
On Wednesday night and Thursday mornings, they prepare every pirogi by hand. A few even take the time to decorate each delicacy by twisting the edges.
Finally, after nearly a week of hard work and preparation, the Friday pirogi feast is ready. Parishioners of St. Stanislaus feel great, and they, and everyone else, can enjoy the fruits of their labor.