Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh


Photo Credit: Jim Judkis


Carol and Joe Dello Stritto spend a lot of time in their second home.

It’s not in a retirement community in far-off Florida or Arizona. It’s their parish, Our Lady of Joy in Holiday Park.

“The church is like our second home, and you have to take care of it,” Joe Dello Stritto said.

“You don’t always know the needs of your parish, let alone your diocese,” Carol Dello Stritto said. “Our Campaign for The Church Alive! helped us understand those needs, and participating in the Mass of Gratitude at the Cathedral, seeing the parishioners from all the other parishes, it’s united us.”

At the Mass on Jan. 25, Bishop David Zubik challenged the faithful to take the next step.

“We need to dream big, say ‘Yes!’ and roll up our sleeves,” Bishop Zubik told campaign leaders. “When we do that, then the dream of Jesus is coming true.”

Frank Viglio, who helped lead the campaign at St. Bartholomew Parish in Penn Hills, is excited about Bishop Zubik’s call to action.

“I feel like I have more to offer for my faith,” Viglio said. “I invite people to come back to church. I tell them to leave your wallet at home—God wants your heart.

“I told a coworker about the campaign, how we got involved,” Viglio added. “One man was in tears. He said, ‘Wow, I would have loved to have done something like that at my church.’”

At St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen Parish in Butler, Father James Murphy is dreaming big, helping his parishioners to reach out and spread the good news.

“We’re developing small study groups to talk about the gospel and what their mission is as a Christian,” Fr. Murphy said. “We want to give them the tools and the plan to evangelize.”

There’s no question in his mind that there’s a strong desire for spiritual growth.

“We received more than 500 copies of Pope Francis’s book, The Joy of the Gospel,” Father Murphy said. “I announced at Mass that the books were available in the back of church, and immediately every copy was gone. Talk about a hunger!”

Lay leaders at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship neighborhoods dreamed big, said yes and are rolling up their sleeves.

“We’re doing the work at hand,” said Anne Crawford, who helped lead her parish campaign. “There are untapped ways to evangelize, especially reaching the younger people who are working at Google and other tech companies. We’re working to keep them engaged.”

Anne’s husband Jack Crawford supported the campaign because he sees the potential in connecting with people in Garfield, where he grew up at the former St. Lawrence O’Toole parish, now part of St. Maria Goretti.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to support the campaign,” Jack Crawford said. “The spirit of the people is alive.”

Bishop Zubik is looking beyond the financial commitments to the campaign, to the work ahead.

“I rejoice in the tremendous commitment to living and spreading the gospel that these gifts represent,” Bishop Zubik said. “It shows that our people love their faith and are willing to make sacrifices for it.”

Back “home” at Our Lady of Joy Parish, the Dello Strittos are constantly recharging their batteries by getting involved in new ministries.

“We get nudged,” Carol said. “We go along when God pushes us in a certain direction. We never know what it is. You just have to keep your eyes and your heart open.”

Photo Credit: Jim Judkis

Photo Credit: Jim Judkis