MAYFIELD, Pa. — Members of a Russian Orthodox church gathered for an annual Ash Wednesday fundraiser Wednesday in Lackawanna County.
Parishioners use pierogis to bring people of different backgrounds together, a goal even more important these days.
The parishioners filling the kitchen at St. John's Russian Orthodox Church in Mayfield are all at least one generation removed from the place their ancestors called home.
But it's still hard to watch what is happening today in that region.
"Man should not be fighting man, let alone brother fighting brother. And I'll drop it at that because we're all heartbroken about what's going on and feel for the people of Ukraine," Fr. John Sorochka said.
Father John said, though it may not seem like it, what's happened on Ash Wednesday in the church kitchen helps foster the peace the world needs right now.
Parishioners cooked up pierogis for a traditional Ash Wednesday sale. The Russian Orthodox church doesn't begin Lent this week like other Catholics. But, Father John hopes the sale brings people of other faiths to their table.
"It helps the church out financially, but it gets our people together to make pierogi out of the house. We get a lot of people who are friends of ours, friends of the church, to come and have a good meal," he added.
"I think once the customers taste the product, they keep coming back. It's the love we put into our pierogi," Alexandra Sorochka added.
"They're homemade; they make them from scratch. They have a lot of love and care that go into them," said customer Dominick Perini of Jessup.
It's the love that makes them good and that powers the team of volunteers who make thousands of pierogis throughout Lent.
And everyone is welcome.
"The church has been making pierogi for the last 130 years. We're just carrying on the legacy that the old folks left us," Father John added.
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