MONTOURSVILLE — One year ago, a church in Lycoming County was transformed into a flood recovery operation.
This weekend, that same Montoursville church is holding a three-day festival. Starting Friday, Our Lady of Lourdes in Montoursville kicks off its first pig roast and festival.
The celebration will be a far cry from what the Catholic church and the surrounding community faced last year after historic flooding.
Rose Patt and Mary Jo Mathie have spent a month preparing an authentic Polish dinner to kick off the church festival in Montoursville this weekend.
They’ve stocked this cooler at our Lady of Lourdes Parish with enough food to feed the masses — including kielbasa, pierogies and more.
“I would rather be doing this preparing food than cleaning mud,” said Mary Jo Mathie.
Mathie was one of the hundreds in this area whose lives were turned upside down last year when the September flood hit.
The church community stepped up and helped victims at our Lady of Lourdes when it mattered most.
“It was horrendous, everyone came together, hall was filled with clothing, We worked in the kitchen, we put out 4,000 meals in nine days,” said Rose Patt, a parishioner.
One year ago, Our Lady of Lourdes in Montoursville was the go-to place for many flood victims in this area. Fast forward a year to now, they’re hoping they come back for a much different reason: this festival, which can give back to the church that gave so much.
“All of a sudden you look and say ‘gee, look at what was happening last year.’ This year we’re thankful,” said Father John Manno.
The festival was Father Manno’s idea, something to bring the community together, and to help the church deal with some of its needs: a sagging porch on the rectory and other repair needs as well.
“It’s something the parish needs, as you see some things are falling apart,” Father Manno said.
And just like everyone here came together after the flood, parishioners and the community get to do it again, But this time on their own terms.
“It’s been a rough year, but we’re all coming together, everyone’s doing what they can do,” Mathie said.
The festival at Our Lady of Lourdes kicks off Friday, Sept. 14 at 5:00 p.m. and continues through Sunday.