Manifesting the Kingdom Award recognizes commitment from Sharpsburg resident
On any given day, Sharpsburg resident Lou Borowski can be found with his tool belt, sprucing up St. Mary Church at St. Juan Diego Parish.
Whether it's small paint jobs, plaster repairs or erecting seasonal decorations, Borowski devotes himself to keeping the magnificent church along Penn Street in showcase condition.
“That's where my attachment has always been,” said Borowski, a lifelong borough resident. “I have the time now, so why not?”
For his tireless volunteerism, Borowski was among those honored with the Manifesting the Kingdom Award, distributed Jan. 27 by Bishop David Zubik during a special ceremony at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.
Zubik said the award celebrates parishioners who “proclaim Christ in their communities through their gifts of time, talent, treasure, devotion, commitment and love.”
Founded in 1999, Manifesting the Kingdom Awards are given based on nominations by pastors, religious communities or the diocese.
“It's an honor to be included with so many,” Borowski said. “I think it's a highly exceptional privilege that the parishes show to an individual.”
Other local residents who received the honor include Dan and Maria Donahue of St. Joseph Parish in O'Hara, Gerald Miloser of St. Pio of Pietrelcina Parish in Blawnox and Joanne Saunders of St. Scholastica Parish in Aspinwall.
The Rev. Thom Miller of St. Joseph Parish said he nominated the Donahues because they are unselfish.
“They give their time generously,” to the church along Dorseyville Road, Miller said. “They are really good folks.”
The same goes for Miloser, said the Rev. Joe Keenan, pastor of St. Pio.
Nominated for his dependability, Keenan said Miloser has an “every day spirit of being present.”
He never says, “No,” when there is work to be done at the church, and he regularly volunteers as a Eucharistic Minister during off-site Masses at Amber Woods personal care home.
“He helps out in any way possible,” Keenan said. “He's just one of those people who is there for the faith community.”
Saunders, a parishioner of St. Scholastica for seven years, was nominated by the Rev. Ken White largely for her work at the adjoining school, Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy.
President for five years of the school's Parent-Teacher-Guild, the Fox Chapel resident helps organize fundraisers such as the fall gala, fish fry, night at the races and spring golf outing. Proceeds from each event help keep tuition costs down at the school.
White said her service has been tremendous and called her “a gracious, focused leader.
“She encourages others to be involved but in her own quiet way, she rolls up her sleeves and makes the mission. She works from the ground level up for her leadership,” White said.
Saunders said the work is important to her so that the parish maintains a presence in the community with a Catholic school.
“I have a strong belief in Catholic education,” she said. “I'm extremely flattered, but it's really through the work of so many other people that I've come to this award.”
For Borowski, 76, there's no choice but to spend his free time helping at the church, he said. It's in his blood, he said.
“I've been doing it ever since my nun in the fifth grade pulled me out of class and gave me work to do at the church,” he joked.
“When I was in high school, my father was the janitor at St. John Cantius and I helped him all the time,” he said, recalling evenings spent chucking coal into the basement furnace.
It was the start of a life-time of volunteerism for Borowski.
“My whole background is with the Catholic church,” he said and cited a 35-year career in teaching during which he made a presence at each of the local church-based schools, such as St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph, St. Edward and St. Mary.
A former seminarian, Borowski retired in 1990 and then served as director of religious education at St. Mary and helped adults who were entering the faith.
Now, the self-appointed caretaker of the parish's “big church,” he finds retirement a distant memory.
He tinkers at the church daily, whether hanging the Christmas decorations or applying fresh coats of paint for spring. The to-do list is hefty, and he has a core group of people who show up to help, Borowski said.
“I only took a break for two years to try the restaurant business but I went right back,” he said with a laugh.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.