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Connellsville's St. Rita's ready for annual cookie sale

| Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 7:51 a.m.
Maria Conte, 96, of Connellsville, a member of St. Rita's Christian Mothers, helps make pizzelles at the church social hall. Nearly two dozen volunteers worked on making biscotti, pizzelles and more in preparation for St. Rita's cookie sale, which is scheduled for Saturday. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier dec 2012
St. Rita's Christian Mother Gerri Panzella of Connellsville checks on biscotti being toasted at St. Rita's Social Hall in Connellsville. The Christian Mothers, with help from volunteers, made biscotti, pizzelles, Italian knots and more for their cookie sale on Saturday. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier dec 2012

Members of the Christian Mothers of St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church, Connellsville, have been hard at work for weeks now mixing, baking and packaging their delicious specialties for the annual cookie sale on Saturday.

Hundreds of pounds of flour, sugar and powdered sugar and over 100 dozen eggs are used in making the Italian knots, pizzelles and biscotti that will be sold at the annual event. In addition to those favorites, holiday assortments are also for sale.

“We make 1,000 dozen of knots, over 700 dozen each of the pizzelles and biscotti,” Christian Mothers President Rita Pratt said. “They are all packaged by the dozen and the prices have not gone up in quite a few years.”

She added that the group could not it without their dedicated volunteers.

“They are wonderful. They are mostly women and a couple men are always there to help, too. One lady is 96 years old and works with us every year. She enjoys it,” Pratt said.

Many people look forward to this sale and come every year. Some travel from Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Uniontown.

“One person spends over $600 for cookies each year, and of course, the local support is what makes the sale such a great success each year,” Pratt said.

St. Rita's Christian Mothers Cookie Sale has been held for more than 40 years.

“It is a great fundraiser for the church,” Pratt added. “The proceeds are used wherever they are needed. We have the full cooperation of Father Bob Lubic. This project is a lot of work, but it is so nice that the women come together and enjoy each others company and they look forward to coming. Some haven't seen each other in awhile and they are able to catch up. Some may only be able to come for an hour or two, but those hours of help are as important as those who come for many hours at a time. Everyone enjoys the camaraderie. We are there every day, baking and packaging, the weeks before the sale.”

“I am so impressed by all that the St. Rita Christian Mothers do for the parish,” Lubic said. “We are truly blessed. I just hope I don't overly indulge in the cookie goodness or I'll need Santa to bring me an entire new wardrobe.”

Many people buy dozens of everything to include on cookie trays for entertaining or to give as gifts. The sale begins at 9 a.m. in St. Rita's Social Hall.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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