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Everson church to serve traditional Christmas Eve dinner with breaking of oplatek (wafer)

| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

For the first time in many years, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Everson will host a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner —the Wigilia.

Jason Taft, a member of the anniversary committee, said the dinner has been resurrected as part of the church's 125th anniversary celebration.

“We thought it would be a good way to close out the year on a high note by bringing back the tradition,” he said. “We did not have any for about six or seven years, and we are resurrecting it and hoping to do it annually.”

The Wigilia is a special Christmas Eve dinner that traditionally begins when the first star appears at night. The event will be held Saturday in the church's school hall beginning with the breaking of the oplatek or white wafer — a symbol of unity and love among family members.

Taft credits committee member Barbara Rozycki as the driving force to restore the Wigilia.

“I thought it was an opportunity for the young people to experience it,” Rozycki said.

After the breaking of the oplatek, the dinner will be served. The meal will consists of traditional Polish foods — mushroom soup, breaded fish, butter potatoes, rice, lima beans, cabbage and potato perogis, pickled herring, sauerkraut with peas, marinated fruit cup and nut and poppy-seed kolachi.

“At the table, an extra place will be set for unexpected company or visiting spirits,” Rozycki said.

After the meal, St. Nicholas will pay a visit and distribute piernieczki, a Polish honey cookie, to the guests. The evening will end with a koledi or sing-a-long of traditional Polish songs.

All of the food for the event will be made by the parishioners, with most cooked by members of the St. Joseph Women's Society.

Tickets for the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 24, are $18 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 724-529-2850. Seating is limited.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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