FORESTVILLE - A Little Bit of Italy was the "catch phrase" back in 2001 for the first Valentine Spaghetti Dinner held at the St. Rose of Lima Church in Forestville with Bob Morelle and John Yerico as co-chairpersons.
This was the beginning of the homemade Italian spaghetti dinner that has been served each year since in Forestville. It was also the beginning of a friendship between two men who loved their pasta and their families. Yerico and Morelle met when Morelle's dream of having a spaghetti dinner materialized. Yerico, who was originally from the St. John Bosco Church, saw the call for help in Fr. Sheehan's bulletin and offered to come on board. The two became friends instantly, comparing sauce recipes, meatballs, moms, dads, brothers and sisters, children, etc., with the result of a spaghetti sauce and meatballs they believed to be the best in the area.
Morelle died in December 2008, as did Yerico in October 2009. Both are missed by family and friends. They are known to loved ones as "characters" in their own right, both considered well-known in the community. Many came not only to enjoy the dinner but also to relax and talk, as these men loved to do.
From left: The late Bob Morelle and John Yerico founded the annual Valentine Spaghetti Dinner at St. Rose of Lima Church 10 years ago.
Now, in the spaghetti dinner's 10th year, the recipe lives on. Scott Gilman and John Rogers, who served as "back-up" cooks for Yerico and Morelle, have taken over as chairpersons. Mike Stone, Dan Sek, Joe Aguglia and many others will help as well. The women of the church and the St. Rose Society will take care of making the pizelles and the Italian chocolate cookies as usual, along with the salads and the bread.
Since the merger of St. Rose of Lima, St. John Bosco and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, many others have joined in the spaghetti event. Father Dan Fiebelkorn, pastor of the faith community of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and all the parishioners invite the community to come and have a homemade Italian meal on Valentine's Day, Sunday, Feb. 14 from noon to 5 p.m. Mass is at 11:15 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima, 11 Center St.., with dinner following. Take-out dinners are available. Adult dinners will be sold for $8 and children, $4. Meatballs and/or sauce will be on sale for take-home on a first-come, first-serve basis. To pre-order call Pat Morelle at 965-2738 or the Mt. Carmel rectory at 934-2233.
"Bob and John loved their church," Pat Morelle said. "As Fr. Dan expressed recently in his homily, church is not just a building but the people who come together for worship and fellowship."
This year's dinner is dedicated to the memory of John Yerico. All are welcome to attend.