Bishop Kulick Honors Diocesan Employees Retiring – Two With 100 Years of Combined Service
GREENSBURG – June 30, 2022 – According to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that average worker has been with their current employer is 4.1 years. Two employees at the Diocese of Greensburg exceed that statistic by nearly 12 times. Sharon Grabowski, an administrative assistant for Catholic Charities and Jackie Mignogna, administrative coordinator for the Office of Faith, Family and Discipleship, celebrated their golden work anniversaries this year. Mignogna retired this spring. Grabowski’s last day was June 30th.
“My goal was to get to 50 years with the Diocese of Greensburg,” said Grabowski. She achieved that goal on March 20, 2022. Grabowski spent two thirds of her life at Catholic Charities. In fact, she only worked at one other place – for one day – before coming to the Diocese at the age of 18. Despite coming from a large family and spending time with her nieces and nephews, Grabowski says her co-workers are like a second family. “It’s not that we won’t keep in touch, but there won’t be the same day to day interaction,” she said. “Its going to be very strange when I need to drive past the Pastoral Center on East Pittsburgh Street and don’t turn into the parking lot.”
For those who call Catholic Charities when they are in need, Grabowski’s voice is the first they hear. On a typical day, the office gets between 85 to 100 calls. For decades, she has listened to those who are in despair or who need baby supplies and food boxes and connected the caller with the needed help or counseling. “Many times, I help people who are really doing their best and are grateful for the help that Catholic Charities can provide,” she said, remembering her years of service. “I’ve had people call and say, ‘I’ve never had to do this’ or ‘I’m embarrassed to call you’ and we tell them there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about because everyone deserves a hand up at some point in their lives.” Sadly, Grabowski has seen the need increase, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. She remained in the office everyday during the pandemic to assist those needing help.
On July 1, Grabowski plans to sleep in. In fact, she says she may remain in her pajamas all day. Aside from being with family, she does not have any long range plans. However, she has a fascination with sign language. “ I have taken courses before, but I would really like to take another course and teach somebody else, not only to pass it on, but to keep my skills sharp,” she said. She also plans to spend the summer learning how to adjust to her new life schedule.
After attending Robert Morris Junior College, Jackie Mignogna began working as a tax clerk for a local firm. After two years, the business was sold and relocated and Mignogna began working for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Greensburg. In 1999, she transferred to the Department of Education and Spiritual Formation where, after 50 years of service to the Diocese, she retired as Administrative Coordinator for the Office of Faith, Family and Discipleship. Over the years, Mignogna says the working atmosphere at the Pastoral Center has dramatically changed thanks to the technology that keeps departments in close contact with each other. It has also enabled the Diocese to stay connected with parishes. When she assumed her role, she said she had many questions for Faith Formation Directors and Youth Ministers. “They graciously answered my questions and our relationships have continued and new ones made,” Mignogna said. She remembers all of the telephone calls with parish secretaries, getting to know them over the phone, but in many cases never meeting them in person. She also remembers the friendships she has formed over the years with members of the Clergy.
Mignogna says there are many happy memories she has during her employment, but two stick out in her mind. Bishop Anthony Bosco asked to join Mignogna and the rest of the support staff in the employee lounge for lunch. Mignogna told the Bishop that the group talks about the goings on in their lives and they did not discuss work issues. “His first visit involved conversation about television shows and although they were not shows he watched, he did watch them and he shocked us when he shared his thoughts about the shows the next time he joined us,” Mignogna recalled. She also remembered being able to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia. “They were driving the Pope by us slowly and I was only a few feet from the car and received a blessing from him as he drove by.”
As she enters retirement, Mignogna looks forward to the freedom of planning her day on her own time schedule. She looks forward to spending time with her grandsons, Dominic and Luca, her family friends and fiancé. “ I received a t-shirt from my grandsons, which states….Retired….Under New Management….See Grandkids for Details. That sums it up pretty well! “
Diocesan Retirees Honored For Their Service by Bishop Kulick
For nearly 32 years, Jerry Bertig has cared for Christ Our Shepherd Center. On June 1, Bertig stepped down as Director for Facilities Management at Christ Our Shepherd Center and will transition towards retirement. In the short term, Jerry will help over the summer as a resource for Jim Garvin, Director for Engineering and Facilities Management. Garvin will assume the responsibility for the management of Christ Our Shepherd Center. With a reduced schedule, Bertig will remain with the Diocese as Director of the Diocesan Heritage Center and Bishop’s Liaison for Special Events.
Bertig said his long tenure has afforded him the pleasure of hosting countless events and meeting many people, as well as the chance to undertake hundreds of projects, none of which would have been possible without the hard work and assistance of many dedicated past and present COSC staff members, for whom he will always be appreciative
“Participating in the work and mission of the Diocese for so many years has been a treasured and integral part of my life and has provided me with many enriching experiences and memories,” Bertig said. “Each time that I consider that I have beautiful chapels just steps away from my office, or attend a Diocesan liturgy, or one of our staff gatherings with Mass, or any other event involving prayer and fellowship, I think about what a rarity and blessing it is to have all of that as a part of one’s work life.”
Dr. Paul Niemiec
For more nearly 21 years, Dr. Niemiec has served the Diocese of Greensburg and Catholic Charities as Director of Counseling Services. In addition to providing counseling, he administered the counseling program at Catholic Charities while providing training for Diocesan staff on issues such as child abuse prevention and mandated reporting. He also was appointed to serve as the Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator and consulted for the Office of Clergy Formation, Seminarian Review Board and Diaconate Formation Board.
During the height of COVID-19, Dr. Niemiec served as the Interim Director of Catholic Charities, when former Director, Monsignor Raymond E. Riffle, was appointed Vicar General for the Diocese.
While Dr. Niemiec announced his retirement from Catholic Charities in April, he said he would not be going too far. He will continue in a part time position, serving as the Bishop’s Liaison for Special Ministries.
Dr. Maureen Marsteller
After eight years as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Greensburg, Dr. Maureen Marsteller retired on June 24, 2022. She planned to retire in 2020, but agreed to remain as superintendent to help students, families and principals navigate the unique challenges of COVID-19, including the transition to virtual learning, the development of COVID-19 mitigation protocols and the return to in-person instruction.
Bishop Larry J. Kulick expressed his gratitude for the vision she provided to the 12 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Greensburg, particularly during the pandemic.
“During Dr. Marsteller’s 45-year career as an educator, she was a true advocate for the spiritual and educational development of students. We sincerely thank her for her many years of faithful service,” Bishop Kulick said.
Prior to becoming Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese, Dr. Marsteller was the Assistant Principal at St. Louise de Marillac School and Principal of Oakland Catholic High School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
“It has been a true blessing and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve others and support Catholic education as the Superintendent of Schools. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work alongside outstanding leaders and amazing school communities to help others achieve their full potential as servants of God,” Dr. Marsteller said.
Mary Ann Newhouse
Mary Ann Newhouse never expected that she would be working for the Diocese of Greensburg for 26 years. During that time, Newhouse served as the Natural Family Planning/ CM-BBT Professional for Catholic Charities. “I have been blessed to be able to help 500 men and women with the method and provide them with follow up and support,” Newhouse said, reflecting on her years of service. She said the experience has been ‘awesome.’
Newhouse retired on May 25, 2022. She plans to remain involved in the community by volunteering for the local food bank and food pantry. In her retirement, Newhouse is planning to take some time to travel and connect with family and friends. She is the wife of Deacon William M. Newhouse, Administrator at the partner parishes of Sacred Heart Parish and Ascension Parish in Jeannette.
Sharyn Zalno has been associated with Catholic education most of her life. Before coming to the Diocese of Greensburg in 2016 as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Zalno served as assistant principal at Oakland Catholic High School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Prior to that, she dedicated her career to the children in Catholic schools as both a teacher and as an administrator. She taught at the former Immaculate Conception School, Irwin, and remained on the faculty when Queen of Angels Catholic School was formed in 1992. She served as assistant principal and acting principal of Queen of Angels before moving to the Oakland Catholic position in 2004. She and her husband live in Harrison City and are parishioners at St. Barbara Parish.