YORK-- Here is the recipe to build a church in York.
Start with a new couple, James Ramere and his wife, Anne, moving from Philadelphia to York in 1949 so James can help build, then supervise, the Sullivan Carson textile plant.
The recipe requires no worry that there are only a handful of other Catholic families in York at that time, or that the only worship place for York's Catholics is the chapel at the Divine Saviour Hospital where the nuns live. Do not worry that you are maybe the only Italians in town, and Yankees to boot.
"To start anything good, you cook with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you add love and you have it," stated Anne Ramere.
To help build a church, to make the recipe, Anne Ramere listened to her mother. The mother was an immigrant who came to America, did not speak English, had little education but had so much love for her new country and her family and her faith that it all spilled over the sides of the pots she cooked in.
"Try spaghetti," Anne Ramere was told by her mother, to help build a church in York in 1950.
"We started with 10 pounds of meat, sold it for a dollar a plate," Ramere said. "Made maybe $60."
All the money went into the recipe for the future finished dish: a church.
Every year, the Rameres made spaghetti to sell in the fall. Bigger portions each year as interest grew. Even after her husband died and Anne was a single mother with Maria and James Jr. to raise.
By 1963, a new Divine Saviour Catholic Church was built on York's Herndon Avenue. The kids grew up, became decorated in the education profession and helped with the spaghetti in the fall.
The mix of beef and pork. The seasonings. The tomato sauce. The pasta. The little church, and little city, adopted the annual spaghetti supper.
"Like frost on the pumpkins, the fall in York means mom's spaghetti and meat sauce at our church," said Anne's son, James Ramere Jr.
So many others came to this church. So many started helping with the set-up, the stirring, filling plates, cleanup, whatever. They still do. The recipe grew.
By 1993, a fellowship hall was built at the church.
"Partly from spaghetti," said Maria Ramere Duncan, Anne's daughter. "And partly from the meat sauce."
In the meat sauce goes a little bit of olive oil, a little bit of red wine. Never a lot, never measured. By this morning, more than 700 pounds of meat will have been used to make the sauce for those thousands of plates that will go out this afternoon in the annual spaghetti sale. All to make the recipe, for the church, that now serves more than 300 families. Where the parishioners call 86-year-old Anne Ramere "Mother Superior."
A little bit of this, a little bit of that. For 48 years in a row. Add a whole lotta love. Have Anne Ramere stir it all in, and you've got a church.