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Pastoral Council

The work of the Pastoral Council

In the years following the Second Vatican Council, many changes have occurred in the Church and the world.  These changes are reflected in our own diocese, one of the most remarkable being that vocations to the priesthood and religious life have decreased markedly.  As a result, parishes have been closed, merged or partnered.  At the same time, the spiritual needs of our parishioners continues to  multiply.  The good news is that the Holy Spirit is alive and active among us, urging us to use our gifts and talents for the good of our sisters and brothers.

There are two important questions that must be answered:  What needs to be done as the Church moves into the future and who is going to do it?  No one person has all the answers.  No one person can identify all the issues.  But we, working together as brothers and sisters in Christ, can begin to answer these questions as we move ahead.

The Pastoral Council, made up of ordinary parishioners, is designed to work with the Pastor in identifying the needs of the parish and then to chart a course that will help us, as Church, respond to those needs.  Members of the Pastoral Council are called to help shape the vision of the parish:  (Where do we see the parish moving in the next five to ten years?), and then to develop a plan that will motivate and inspire parishioners to reach that goal (What do we have to do to get there?).

Pastoral Council Members


Thomas Ansani

JohnPaul Bertucci

JohnPaul and his wife Rachele were married in Mount Saint Peter Church in 1997 and are active members of the parish.  Together they have 2 sons, JohnPaul and Julian.  He is the owner of Giunta-Bertucci Funeral Home, Inc. located in Arnold.

          JohnPaul believes that Faith should come first in our lives and all praise and thanksgiving should be given to our Lord.  By providing opportunities for meaningful worship, the parish can help its members feel the embrace of our church and God's love.  He is proud of being part of our Parish Pastoral Council and looks forward to bringing families closer to God through their active involvement in parish life.


Michael BrockMichael Brock

Michael is a lifelong resident of the area, graduating from Kiski Area High School. He graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Dental Laboratory Technology. He and his wife, Nancy, were married in Mt. St. Peter Church 25 years ago and they have two beautiful daughters, Lauren and Natalie. They are the owners of Brock Laboratories, Inc., a full service dental laboratory in Creighton.

Michael has been a member of this parish since 1986 and went through the RCIA process in 1994-95. He hopes to see our parish thrive and grow, not only in the number of parishioners, but also as a presence in the community.


Linda HenkelLinda Henkel

Linda Henkel is a lifelong member of Mt. St. Peter Church. She serves our Parish in the ministries of lector, catechist, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to the homebound, and food bank worker.  Linda is a member of the St. Anthony Guild, the Disciples of Vincent DePaul, and the Addolorata Society.  A retired first grade teacher from the New-Kensington-Arnold School District, she resides in Lower Burrell with her husband Jack.
Linda’s vision for Mt. St. Peter Parish is that it will continue to be a source of spirituality, inspiration, and assistance for all parishioners, as well as for the greater community by which it is surrounded.


Jen LombardoJen Lombardo

Jennifer and her husband, Nick Lombardo, were both born and raised in New Kensington. She’s been a member of the parish since they were married here 20 years ago. They currently live in Lower Burrell with their son, Nico, age 14. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. She and her husband are part owners of Mazziotti Bakery in Arnold.

Jennifer feels that the key to a bright future of Mount Saint Peter Parish depends on the willingness of Mt. St. Peter parishioners to evangelize – to spread the message of Jesus Christ through their words and actions. She’s proud of the way the parish has responded during the past several years to support the many projects and ministries that have stemmed from the parish Evangelization Plan. She knows it’s just the beginning and is excited to be a part of it all! 


mattaJim Matta

Jim resides in New Kensington with his wife Lisa, a teacher for Mary Queen of Apostles School, and their two daughters, Angelica and Ashley. Jim is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and is the General Manager for The Municipal Water Authority of the City of New Kensington. He has been a member of Mt. St. Peter Parish since 1982, has served on Pastoral Council since 2009 and is presently serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

Jim’s vision for the future of Mt. St. Peter Parish would be to unite all the ministries working together as a community of disciples, spreading God’s Word to improve the overall atmosphere of MSP and to help bond the Parish with the surrounding communities.



Ted OpalkaTed Opalka

Ted grew up in Ford City and moved to Lower Burrell after marrying his wife Tricia, who resided in Vandergrift.  He has a B.S. degree from Robert Morris University.  Ted & Tricia have two children, Nicholas and Natalie. Ted is an Area Supervisor for Aurora Huts LLC. in Seven Fields.  Ted is a volunteer on the Gardeners of Eden at MSP.

Ted’s hopes and dreams for the parish include maintaining a strong sense of our parish identity as we grow closer through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He also hopes that the parish will be a bright beacon of light to all who yearn for Christ’s Word and Love.


Maryellen SchroederMaryellen Schroeder

Maryellen is the wife of Edward and the mother of Ariel, Gabe, Isabelle and Ethan. She is a native of Western Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Germanic Language and Philosophy before attending the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. She then completed a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Faculty Development at UPMC St. Margaret while earning a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology and Public Health, also from Pitt. Since 1990 she has served as full-time faculty for the family medicine residency program at UPMC St. Margaret and is also active in private practice.

Realizing from personal experience that modern technology can inadvertently provide obstacles to living a faith-filled life, she has become interested in how Catholicism’s rich heritage not only perfectly complements science, but also combats moral relativism.  As a parish council member she hopes to deepen her own faith as well as help other parishioners nourish their spirituality while living in a secular world.


TuskanJ.T. Tuskan

Faith and family describe the focus of J.T. Tuskan’s life since he and his wife Anita moved from Uniontown to the Coxcomb Hill area more than 20 years ago.  His faith journey started at a seminar in the late 80s that helped J.T. and his wife develop a relationship with Christ and led to a desire to study a faith they were raised in but knew little about.   Over the years, the Tuskans became catechists in RCIA, led small faith groups and served on parish or school advisory boards, committees or councils.  Often as catechists, their faith was strengthened and developed by those being catechized.  At home, they have raised three children, a son Justin, and two daughters, Julie and Jessica, who attends MSP and Oakland Catholic.  J.T. works in marketing and communications in Pittsburgh.

As a member of pastoral council, J.T. wants MSP to grow disciples who are faithful followers and students of Jesus who study their faith.  He believes it would be wonderful for all parishioners to worship God vibrantly each Sunday, serve those in need in New Kensington and reflect Christ in their daily lives by their love.  Over time, J.T. thinks a focus on these objectives can result in our church receiving blessings from God that are beyond our biggest dreams because of God’s love for us.