By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
On Tuesday, March 5, Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Hope will mark 61 years in its spaghetti cookings which have become annual tradition in the first months of the year in the Hope community.
After being in early February last year, this year’s Annual Mardi Gras Spaghetti Lunch and Supper happens later, this time March 5, which coincides with a late Easter this year and a later Fat Tuesday, also known to many as Mardi Gras. For practicing Catholics, Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Beyond the date moving, not much has changed, according to this year’s Spaghetti Chairman Vic Massenelli, the son of the legendary Mary Massenelli, who came up with the original spaghetti recipe when the dinner first started 61 years ago.
For 2019, Vic Massenelli said the lunch & supper will run from from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and it will have its usual carry-out line, through an elaborate drive-thru system at the Walker Street entrance, and dine in will be in the church’s main parish center adjacent to the church itself at 315 South Walker Street.
Vic Massenelli also said the church will again have delivery drivers for local orders of ten or more.
The local story of the Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church’s spaghetti dinners have been well-documented over the years across the media. Mary Massenelli, now 95, has been credited for the original “secret” recipe for the spaghetti sauce, and even in recent years, Mary Massenelli could still be seen serving salads on the serving line.
Attributed to longtime Parish Chairperson, Judy Micco in 2018, “This event started 60 years ago when the supper was held in the old Parish Fellowship Hall which was a small, detached building located where the current parking lot is.”
Over time, Micco said the spaghetti dinner evolved to serving lunch, and its servings of 200 have been over 2,000 annually the past few years.
“We try to measure out how much it will take for approximately 2,000 meals. We base that on last year’s numbers. Typically, we have 500 who eat in, and we have over 1400 take outs,” Micco said during last year’s 2018 event.
Vic Massenelli said that the traditional “Dine-in” serving lines will be the same this year and will continue to be an “All you can eat” style buffet line.
Massenelli also said Thursday that the traditional “Desert Bar” will also return for 2019. For dining inside Fellowship Hall, visitors will typically see several tables of over 100 varieties of homemade cakes, cookies, pies, and a locally popular treat, the homemade banana pudding.