Bernadette Gietka, the Dundalk letter carrier-turned-millionaire, shared some of her June 2003 lottery winnings last night, handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to 10 local parishes, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Cardinal William H. Keeler's Lenten Appeal.
Half of the $20,000 awards Gietka gave to each organization came from the Mary's Fund Foundation, which she and her family set up after she won the $183 million Mega Millions jackpot. Gietka gave the remaining money from her personal funds, according to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Gietka and her mother, Catherine Gietka, handed out the checks totaling $240,000 during a presentation at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore.
"I wanted to give something back, especially when they have given so much," Bernadette Gietka said last night.
The parishes are ones that the Gietkas have had relationships with over the years. Holy Rosary in Baltimore has been Catherine Gietka's parish for 77 years, the archdiocese said.
The other parishes that received $20,000 awards are: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Casimir, Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Catholic Community of St. Michael and St. Patrick, and Our Lady of Fatima, all of Baltimore; St. Clare in Essex; St. John the Evangelist in Hydes; Our Lady Queen of Peace in Middle River; and Sacred Heart of Mary in Dundalk.
The Mary's Fund Foundation will also award a total of $30,000 to two Catholic parishes in New Jersey and one in Haiti, according to the archdiocese.