Mark Ratesic is the third generation of Ratesic men to live in Republic, work in the coal mines and attend Holy Rosary Parish. His grandfather, who immigrated to Republic from Croatia, passed on his work ethic, religious values and cultural traditions to his family.
Mark is determined to preserve that heritage, including the Catholic faith, for future generations.
Mark, who attended Holy Rosary School for kindergarten through eighth grade, says he received a high quality education from dedicated teachers who instilled hard work, discipline, respect and morals in students. Although the school is now closed, Mark has fond memories of his days there and hopes that there will be a resurgence of Catholic education in the future to help mold upstanding citizens and increase the dwindling number of clergy.
The only coal miner still living in "the patch," the original miners' area of town, Mark has remained committed to his childhood church. He's always ready to lend a strong hand at parish events, performing physical jobs like taking orders and serving food at the street fair. He also has a special spot in his heart for the annual Easter fundraiser during which he helps make traditional pierogi.
"The Church is part of my family and my culture," Mark says. "It's a community of good people."
Mark sees the role of the Church today as a "beacon on a hill," the standard by which people measure themselves.
"It keeps people together," he adds. "Like it says in the Bible: You gather or you scatter."
To help sustain the Church, Mark has made regular financial gifts for decades and has made the Church a beneficiary of his will. He has specifically designated portions of his bequest to the Church, the cemetery, the priests' retirement fund, Peter's Pence Collection and the Diocese of Greensburg.
Mark's contributions indicate his desire to support the structure of the Church as well as honor those who have devoted their lives to delivering the word of God. His support is also a way to perpetuate the heritage and faith that have been the cornerstones of his family and his community for generations.
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