4/18/2013 4:31:00 AM Couple use their noodles to revive tradition
Photo contributed by Barbara Masvidal
Barbara Masvidal and Bill Dietzler sell tickets to St. Philip Neri’s spaghetti dinner.
They don’t have even one ancestor from Italy between them, but husband and wife Bill Dietzler and Barbara Masvidal helped preserve an Italian tradition at St. Philip Neri Church.
Every year since 2008, they have served as lead organizers of the parish’s annual spaghetti and meatball dinner, slated this year for noon to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, April 28. With their joint aptitude for efficiency, event coordination gets easier each year.
Since 1953, people from all over the city have returned to the Southeast Portland parish, once predominantly Italian, for the dinner. A wonderful spirit takes over the hall, Masvidal said.
“It’s a time of gathering for many of the clans,” she said.
Spearheaded for decades by the parish’s Holy Names Society, the dinner’s attendance dwindled as members of the society decreased. In the mid-2000s, parishioners hoped to breathe new life into the tradition. Turnout has rekindled over the past five years.
In the old days, Italian ladies of the parish would each make a pot of sauce at home, and combine the concoctions at the church in one big batch.Today, the sauce recipe has been refined and documented for posterity. Meatballs are rolled fresh the day before the event, 4,000 in all, by a small army of volunteers.
During their time as leaders, Dietzler and Masvidal carefully documented the entire planning process so it would be easy for new leaders to take over. This year, they are training the next generation.
“We’re dedicated to passing on the information and getting other people involved,” Masvidal said.
Carvlin Hall is at Southeast 16th and Division St. For more information, call 503-231-4955.