Bernadette Gietka is nothing if not a big dreamer.
The $ 180 million Mega Millions lottery winner from Holy Rosary, Fells Point, struck it rich last year only three weeks after she prayed at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen for God to send the financial resources she needed to promote the culture of life.
Her idea was to produce a musical that would raise awareness about the sanctity of life. While that project was delayed after her mother suffered a heart attack seven months ago, Ms. Gietka said she is again focusing her efforts on getting the production off the ground. And that’s just the beginning.
Ms. Gietka is also mulling over the idea of buying commercial time during the Super Bowl to air a prolife message into millions of homes. She does have the money required for such an ad, $76 million in lottery winnings after taxes.
“ Wouldn’t that be phenomenal?” she said with a laugh.
Last week, Ms. Gietka and her Mary’s Fund Foundation gave out $240,000 to 10 Baltimore-area parishes, the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
There will be no more parish grants, but the foundation will make awards for prolife projects. Contributions are also being accepted to support the foundation, Ms. Gietka said.
“The idea is to stop abortion,” said Bernadette Gietka, who has kept her job as a part- time postal letter carrier. “That’s what’s always on my mind 24 hours a day. That’s what I was supposed to work on and that’s why the foundation was founded.”
The East Baltimore native said the fund was named after the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“ I think she is the one who is going to accomplish this,” she said. “ It can’t be done without her.”
Catherine Gietka, Ms. Gietka’s mother, is the president of Mary’s Fund. Ms. Gietka’s siblings, Jerry Gietka and Lynda Ruszala, are also involved with the foundation.
To make a contribution to Mary’s Fund, write to Mary’s Fund, P. O. Box 9748, Baldwin, MD 21013.
Email George Matysek at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org
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