Every morning Ginny and Joe Sosnowsky dip into their collection of holy water, gleaned from their travels to shrines and basilicas, and bless each other. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look on you kindly and give you His peace.
“It is our way of remembering that God is the most important person in our lives,” Ginny explained.
The blessings that the Sosnowskys generate each day spill generously into their service to the parish, touching the lives of every member of the church community. Joe has served as chief catalyst for the lay leadership initiative known as Joy of the Gospel, which grew out of a diocesan convocation in 2019. Out of the Joy of the Gospel working group have come bilingual masses, Pro-Life and Welcoming Committees, improvements in communication, and expanded Eucharistic Adoration, to name just a few initiatives. Ginny and Joe organized English language learning classes for adults in Ocean City. Joe led the most recent Catholic Strong capital campaign. At the time of this interview, the couple was just finishing up their help in renovating Culliney Hall at St. Frances of Cabrini Church. Simply, where there is a need, they lean in.
Joe’s signature involvement is as a lay educator. He has a master’s degree in theology from LaSalle University. In recent years he has offered seminars and presentations on the Nicene Creed, the theology of Edith Stein, and the Gospel of Matthew. How did Joe’s interest in Scripture study begin? Twenty years ago as a member of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Mullica Hill, Joe saw an invitation to attend a four-year scripture course offered by the Camden diocese. “I had always been interested in the Bible,” he said, “but I wasn’t making much progress on my own.” He asked his pastor at the time whether he should take the course. Who was that priest? Coincidentally, it was Father Michael Rush, who encouraged Joe to enroll. “Those simple words of encouragement greatly influenced me and my spiritual life,” Joe reflected. A few years later, Ginny also completed the course. She assists Joe in his presentations and seminars.
Ginny’s signature involvement is with Catholic prolife initiatives, a commitment that she has held for decades. She began by volunteering at a pregnancy center, but the real seed for her was planted by her parents, who became prolife activists in their seventies , teaching Ginny that “I had to do more.” “There is no denying it,” she continued, “when I look at a newborn, I see a precious and amazing creation of God. In the womb that baby is voiceless and we must be that voice,” she said.
Ginny and Joe have been married for 42 years and raised three daughters together. They are the grandparents of four. They met at a charismatic prayer meeting, where Joe was re-finding his faith. They became full-time parishioners in St. Damien after moving permanently to Ocean City nine years ago. They had been summer residents for twenty years prior to that. Ginny grew up in a Catholic family in Pennsauken, the oldest of five children. She fell in love with the Latin mass and “I still can say the Our Father in Latin,” she said. Joe was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and was baptized in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Both attended Catholic schools. Joe graduated from Lehigh University and spent his career as an electrical engineer in Philadelphia.
“I feel blessed that I am a Catholic,” Ginny said of her faith. “And we are blessed that we both feel the same way, that we share that together.” Joe could not readily explain his capacity for self-giving and his authentically Christian way of responding to the needs of the people around him. “I am a Catholic. It is who I am.” he said simply. “I could be something else, but it wouldn’t be me.”