This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Carla Preate about the 11th annual Great Expectations fundraiser, which benefits St. Peter’s Cathedral’s operating expenses and building preservation.

Residence: Waverly Twp.

Title: Chairwoman

Q: What was the inspiration for this event?

A: The 2020 pandemic was not going to stop us from holding the 11th annual Great Expectations. Traditionally, it has been a live holiday social and auction. But we have had to adapt it this year, since we are not able to gather, creating a virtual basket raffle and takeout dinner event. This is my fourth year as chairwoman of the event. My Christmas wish is that we will be able to get together again next year, as we have always done, in person for our 12th-year celebration.

Carla Preate

Q: What does the takeout dinner include?

A: The Green Ridge Club, 1645 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, will provide our takeout meal. Meals can be picked up at the club on Sunday, Dec. 13, from noon to 3 p.m. The dinner will include roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, vegetable medley, cranberry sauce, roll and butter, and dessert. All orders must be placed in advance by Tuesday, Dec. 8, online at or by phone at 570-344-7231. The cost is $15 per person and $10 for children 12 and younger.

Q: What items will be a part of the virtual basket raffle?

A: The baskets can be viewed and raffle tickets purchased online at There will be a variety of themed baskets including Minnie and Mickey, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Hello Kitty and Snoopy; a wine basket; several bath and body baskets; a Vera Bradley tote and wallet; children’s fun baskets, including one filled with activity books and craft items and one filled with toys; a basket of lottery tickets; baskets with Christmas decorations; appliances; and restaurant gift certificates, to name a few. And we even have a “corona basket” with all the supplies you need to keep you safe during the pandemic.

Q: What is your fundraising goal?

A: We hope to raise at least $5,000.Q: How will proceeds be used?

A: The funds raised will primarily be used to help us meet our parish operating expenses. Funds will also go toward the preservation of the cathedral building, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton. We have been serving the faithful of the diocese and beyond for nearly 140 years.

Q: How can you donate to the church if you cannot attend?

A: Donations can be made online at or by mail to St. Peter’s Cathedral, 315 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, PA 18503.

Q: What is unique about this event?

A: This event gives everyone in the community a boost of holiday spirit and is a fun way to usher in the Christmas season.