Fraternity with a simple family dinner

Gastronomic gatherings allow us to share moments that can promote fraternity, generosity and joy. Francisco Santiago, vicar of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the town of Villalba, Puerto Rico, tells us. 

Francisco Santiago-March 1, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
fraternity meal

On a beautiful morning in the mountains of Villalba, he arrived from some early morning errands and received from a parishioner his usual Saturday lunch for the Fathers of the town.

I would bring a sancocho

In the joyful dialogue prior to the delivery of the food, she commented that she would bring a sancocho (a very typical stew that mixes different types of meat and tubers) to a novena rosary for a deceased person. She also mentioned that she always arrived early to help the family prepare the hors d'oeuvres that are usually offered after the novenario to those who participate: how important this gesture is!

It made me think how much sense it makes for a family to give a gift, no matter how simple it may be, to the one who compares with them at that moment, in this case a little difficult. But it is not limited to difficult moments because almost every moment of Christian life is sealed with a meal or at least with a sharing of some snacks. 

The family's Easter journey

As a result of all this, I remembered an activity that we developed in the parish of Santo Domingo de Guzman in the beautiful town of Yauco, in which I collaborated and which was called "Easter Family Day". In that activity we sought, that around the dining table, the family of the children of God who were on pilgrimage in that community would gather and we would strengthen the bonds of Christian fraternity within the spirit of the Easter season.

 The activity took place on a Sunday afternoon on the grounds of the parish church which provided all the elements: parking and the outdoor area to prepare the tables for the dinner. Inside the church we had the first part of our meeting, a time of prayer for all the families, especially those of our community. Then we went outside where under some flamboyant trees and in the cool of the afternoon there were 30 tables ready to welcome everyone. There was also a simple stage at the back for some good music. 

The third part

Everyone was seated and the dinner that had been prepared by a group of faithful together with the parochial vicar began to be served. With great love they worked together from early in the morning to present to all those who participated a succulent dinner with bread, rice, meat, salad and dessert. While the diners were tasting the food, the third part of the activity began.

The parish priest of the community, who was musically gifted, together with parishioners from the different choirs, prepared a musical selection to offer a small concert to those who were having dinner. The dynamic was truly pleasant, some danced and sang, the children ran around playing and everyone spent an evening of true fraternity with the simple fact of a family dinner.

This is just one example of how sharing a meal provides an opportunity to fellowship and strengthen family ties. Let us take advantage of every opportunity the Lord gives us to serve others (cf. Lk 22:27) in this small way and through this simple gesture create and deepen Christian family bonds.

The authorFrancisco Santiago

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