Here is a way that you can experience the thrill of travel without any of the inconvenience. Okay, you figured me out. What I’m really trying to accomplish here is to give a commercial for the annual St. Malachy Parish Nationality Festival. No, Pope Francis will not be coming (although he would certainly be welcome). But the St. Malachy Nationality Festival gives us a chance to experience some of the excitement of other cultures, at least in a culinary sense, and still sleep in our own beds at night. And the festival is much more affordable than traveling to Europe.
There are a number of ways I could look at our festival. Obviously, this is an important fundraiser for our parish. As my responsibility to the parish includes making sure that we can pay our bills and keep everything in good shape, I have to look at the festival in terms of what kind of profit we make. But there is much more to the festival than the so-called bottom line. This is also a chance for us to enjoy one another’s company and to work together and play together.
As important as fundraisers are to a parish (and to a parish’s school), it is just as important that we build up our community. This festival is an excellent time to come together and to enjoy one another’s company. It is a time to spend time with one another in a social setting. The festival gives us an opportunity to meet others in our community, and frequently people will bring friends and family from outside the parish to enjoy a good meal.
Many parishes have festivals that offer games (for adults and for kids) and entertainment. Most of them offer food as part of the experience. Ours features the food as the primary part of the experience. Last year I found that I could have something different every day and still not get a meal from each and every booth. I don’t think I hit any of the booths more than once. Okay, I was a frequent visitor to the cookie booth, but I mean that I didn’t have a main meal from the same booth more than once. Last year I was eager to taste the wares of the German booth, and I took care of that as soon as the festival opened. I kept wanting to go back for more, but I had to offer my support to other booths as well. No, that was not a sacrifice since I enjoyed the others just as much. But I can promise that I am planning on hitting the German booth again this year. Three of my four grandparents were German (the Hissrich, Gall and Maass families), so I plan on celebrating my heritage.
So I look forward to seeing you at the parish festival this coming week. And as you’re looking for a parking place, just remind yourself that this is much easier than seeing Pope Francis in Philadelphia.