A huge card to express an enormous debt of gratitude to the ladies of Gizo for feeding the priests of an entire nation: Beata, Janet, Monica and Fatima with a banner signed by all the participants in the week long retreat.
Most of you know the secret to Marianist success: "If you feed them, they will come." Happily, the Diocese of Gizo, inspired by their Italian bishop's spirit of "Abundanza," takes their commitment to feasting seriously. Our meagre preaching was more than compensated for by the sumptuous meals served by a dozen big-hearted, hard-working women from Gizo assisted by young people from around the diocese. Cooking seemingly without stop for the whole week, they offered more than just three meals a day for a group of almost 100 people; they provided support, encouragement, and love for their priests. Barbecued chicken, roast pork and freshly caught fish steamed in banana leaves enhanced the table fellowship of the retreatants. Spaghetti bolognese and chicken cacciatore even added exotic foreign flavors to the menu of local fruits and root crops. A "holy communion" made God's love visible both at the altar and around the tables in St. Dominic's utilitarian dining hall.
Cranky home cooks facing a hungry horde this holiday weekend take note: The Gizo gourmets accomplished all this without refrigeration, microwaves or take-out. No hot water. No dishwasher. Much of the cooking was done using hot stones and fire wood in 90 degree heat and humidity -- and this man is still smiling. That's generosity!