Awhile back I had a little visitor. She was about eight years old. I put her to work setting the table --- well I asked her to set the table. Turned out she didn't know how. Her family didn't often eat together and it was sort of a catch as catch can event. What a pity! Meals are the family's daily celebration of eucharist in the domestic church. Please don't misunderstand; it certainly is not the liturgy of the Eucharist (with a capital E) where Christ is really present on the altar. But if the family is the domestic church, the daily meal is the closest we come to gathering to pray and celebrate and rejoice in the gifts God gave us. Dinner should be a time of sharing the events of the day, engaging in the art of conversation, and just enjoying each other's company. One gift for which I'm profoundly grateful to my mother is we almost always had dinner together as a family. With ten children that was not an easy task, but Mom did it.
I was thinking about that today because my husband an I are having a little dinner party to meet with several young couples in our parish to ask what activities they would like to see the Knights of Columbus have for families. I like to set a pretty table with flowers and cloth napkins. If I had any of my grandchildren with me today, they would get a lesson in the art of setting a nice table and how to design a nice centerpiece with flowers from the garden. I'm using my good china and silver, but you can do the same thing for a birthday party with paper plates, paper napkins, and little party favors. And cookies on popsicle sticks make a great kids' centerpiece! Bon appetit!