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 | By Michelle DiFranco

Creating an Appetite for Faith

We recently hosted dinner for two of our parish priests, and in the minutes before they were due to show up, I was frantically finishing up the appetizers. With an eye toward presentation, I meticulously arranged the crackers and veggies both spatially and by color, and garnished the dip with a sprig of dill. When I was satisfied with the display, I carefully set the tray out … only to have my 11-year-old son dive in like a ravenous vulture. So much for the carefully crafted presentation!

I quickly became incensed. At the instant I was about to scold him, the doorbell rang. Lucky for him, I thought, as I angrily walked toward the door. But my disappointment for his “ruining” the appetizers was soon eclipsed by pride as my son enthusiastically and joyfully greeted our priests with a warm hug and a fist bump.

After our guests had left, I reflected on the entire evening. I was truly grateful for the great conversation we shared and, in particular, for just how attentively my kids had been listening to all we discussed.

This made me reminisce over the days my parents would host similar gatherings that were, without a doubt, instrumental in my faith formation. They would occasionally invite local priests or young engaged couples whom they counseled. They also opened up their home to larger groups for Christian fellowship and their regular Marriage Encounter meetings. And through all of this, my sisters and I were present and attentively listening, too. I can recall being just like my 11-year-old son – eating half of my mom’s veggie tray with the delicious dill dip that she served.

As I finished cleaning the last of the dishes that night, I pondered that maybe the doorbell ringing at the precise moment I was about to lash out at my son wasn’t a coincidence. For this, I thank God for intervening. Clearly, to give my kids the chance to receive and interact with these priests in our own home is far more important than the “pristine presentation” of an appetizer tray. One day, I hope my son will welcome clergy and fellow parishioners into his own home. One day, I hope that he can also reminisce about the positive experiences he had when, as a child, his family worked to build the domestic Church in their home – delicious veggie dip and all.

Dill Dip

1 cup mayo

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon dill weed

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon onion flakes

½ teaspoon celery salt

¼ teaspoon onion powder 

In a food storage container, combine all ingredients. Cover and store overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with veggies, crackers or artisan bread.