Since ancient times, the action of dining around the table has served as a meeting point for the celebrations of the most important events, joyful or sad, of families and society. With the gaze of faith, the fraternal supper recalls the meal that the first Christians had to commemorate the Lord's supper which expresses and deepens fraternal coexistence.
Today's theme is dinner, a supper that has a peculiarity, it is FRATERNAL, which goes back to God's plan, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen 2:18). This activity, part of the culture of the Arriarán Barros college, X Region of Southern Chile, directed by the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, interrupted for two years by the covid pandemic, is relived in this year 2022, thanks to God and to the improvement of sanitary conditions. The announcement of the realization of the Fraternal supper is good news, being able to reorganize, it gives joy and enthusiasm to all the participants.
The fact of eating with the family, in the community, nourishes the sense of belongingness, creates a sense of security, promotes solidarity and cooperation among the members so that everyone contributes to the extent of their abilities for food: it is organized and financed by the parent - directors center; by parents of the second-year students, the course directors of the 5th year of elementary school and the 4th year of high school who, together with their responsible teachers, motivate and invite the members of the chosen courses to be the diners. In this assuming each member of the educational community the mission that is proper to each one, the religious community transmits and watches so that it is the Spirit of the Lord and of the Gospel and, therefore, of St. Francis who is present.
Seen in this way, this fraternal dinner becomes a privilege, an announcement, work, service, school, both for students, appointees and teachers of the second middle level, who plan and manage the dinner. They work in the decoration (transforming a gym into a "cenacle"), menus, animation of the event and service to others, striving to assume the tasks and attitudes of a kind servant, the task of each of the students of the level.
Sharing begins with the blessing of the table, a very ancient custom among Christians, which dates back to our Lord not only in the Last Supper. This thanks and simple request reminds us that all goods come from God and are goods for all that delight and nourish, and which encourage to care that none be lacking.
At the fraternal dinner the gifts are shared: beautiful words from the director of staff and the president of the general center for parents; heavenly and harmonious music, performed by a teacher and young students; warm welcome to the education assistants who have the opportunity to share this moment with the rest of the educational community in a festive atmosphere. The words spoken, the recreated conversations, the smiles and applause that brighten the meetings, are accompanied by a sign: the students offer to those present a beautiful bottle of olive oil that symbolizes divine grace, which is peace, glory, purity and abundance.
In our time, marked by many closures and walls, in which social contexts place obstacles to fraternal sharing, dinner is transformed into a school that teaches us to share the goods of life and be happy to be able to do so; it increases mutual connection, interaction, closeness and coexistence that increase trust and, ultimately, the practice of the virtues, of human and Christian values that are transmitted by example. The pandemic, in its own way, leaves behind a great lesson, the powerful value of coming together and celebrating life and being together.