By Arjay Cecilio, CRM
One of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor’s founding fathers, now, St. Francis Caracciolo, is known as the patron saint of chefs. The Order made, in his honour, a motto that says, “from the bread received to the bread shared.” The bread received symbolizes the Lord present in the Holy Eucharist, which is the charism of the Order. Having intimacy with this Eucharistic Lord, who confers us many blessings and graces, we are compelled to let these graces available to the faithful not only through the celebration of the mass, through which the Eucharistic Lord is received, or the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament but also to share the bread, the food that feeds our body. The Bread Shared symbolizes our mission to feed those who do not have something to eat, the poor, the homeless.
Inspired by our founder St. Francis Caracciolo’s motto, Rev. Fr. Jason S. Caganap, CRM, priest of the Order and pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish, set a ministry that caters to those poor and homeless people. St. Francis Caracciolo Cafe began on the birthday of St. Francis Caracciolo, October 13, 2013, in Goose Creek, South Carolina. It serves food every second Tuesday of the month, from 11 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. This cafe accommodates an average of one hundred to a hundred and fifty people. Both parishioners and non-parishioners alike benefit from this cafe. It is also blessed with a lot volunteers – parishioners and non-parishioners as well as catholic and non-catholic volunteers.
As seminarians, we are expected to be persons whose moral character surpasses those normal people. This good moral character includes love for the poor and the readiness to serve. It is horrible when a seminarian does not want or has no enthusiasm to serve people. That is the reason why I was excited when I was given a chance to volunteer in this cafe as part of our pastoral year. It is a kind of work we are supposed to do but we do it willingly.
While serving, I observed that not everyone comes there to eat. I noticed that many of them do not come to the cafe because they have no food to eat, but also because they have no one to talk to. So, St. Francis Caracciolo cafe is the best place for them because it is a place where they can fill their hunger of both mind and body. This cafe is a place where people can be together regardless of their race, color, age and status in life. This cafe is one of the many ways a church (parish) can serve the church (people).