A Banquet in Honor of the Immaculate Conception – 2016

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The boys of St. Gregory’s celebrated the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception with a day of feasting. It was the second of four banquets they hold every year, and which are central to the spirit of their school. The Academy is a family and the domestic meal is the expression of community—it is a sign and celebration of the gratitude that follows and flows from those labors of love and life that bind people together. This is especially the case when celebrating the familial ties that all share under the Motherhood of the Mother of God. As Catholics, we are a people united by the hallowed ties of family and faith, who have the strength to smile in the face of tribulation and yet rejoice in the good things of heaven and earth. Banquet days at St. Gregory’s are days of enjoyment (in Latin, fruor, “I enjoy;” related to “fruitfulness”)—not days of mere pleasures. The sturdy fare heaps high on the boards together with that type of plenteous cheer that is well grounded in the sweat and suffering that begets true enjoyment. Our banquets, like our salvation through the Mediatrix of all grace, is the fruit of toil and trust. This is the heart and origin of the Immaculate Conception Banquet, and it is an experience that is slipping away from the culture at large. The idea and ethics of meals is deteriorating into a hurried and harried pre-packaged affair punctuated by interruptions. If anything can help reverse the trend, it is those old-fashioned and sacred approaches to food and fellowship that remind us what it means to hold a Feast Day and why it is important.