At 4PM, as I drove to the firehouse for the barbecue, I was surprised by the traffic jam created by the hundreds of attendees as the barbecue began. My amazement grew upon entering the firehouse, it was packed with Chinese auction items, handicrafts and baked goods made by loving hands. There was a joyful sense of purpose in the crowd who were united in their purpose to help a family touched by tragedy.
As we walked up to the line for our chicken, I was greeted warmly by Jacqueline Girard, who remembered me from my recent trips to the Academy of the Holy Family, where she will be a sophomore. My oldest daughter Gabriela will be entering the same class, as she begins school there this fall. The girls chatted about upcoming school activities, and I was pleased that Gabriela now has a friend in her new school.
The rain which had been threatening cleared, a hot sun broke through, and as quickly as new tables were set up, more and more families sat down to enjoy a generous portion of savory chicken accompanied by fresh rolls, cole slaw and potato salad. I sat with Albina and Joe, a couple from Norwich, who shared about their work in their home parish. I told them about my upcoming move to Canterbury, and how the spirit of joyful cooperation I saw at the firehouse that evening reaffirmed my decision to join the friendly community of laypeople who are involved with activities at the Friary. Friars moved through the crowd, helping to clean up, and greeting participants. A band played popular favorites, and attendees lingered to enjoy one another's company in the summer twilight. The chicken barbecue was a resounding success.
The Girard family was encircled with love from the community at this difficult time, and we hope to participate in future fundraisers. If you would like to contribute to the fund for the family please send donations to:
Bank of America
590 West Main St (Rt 82)
Norwich, CT 06360