Diocesan Director Visits Ashland University

On October 13, 2021 Dr. Joann Rymarczyk-Piotrkowski visited the Newman Community at Ashland University to share a meal and talk about the link between our shared meals and the Eucharistic Table.  Her doctoral research convinced Dr. Piotrkowski that the family dinner table is the place where we get our first glimpse of the Eucharistic table, as well as, a first glimpse at the heavenly banquet prepared for us.  One of the people who helped inform her doctoral work, Fr. Leo Patalinghug.  From his work, Dr. Piotrkowski shared the following, “the reason why Christians—and many Catholics, too—do not understand the sacrament of the Eucharist as God’s Sacred Feast is because they haven’t been well evangelized in the sacramental activity of the family meal.” 

In her doctoral project, Dr. Piotrkowski asked groups of students to commit to eating one meal per week together for at least one hour for three weeks.  They had their choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Students had to stay in one group and were asked to turn off their phones for the one hour they were sharing the meal.  Student table hosts led grace, passed the bread and introduced an ice breaker.  During the meal the host introduced a quote each week with conversation starter questions.  For the evening at Ashland, Dr. Piotrkowski recruited table hosts and provided the ice breaker and conversation starters.  At the end of the meal and table conversations about who was at Jesus’ table in the scriptures as well as why, out of the infinite choices, did Jesus choose to be remembered in a meal.  Dr. Piotrkowski challenged students to consider what it might look like if they found a group of people to commit to eating once per week together and having conversations about faith. Or what it might look like to invite someone new to share a meal.  Imagine the possibilities for evangelizing while sharing a meal using Jesus as our model.