By William Manolarakis ’14
On Wednesday, October 23, Chaminade hosted Hunger, a two-hour senior prayer service intended to fill its upcoming graduates - both physically and spiritually.
The night began in the Chaminade cafeteria, where the seniors were treated to a sumptuous meal of marinated skirt steak, curly fries, and fresh salad. Members of the Chaminade Culinary Club, which is moderated by Bro. Daniel Griffin, S.M. and Mrs. Annamarie Mansueto, prepared the whole meal for the hungry students and cooked over 125 lbs. of steak for the evening.
“The Culinary Club cooked an outstanding meal, as usual,” said Brandon Slicklein ’14. “The filling of our physical hunger led into the next portion of the night very well: the filling of our spiritual hunger.”
With their stomachs full following the feast, the seniors traveled to Hearst Auditorium in the Activity-Athletic Center, where they took their seats for the latter part of the program. Mr. Matthew Chicavich ’98 served as the primary host of the event, and called to the stage Mr. Salvatore Trentacoste and Bro. Stephen Balletta, S.M. ’74 to share their experiences detailing the “hunger” of others to which they have been witness.
In his story, Mr. Trentacoste described a trip he took this past summer. He described the lives of some African students, many of who would travel for over an hour, barefoot, along dangerous roads just to receive an education. They were hungry for the opportunity to learn, as they knew that education would provide them with the chance to obtain jobs and support their future families.
Bro. Stephen shared with the students a letter from Franco Spadafora ’11, who went to Ghana with 14 other college students to conduct biological studies in the region. In the process, Franco was assigned to help mentor a young boy from the country. Franco spent much of his time while on break from his research with the boy, and they would frequently attend Mass, which was held under a small canopy of trees in the outdoors. Franco wrote to Bro. Stephen that he saw the hunger in the boy’s eyes to learn more about God, and in the letter, he also noted the desolate conditions of the area that surrounded him. On one two-hour bus ride, Franco saw countless starving and desperate bodies along the side of the road, as well as a number of dead as a result of hunger. On the plane ride home, he looked back on how such an experience made him much more grateful for what he had, and that he was now filled with a hunger to assist the less fortunate.
Mr. Chicavich followed Mr. Trentacoste and Bro. Stephen by showing the movie Child 31: The Story of Mary’s Meals. The film detailed the life-changing work Mary’s Meals, founded by Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow after he delivered blankets and supplies to those in Bosnia affected by the Balkan conflict in 1992. His simple desire to help those in need evolved into Mary’s Meals, which helps to feed over 650,000 children from around the world each day.
After the movie, Mr. Chicavich shared his own personal reflection on how hunger permeated into his life. His story revolved around the road by which he came to marry his wife, and while it did have numerous comedic moments, the true message of his spiritual hunger greatly resonated with the seniors.
“I thought he did a great job explaining the theme of hunger using his own personal experience,” said James Walsh ’14. “His stories made us laugh while staying true to the spiritual aspects, as well.”
Following Mr. Chicavich’s presentation, Fr. Garrett Long S.M. ’62 exposed the Eucharist and the students and faculty kneeled for fifteen minutes of meditative prayer. At the conclusion of the event, the seniors were treated to chocolate chip and sugar cookies, and departed home with their hungers satisfied.
“The event filled my hunger on both physical and spiritual levels, from spending time with my teachers and enjoying dinner, to watching the presentations and kneeling before the Eucharist,” said Michael Harris ’14. “It really helped me gain a perspective o how lucky we truly are.”