Father John Wright, Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Church in Macon, speaks to the Aug. 7 Dinner and Doctrine program participants. The program has been running for over two years. Photographs by Michael J. Johnson.

Dinner and Doctrine feeds body and soul

Originally Appeared in : 9917-8/15/19

Folks stroll into the ground floor hall of St. Joseph Church in Macon carrying covered dishes which will eventually fill 18 feet of table space. Soon there will be food to feed the 60 or more people who gather every Wednesday night for Dinner and Doctrine. Many people remark, “Be sure and try the ribs; Bill makes the best ribs.” 


The program, started by Pastor Father Scott Winchel, has been running for over two years. (See more photographs at our Smugmug gallery).


This night, Aug 7, Father John Wright, Parochial Vicar, offers grace at 6:30 p.m. People who gather around tables leave books and note pads behind and begin to form a line for the food. As they wait to fill their plates, it sounds like a party with multiple conversations among friends and acquaintances — this is a family dinner.


The ribs went fast. 


After dinner, following a brief introduction by Father Wright, an engaging video narrated by theologian Scott Hahn is presented. The video, “From Genesis to Jesus” follows Hahn’s book “A Father keeps his Promises.” The night’s topic was parallels in the Bible stories of Adam, Abraham, Moses, and, Jesus.” 


Following the video, discussion questions spark conversations at the tables. Then the real exchange — the sharing of a common understanding — takes place as Father Wright worked the room with a microphone and queries the table groups for their responses to the questions.


Some of the parallels noticed among the people in the stories are:
— Adam’s nakedness after the fall and Jesus being stripped of his clothes before his crucifixtion.
— In the story of Abraham and Isaac, Abraham offered his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Isaac obediently carried wood up a mountain and Jesus, also a beloved son, carried his cross up Golgotha.
—Moses was given the Ten Commandments. Jesus gave us the Beatitudes.


And so it went until 8:30 p.m. when a Hail Mary was offered as a closing prayer.


As clean up began and people collected their covered dishes to take home, Father Wright said the mission of Dinner and Doctrine is to help people be Catholic.


 “It is an opportunity to get together and talk about the faith,” he said. “We do not get many opportunities to do that.”


By all accounts, Dinner and Doctrine at St. Joseph Church, Macon, achieved its mission.


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