Monday, July 17, 2017
by By: Darby Evans, ACE Communications
Cookies equal community.
The recipe may be simple, but as Fr. Joe Carey, C.S.C. sees it, fellowship in ACE doesn’t need to be complicated. Every Monday, Fr. Joe, ACE chaplain and priest-in-residence at Ryan Hall, opens his kitchen to the ACE community. Around dinner time, a small group of baking enthusiasts crafts dozens of cookies, and then the larger community gathers later that night after Mass to enjoy the treats.
“One of the things we have done at Ryan Hall is we discovered we could build community one cookie at a time,” says Fr. Joe. “I think it’s important because first of all, the bakers get to relax a little bit during a stressful time. Secondly, people get to know each other. And thirdly, they’re serving the community.”
Anna Bourjaily, ACE 24, regularly bakes with Fr. Joe on Mondays. Anna, who graduated from St. Mary’s, explains that the cookie bakes made her feel immediately welcome in a new setting.
“When I came, it was so much fun, especially because it was one of the first weekends here,” Anna says. “So it was a great way for me to meet a lot of new people. And a lot of the people I baked with that first week are people who I consider to be close friends.”
Others gather at Ryan Hall for different reasons. Kara Neumann, ACE 23, says she comes to spend time with Fr. Joe. T. J. Groden, ACE 24, comes not for the chit-chat, but for the chance to perfect the delicate art of baking. T.J. works intently as he carefully measures the flour and brown sugar he pours into a mixing bowl.
At the end of a baking session, the goods are packaged up and transported to Carole Sandner Hall for the cookie social. After Mass concludes around 10 p.m., droves of teaching fellows head directly from Dillon Chapel to the social, lured by the promise of cookies, ice cream, and conversation.
In the midst of offering an entire day in the service of others, Fr. Joe reminds ACE teachers, quite literally, to “treat yo-self.” People of various ages and ACE groups share stories and gleefully reach for snickerdoodles. Fr. Joe’s vision is evident. Here, a community is built, one cookie at a time.