This appears in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, is also known as the “miracle of the seven loaves and fishes” given that the Gospel of Matthew refers to seven loaves and a few small fish used by Jesus to feed a multitude. The Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha is the site where some Christians believe the feeding of the five thousand to have taken place.

According to the Gospels, a large crowd had gathered and was following Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to him and said: “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” His disciples answered: “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.”Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

“Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketful of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate four thousand men, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.” Wow !

But that wouldn’t be case here at Bendore Church-there won’t be any miracles taking place here where the dedicated parishioners of St Sebastian Church have joined together to prepare the menu for the Centenary feast dinner-because there is plenty of meat, vegetables and other condiments that has been sponsored by generous donors. Parishioners after the 7.30am mass, have come with great enthusiasm to help in the cooking of 450 kgs of Chicken and 500 kgs of pork etc etc. Not just adults, even small children helped their elders in the preparation. About 500 parishioners are rendering their service in helping to cook for more than 5000 people who are expected to feast on the sumptuous dinner tonight after the centenary celebrations programme.

As the saying goes, “Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth ?” – what it actually means is that too many persons involved in managing an activity, cooking, etc; etc; can ruin it, as in, without a music conductor, every player had an idea for how the music should go – Too many cooks spoil the broth ! This expression alludes to each of the many cooks adding something extra to a soup, which finally tastes awful.

But that wouldn’t be in the case of many cooks and helpers belonging to the St,. Sebastian Church, who had joined together in preparing the delicious food for the Centenary banquet-because these parishioners are excellent cooks and they know how to make the food taste good- and along with the 20 professional cooks coming from Puttur I am sure they will surely not spoil the “broth”, I meant to say ” meal “. They are all ready to cook the best homemade dishes for the great centenary buffet dinner.They say that a family that prays together, stays together – In this case, I can say that the parishioners that cook together, will always stay together !

Right after the 7.30am mass, around 8.30am, Fr Antony Serrao blessing the beginning of the work said, ” All these years after Mass you all went home, cooked at home and had your meal at home. This year has been unique-you have all come here after Mass to help in the preparation of the feast meal, and you will also join in having that sumptuous meal prepared by you. Although they say, the food tastes better, if they find a woman’s hair in the food item, but I don’t want that to happen here-so we are providing you with a hair net cap (crowd giggles!) – so that we can all have a ‘hairless food’ tonight. Few days ago, I was worried about the low turnout at the centenary celebration meetings, but looking at the crowd assembled here this morning, I am very much confident that today’s programme and the mega meal will be a hit-thank you all”

The parishioners had gathered in the mini hall/cooking area to help in the preparation of the centenary “Undo Mass ( Bread Meat)” buffet menu, which comprises of Pork Bafat, Chicken Masala, Channa Sukhe, Rice, Dhal Saar, Bread, and pickle. The church volunteers comprising of men, women and teenagers joined in the cooking spree, involving themselves in cutting meat; chopping onions/ vegetables; peeling garlic; washing vessels; grating coconuts; etc; , and of course, helping in preparing the dishes. Songs and Voviyos filled the air while everyone was working- seems like everyone was having fun.

Speaking to me Fr Paul Crasta-Assistant Parish priest said, ” We will be serving food for around 5000 people tonight- among many other items we have already purchased 450 kgs of chicken, 500kgs of pork, 230 kgs of rice, 85kg black grams (channa), 140kg onions, 400 coconuts, 25 quintal of firewood, 90 kg jaggery etc etc-the estimated cost for this meal would be around Rs 200,000. Most of the items will be sponsored by well-wishers, while the rest of the expenses will be borne from the celebrations funds”

Speaking to few of the volunteers, here are a few comments from them-Joyce Vas, wife of Lester Vas (Vas Bakery, Balmatta) said, ” I am all excited to take part in this help out-I like cooking and also since I have won many awards in cooking contests, helping out in the preparation of this meal is quite easy-just a piece of cake. I am happy to be here among the many men and women, and contribute my service”. Flavy Pinto-Gurkar Upper Bendore Ward said, ” I feel proud to take part in this first ever meal prepared by the help of the parishioners. I can handle in preparing food for a large gathering, because for my grandson’s birthday I alone cooked for almost 75 guests who attended the party. I am extremely happy to be a part of the Church centenary celebrations”

Alfred D’Souza said, ” I am a expert in cutting meat, so this job is just simple to handle. I used to slaughter pigs in earlier days-so cutting pork meat will be damn easy for me, and I will do it in no time” . Felix Britto said, ” I always help out in the kitchen, like chopping onions, cutting meat etc-so doing that job here too, I will have no problem, and I feel happy that I am doing it for the Church”. When I asked both these men whether they help their wives at home in the kitchen like they have volunteered here, they both replied with the same kind of answer-” Oh sure we do-if we don’t help out, our wives won’t feed us..ha ha!”

Finally, I am fully confident with all that enthusiasm, dedication and all that love put into work to prepare that great “Undo Mass” feast meal for tonight, the meal will surely turn out to be the best home-made cuisine one could have- Simply finger lickin’ good ! So come by for the centenary celebrations this evening, and stay back to savour the best home-cooked festal meal. Bon-appetite !