Advent Testimony from the Pastoral Council

An Advent Reflection

by Melanie Babyak

Usually,  my 2 sisters and I gather at my parent’s home on Christmas Eve to have dinner before going to Midnight Mass together. This quieter dinner before Christmas day, when our4 brothers and their families join us,  gives us an opportunity to be a little more reflective, and enjoy one of my favorite traditions: Before our Christmas Eve meal, and after saying Grace,  we  share oplatki.  Oplatki are very much like Communion wafers but are typically shaped into thin rectangles, embossed with a Nativity scene or the Star of  Bethlehem. Sharing oplatki at Christmas Eve dinner is a Catholic Polish and Slovak  tradition, and reminds us of our cultural heritage. It reminds us of the importance of family and God in our lives. While everyone breaks a piece from each other’s wafer, we extend wishes for good health and blessings, like Sto Lat (may you live a 100 years),  or Na Zdrowie (to your health). Once we’ve partaken in the wafers, we share the rest of the meal that includes other traditional Christmas Eve foods like wild mushroom soup and seafood pasta. 

 Like many families, we won’t be able to travel to gather around the table and share oplatki in person. The good news is though, oplatki travels wells, so we’ll share it and the rest of the dinner in a different way this year. Even in this odd year, we know we will be keeping our traditions and faith alive.