By Frank Vellaccio, Acting President
It's no secret that I come from a family that loved food.
I think there were three reasons for this. First, my family,
particularly my Mom and Dad, thought of food as something
good. It was what gave you sustenance-it was your energy
source. They didn't look at it as some colored poison out
to clog your arteries or make you ill in some mysterious
way. No, food was good.
Second they saw food and eating as a real pleasure in life. Let's admit it:
a lot of pleasures are a sin. But God gave us the pleasure of eating as a real
perk of life. Imagine this scene: you go out to your little garden and pick
the tomato that is just short of splitting its skin. You pick some fresh basil
and the second you touch it that magnificent fragrance reaches your nose. You
have this marvelous mix of deep red and green in your hand as you walk into
a kitchen where you have been sautéing some imported olive oil to which
you have added freshly crushed garlic. The whole kitchen is alive with the
fragrance. You then dip the tomato in boiling water for just a few seconds,
peel it, cut it with the basil and add it to the olive oil. You add oregano
and freshly ground pepper and you let it simmer while, on another burner, you
fry some Italian sausage with freshly cut peppers and onions. This is now a
kitchen to die for. You absorb the smells while grating some imported Parmesan
cheese. You then mix it all together-this wonderful combination of colors,
textures and smells-and spoon it into a crusty Italian sub you have just taken
out of the oven. The whole body is now tense in expectation and your mouth
is begging to be involved. As the sub and juices touch your lips, they explode.
And finally there is the sense of taste.
Now, can anyone say that isn't sheer pleasure?
The third reason why we loved food, and perhaps the
most important reason, is that food was an event around which the family gathered.
These were the
old days, but as kids, as we sat at the table and looked at the food, we saw
it was what Dad had supplied and Mom, with love, had cooked. We gathered and
talked. We shared our successes and failures. We shared our jokes. We talked
about what had happened that day. We even argued. But through it all, the bonds
of love grew tighter.
My most memorable moments as a child were the holidays.
The whole Vellaccio clan gathered around a large table with a bounty that had
taken all day to
prepare. My Father sat at one end of that table, my Grandfather at the other.
And if you looked, you could see a glisten in their eyes. I realize now it
was probably the beginning of a tear as the light reflected off it. But the
reflection of that tear yelled to us the Italian toast my Father often made. Ali
Famiglia. To the family.
It is also no secret that I believe in family. Families
are made when a sense of belonging and connection exists between people. At Holy
Cross, we are bonded
by our shared experience in the pursuit of truth and in our commitment to serve
others. Our food is our love of learning. As is true of any family, no matter
how estranged or distant you might become, you will always remain a part of
the family. In addition you will always be able to find support and strength
in the family and, perhaps most importantly, you will always be able to find
You are all a part of the Holy Cross family. And so
I say on behalf of the faculty and administration of Holy Cross, we are proud
to have you and we love
This is an excerpt of an address that Acting
President Vellaccio delivered to the President's Council