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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Via de Pope

Dear Sister, where or when did the Holy Father ask us to use the new Stations?

And I wonder if, when he did, he meant in any way to nudge us away from the traditional ones?

I for one don't think I can ever let go of my traditional ones. I also respect the luminous mysteries but don't use them (and if someone gives me a hard time I will point out that in Pope John Paul II's own letter he encourages and suggests but in no way requires that they be used).

In 2007.

But perhaps I have overstated the case when I said he asked us to use them. He approved them for use.  

The thing is, he is using them.  If there is a person on this earth that must lead by example, it's the Pope.  The new Stations were first used by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday of 1999.  That's quite some time ago now.

I can't help but think that he is indeed  "nudging us away".  If he isn't, what's he doing? Having a nervous breakdown?  Showing us some other Stations for the fun of it?  He was bored of the old Stations? Of course not.

Don't get yourself in a knot.  The Stations Police aren't on their way (with the Rosary Police!).  There's no edict.

I will crawl out on my own limb here and say that I believe I know what the Pope is thinking by using the New Stations.  The greatest debate between the Catholic Church and the Separated Brethren is Scripture.  The King James Bible made changes to the language of the Bible and what books are in the Bible to suit Protestant beliefs.  The Catholic Church takes into account Sacred Tradition (incidents and ideas that are not in the Bible, such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary).

Here we have a holy tradition called the Stations of the Cross and lo and behold about half of them are not in the Bible.  So let's meet in the middle and look at the true path that Jesus walked to Calvary.  We don't have to quibble about what did or didn't happen.  This is a set of events on which we can all agree without parsing words.  Let's go for it!

Our goal here is not to stubbornly insist that our beloved Stations are based on holy traditions or  Sacred Traditions (and sit around for another 500 plus years trying to explain the difference).  Our goal is to help everyone walk the path of Christ. We (Separated Brethren and Catholics) can agree on that much, can't we?

I believe they still implement the old Stations at the Vatican, too. But on Good Friday, when the world is watching, it's the New Stations all the way.  As Catholics, we believe that the Pope is the representative of Jesus on Earth and has the power and blessing of Jesus. To follow Jesus, we follow the Pope.

And the Pope is doing the New Stations.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Actual Hobby Lobby

One of my readers thought I was actually going to do a post about Hobby Lobby, the store, the other day when I titled my post "Hobby Lobby".  What would make a person think something like that?

I'm kidding.  It occurred to me that that might happen when I typed the title. 

 I am a fan of the story called "Hobby Lobby", although there is no Hobby Lobby anywhere near me. The only time I can peruse the myriad of  craft supplies, pretend flowers, bridal and baby shower trinkets, pot holder looms, painted plaster in various shapes for the garden....what don't they have there?..is when I'm in my home town in the Midwest.  You really don't want to go into Hobby Lobby in a hurry. For one thing, once you're in there, you won't be able to find your way out again in a hurry.  If it's a hot day, and you have the dog in the car with you, just keep driving on by.

What you may not know about "Hobby Lobby" if you even know what "Hobby Lobby" is,  was news to me, too. 

On my first couple of trips there, I took notice of the "ambient" music.  I am always very sensitive to the music that is playing at the grocery store and the Walgreen's.  Most places no longer use 'musak', those awful adaptations of popular songs played by little orchestras and piped in to stimulate you to relax and buy more.  It was also called 'elevator music'.  Most places now play the actual songs, with the original artists.  You may be hearing about someone's broken heart, but in a peppy kind of way that helps you choose between Advil and Tylenol.

I was a little surprised on my first trip ever to Hobby Lobby, that the music was a little...depressing.  It wasn't peppy at all.  It was "Amazing Grace", some instrumental version, I think, perhaps a/harp piano performance.  Even the harp wasn't making it particularly Heavenly sounding. It wasn't a particularly lovely version.  It wasn't bad.

But it certainly wasn't very peppy.  Now you might be thinking, "Well, isn't that beautiful, to hear "Amazing Grace" instead of  "Boot Scootin' Boogie".  That would be so much nicer!" And you would also surely think that of all people, I would appreciate a whole album of hymns on a harp enhancing my shopping experience. "How lovely!" But I'm here to tell you, it wasn't.  It was just a little....sad.  

By the third hymn, "Rock of Ages", I was mentally figuring what I could cross off my list so I wouldn't have to go clear to the other side of the store, which is the size of a football stadium.  It wasn't that it was hymns, really.  It was the dreary sound of it all.  If I was there to meditate and pray it might have worked. I was there to buy embroidery floss for my mother and gift bags for some party favors she wanted to put together for a baby shower.  "....let me hide myself in thee...."  

When I returned home with the goods (I offered my discomfort to the Poor Souls in Purgatory), I mentioned the unusual music to my mother and she said, "Oh, yeah, the guy that owns that is a big Christian."  This is her term for people who are 1. not Catholic, and 2. are very vocally 'born again'.  

Sure enough, I took a look at the Hobby Lobby (that's a picture of the lobby at Hobby Lobby) website.  It's not readily apparent, but if you click around a couple of times, you'll find the Hobby Lobby mission statement:

Statement of Purpose
In order to effectively serve our owners, employees, and customers the Board of Directors is committed to:
Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.
Offering our customers an exceptional selection and value.
Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families.
Providing a return on the owners' investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.
We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.

In recent months I've discovered I can shop online to buy supplies from Hobby Lobby, but in subsequent trips, the music was no longer a collection of hymns played on pianos and harps.  Someone must have pointed out that it wasn't making people want to linger in the store.  Three cheers for market research!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hobby Lobby

A reader wants to know where I find embroidery transfers.  Surely everyone knows about Aunt Martha.

And then there is that phenomena that occurs when people know you do that type of thing. I've had people unearth all kinds of old patterns and give me copies. You might try ebay, too. From there you'll find people who have shops with all kinds of interesting things in them. I like to window shop.  

Speaking of hobbies:

I understand that one of your favorite hobbies is patron saint matching; I could use your help with this. My husband is going through RCIA and is in need of a patron saint. He is a wonderful father, loves to study theology, play music... he also volunteers to lead music at a Christian 12 step recovery program (in his younger days, he was an addict himself). He has been debating between St. Michael, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine, as well as a few others.
Any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated!

Well, St. Augustine was a father, too. And a party animal in his youth.  And talk about studying theology! Doctor of the Church, anyone?

He said things like: "Lord, make me chaste, but not yet."

And this gem that the AA crowd would surely appreciate: "Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."

And here's a flash for you, St. Augustine was struggling with surrendering to the Christian ideals his mother held out to him. One night he heard a child singing, and the song stuck with him. When he returned home he opened to the New Testament to read a passage from Paul: (Romans 13: 13-14) "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, in concupiscence."

I think that's a pretty good match, don't you? St. Augustine has everything in there, even music as an inspiration for goodness and staying on the right path.

Bonus!  Like RCIA converts, St. Augustine was baptized on Easter Sunday! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Treasures of the Church

Sorry for my prolonged absence.  We had to stop everything and build an ark.  Today is absolutely beautiful, but the rains are returning tomorrow. Meanwhile, we have some fish to fry. 
As someone who has problems with compulsive spending and debt, is there a patron saint (or saints) to pray with? Mainly concerning debt.

Of course!  The original meaning of the word "patron" is all about support, mostly financial. St. Augustine would have been bounced out of school without the generosity of his patron.
Right of the bat, we have to mention the Infant of Prague, for financial stability.  I've heard people also mention St. Matthew, as he was a tax collector (and the patron saint of April 15th), he is also the patron saint of accountants and bankers and paying off debt.
But I can't help thinking that for you, the way to go is St. Lawrence.  He is officially the patron saint of cooks, because he was roasted to death.  To help you, we have to take a look at why he was roasted to death.  He had been told by the new regime in town to bring all the Church's treasures over and turn them in.  The Powers That Were gave him three days to accomplish this.
St. Lawrence spent the three days frantically giving away everything he could lay his hands on to the poor.  Then he gathered up all the sick and the lepers and the homeless people and the drunks and the sinners and brought them in at the appointed time.  He announced to the Powers That Were, "These are the treasures of the Church." They were not amused.
So they grilled him.  Literally.
I suggest him, because I think it would be a good idea for you, going forward, to keep in your mind and heart what real treasure is and what constitutes actual wealth and what need really is.  St. Lawrence had a handle on that.
Which brings me to this, which has been bothering me for days:

Last year 2010 Holy Thursday a dozen or so people showed up for the stations none of which were ever present the previous weeks of lent.They showed videos on on migrant workers,starving children,abused,illegals etc. I didn't understand the language because most was in Spanish with captions in English too small for me to read. I was so yearning to meditate on Jesus Passion and felt empty.I inquired to the deacon What was this all about ,he rolled his eyes and did not answer. After Easter I was still kind of disturbed and had to inquire about the presence of the unknown to me group.I found out they represented The Peace and Justice Committee. Bishops in Florida call it Social Justice. I am praying for understanding as to why the Catholic Church is getting so Political and is focusing change here in Fl.and Not the majority of northern Catholic churches.Lenten season builds up to Christ's Passion and Death on the Cross.We are Gods creation,we are Not Jesus but we can strive to be Christ like. The new theme presented in church past few weeks is on Human Trafficking again through the Bishops of Florida and the Social Justice Committee. Don't we have Law Enforcement to take care of these crimes.??
I refer you to St. Lawrence as well. They were showing you a film about the treasures of the Church. They showed you a film about the Passion of Jesus as found in the suffering of others. Yearning to meditate on Jesus' Passion?  Well, there it was.

This might be a good time to re-read the New Testament in which Jesus said, in every way he could think of to say it, "Whatsoever you do to the least (LEAST!) of My brothers, this you also do unto Me." Hence, you were watching a film about Jesus in need.

Would you feel better if they just called it "Justice" and dropped that scary word "social"?
Do we want prayer in school?  Yes.  do we want to  take on the idea that social ills are ultimately human problems solved by human love and compassion and not politics? No.
There are lots of problems in the world and we can't solve all of them. And we are not Jesus. But have you ever heard this saying, "Perfection is the enemy of the good"?  It means because we can't solve everything we solve nothing. It means because we can't do everything, we do nothing.  We aren't called upon to just do what we can. We are called to do as much as we can.  That starts with knowledge, understanding.
And compassion for the Treasures of the Church.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crayola Calvary

Bear with me. We have a journey to make.  It starts out rather easily:

My oldest hates coloring. Maybe I should get the coloring book for him as a penance.


For the colouring books for Lent, one way to remove the element of fun, would be to limit the colour selection to three. After the child picks his favorite colours, only give him three different coloured crayons.

This in response to my admonition that everything doesn't need to be fun and that really, Lent is not about fun, it is about aligning ourselves with the suffering of Jesus.

But Stations of the Cross coloring books are fine by me, in full color, with the whole box of crayons.  I'm sorry for the confusion.  It isn't the coloring books to which I object, but simply how they are advertised as a "fun" way to teach children about Christ's Passion. 

 I think the truth is that Stations of the Cross coloring books are rather a child's version of meditative prayer.  A little kid has to look at that picture, understand on some level what's going on, and choose colors to illuminate the reality or the sentiment. 

Let me put it this way, as a little girl I LOVED to color. I loved a big boxes of crayons, I was always disappointed when the original tip wore off because the crayon sharpeners were never as good. I loved choosing colors. I loved everything about it.

And now, as an adult, I love to embroider.  Why? Because it's like coloring with thread!  I love looking at the amazing array of threads and I love all the old time dancing dishes and singing bananas patterns.  I don't get to do it very often, with all of my other duties and prayers and church and school.  But when I do, it's always a gift I'm making for someone, and the whole time I'm sewing away, I'm thinking of that person.  It just comes with the territory.

I have to imagine that that is what happens in a child's brain when he is coloring a picture of Jesus on His way to Calvary.  And essentially, that is meditative prayer.

If we were Buddhists, when we mediate, we would try to empty our minds.  But we're Catholics. When we meditate we try to fill our minds with thoughts of Jesus, His life and work, the people around Him, the times in which He lived and what we can glean from that and gain from that and how we can become like that.

Which brings us to part II of our journey:
Time to show my ignorance,what exactly do you do for the stations of the cross. I know it's got to be more than just walking around looking at the pictures and thinking about what they represent - but what is it?
Thank you in advance

First, get yourself a little Stations of the Cross booklet. There are prayers to say in there and usually there are points on which to meditate. That should get you going. But it's perfectly fine for you to stand in front of that picture and color in the details, the sounds and smells, the emotion and the pain.  And then you think about how and why that happened and your part in today's world of pain or the pain in your own soul.

Which brings us to part three.  Which is pretty involved. Tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wading into Lent

We have a lot of Lent to go.  Perhaps we should spend some time talking about things that can be a little confusing.

Like the other day, when we talked about the changes to the Stations of the Cross.  Maybe not confusing, but a surprising number of people don't know there has been a change.  I chalk that up to churches not wanting to let go of their Stations of the Cross panels, some of which are beautiful works of art in wood, stone and beautifully painted plaster.  They are old and irreplaceable.

Which makes the rules for the Stations of the Cross a bit dodgy, since you have to walk around to do them and the new ones aren't up there on the wall for many of you.  How does one do the new Scriptural Stations? That can be confusing.

I don't know.  I imagine you'll just have to walk around, stand in front of the number, and picture a different rendering.  In other words, you'll be standing in front of Jesus is condemned to death, but you'll be picturing the Agony in the Garden.  And when you land in front of Jesus picks up his cross, you have to picture Judas betraying Jesus and then Jesus getting arrested  By the time you reach Jesus picking up His cross on the your new list, you'll be standing in front of of Jesus falling the second time.  That's #7.

At least when you're standing in front of #9, you can look back at the rendition of #8 on the wall of Jesus meeting up with the women of Jerusalem.

Nothing matches up until the very last one when Jesus is placed in the tomb.

Happily for you, there are quite a number of little Stations of the Cross booklets you can carry around with you. That should help.

Which reminds me! You know you can get Lenten coloring books for the kids?

I'm not sure I'm enthusiastic about Lenten coloring books, but I'll go along with it.  My beef is that these types of teaching tools are billed as "fun" for the kids.  A "fun" way to teach them about Lent.

I realize that it is going to be tough going to teach them about Lent if it isn't any fun.  But...Lent isn't supposed to be fun, so right there, what are we teaching them?  And why does everything we learn have to be fun?

I know, I know. "Fun" is part of the way we teach children to enjoy learning new things.  If it's fun, it might generate interest and being very interested in things is rather fun.

Isn't Lent interesting enough to hold a child's attention without having to crack out a pinata full of holy cards? (Because a Lenten pinata better not be full of candy!)

I digress.

It's okay to stick with the Traditional Stations. No one minds.  But our current Pope has asked up to take up the new ones.  I'm on board with that.  I love the new Scriptural Stations, even though we lose poor St. Veronica.  There are plenty of other St. Veronica's to replace her

A reader tells us:

Our parish still uses the Stations which are on the wall - the traditional ones - when we pray the Stations together on Fridays during Lent. On Good Friday, we have a Choral Stations of the Cross, with a meditation on each Station and music which corresponds to that Station. For that we use the "modern" version. It works for us!

You make it sound so easy!  What about the walking around part?

Friday, March 11, 2011

APB St. Blybig

My Lenten penance of the day stems from this question from a reader:

I do have a saint question; I ran across the name St. Blybig in a book. I have not been able to find any information about him/her. Can you help?

What book?  It wasn't Grimm's Fairy Tales or Dr. Seuss, was it?

There are many obscure saints, saints that are only known in certain countries, cities are areas.  Perhaps there is a St. Blybig.  I can't find him.  Or her.

Here's hoping he isn't a dog.

Are you sure you got the spelling right?  It wasn't a joke?  St. Twoply?  St. Bestbuy?  St. Captainbly?

Nothing frustrates me more than not being able to find information on a saint.  Sometimes, even if you find the saint in the annuls of saintly history, you'll only find some iffy dates and a word, like "martyr" or "bishop".

Poor St. Blybig, if there is one, doesn't even get that much.  I do have a suggestion for you, though. If you ever turn to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, you might consider switching over to St. Blybig (if he exists).

The whole reason St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes, is because he really hardly know anything about him at all.  Someone, somewhere at some time decided, "Hey! No one knows anything about him, so not many people are likely to pray for his intercession, so he must have a ton of eternity on his hands.  Let' s give him the really tough ones!"

Certainly, that would also be true of St. Bigboy, I mean Blybig.

I'll be interested to hear if any of my readers can find him.  We'd better have a chat with St. Anthony.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Goodbye Mr. Chips Ahoy!

Well this is it! Here's hoping you have your Lenten ducks in a row, picked something to give up, cleaned out the pantry, dusted off the fasting rules, located your glow in the dark rosary and have at least considered getting a Lenten wreath to mark the time.

You'll like having the wreath, because you get that one day off on your pink candle Sunday, and you'll be able to see it coming up and have a beer or a piece of chocolate on that day.  Many people ask me if it's okay to have whatever you're giving up for Lent on Laetare Sunday, and my actual answer is: Jesus didn't take any time off during His Passion.  But then, His Passion only lasted for one really long gruesome day, and you've (we hope) been at it for weeks.  Still, giving up the internet is no crown of thorns.

On the one hand, it makes sense to have a little treat on the fourth Sunday of Lent. The gospel reading for that day used to be the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. But...now it's the story about how Jesus gets in a tiff with the powers that be for healing a blind man on the Sabbath.  Hmmmmm.

It's going to be up to you to make the call.

I also am aware that I will be saying good-bye to some of you for a bit.  Perhaps we should say "Adieu".  Again, I don't speak French, but doesn't that mean "til we meet again"?  Giving up the internet, or at least, surfing around reading blogs and lolling on recipes sites and Facebook is a very common (and worthy) thing to give up for Lent.

So Adieu, internet giver uppers!  We'll so look forward to seeing you again on Easter!

Before you go, I'd like to remind you of one very special Lenten practice, the Stations of the Cross. Like fasting and rosary praying, there are rules to the Stations of the Cross. Let's review:

1. You have to walk around.
You can't just sit in your pew and slide your eyes over the Stations hanging there on the wall.

2. Say an Act of Contrition before you start.

3. Don't get confused if the little booklet you have of the Way of the Cross is different that what is hanging on the wall of your church, because chances are, if your booklet is new and your Church is old, what's on the wall is all off.


There are two sets of the Stations of the Cross.  The 14 Traditional ones:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus is given His cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10 . Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

And the modern version:
1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (the Agony in the Garden)
2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
4. Jesus is denied by Peter
5. Jesus is judged by Pilate
6. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
7. Jesus takes up His cross
8. Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene
9. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
10. Jesus is crucified
11. Jesus forgives the thief
12. Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other
13. Jesus dies on the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Quite a difference, eh?

I feel bad for the old churches like my childhood parish which has statues and stations that are very, very old.  The Stations match the statues and are in relief.  They were still there on my last visit, just as they have always been, with Veronica more or less in the middle.  The reason we got the modern version is because someone finally noticed that there are things in the original Stations of the Cross that are not in the New Testament. File this with the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Ann, also not in the New Testament.

In the Traditional Stations, #3,4, 6, 7 and 9 are not incidents that appear in Scripture and #13 is embellished a little, with the Scripture saying that Jesus was taken down from the cross. Jesus being laid in the arms of His Mother is not mentioned.  It could have happened.  But we don't really know that it did.  Bad news for Michangelo.

My favorite non New Testament Station is number six, "Veronica wipes the face of Jesus".  This one really has legs.  It is a late bloomer to the Stations in the first place, not arriving until the Middle Ages, along with, and probably not coincidentally, the Shroud of Turin.  There was no woman named Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus.  The name refers to what happened, "Vera"= True, "Icon"=image or mark.  Vera-icon. Veronica.

Ann and Joachim.   If we're just going by the New Testament, we don't know the names of Mary's parents and no one stepped forward to wipe the face of Jesus and walked away with His face on their towel.  But Mary did have parents and we do have the Shroud of Turin, although the Shroud of Turin is not Veronica's towel.  They do seem to be cut from the same cloth.

So to speak.

Pope John Paul II began the Scriptural Stations of the Cross and Pope Benedict XVI has made it official.

We hope the possible confusion doesn't deter you from making the Stations of the Cross at least once during the Lenten season. How about tomorrow?  That might be just the ticket to get your brain around what Lent is really all about.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Dollar Menu

If I had really been on my game, I would have done yesterday's post about Polish donuts today, the feast day of St. Casmir, the patron saint of Poland.  C'est la vie.

Or C'est la guerre, perhaps, would be more appropriate when invoking St. Casmir. He was a conscientious objector. Or should we say, C'est non la guerre?  I don't speak French.

Yesterday in the comments section, we took a side trip to Hawaii where the donutty treat is malasadas. 

Aloha Sister!

The large number of Portuguese Catholics in Hawaii has turned the islands' Fat Tuesday into Malasada Tuesday. A malasada is a soft, yeast doughnut, and is probably one of the most wonderfully simple, delicious things to eat. I have fond memories of my grandmother and her sisters making hundreds of them before Ash Wednesday every year. 

These little babies are over-large donut holes, fried crispy on the outside and rolled in cane sugar (from Hawaii).  But the actual treat is Portuguese.  There were a lot of Portuguese workers and sailors in the South Pacific, who later went to Hawaii to build things.  The Hawaiians really glommed onto malasadas, like sugar on a malasada.

Meanwhile, readers want me to know about another Lenten practise:

 Did you know that the File-o-Fish was created by a Catholic McDonald's own specifically for the Meatless Fridays (which were all Fridays in the past)? Sounds like a question for Jeopardy to me...

Yes.  I am well aware.

Perhaps I need to start making myself some Hula Burgers.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Taste of Lent

The Lenten food is coming out of the wood work.  "Another country heard from", as the saying goes. It seems every ethnic group and conclave has some kind of Lenten tradition.  It was to be expected.

Perhaps before Lent actually arrives next week, we'll have a world food tour via our readers.  Since just about every group has representatives in the US, we get quite the smorgesborg.   (And we can thank the Swedes for that.)

Today's treat comes from a Polish American reader:

I'm unimpressed by hot cross buns myself, but I'm sad that there's no way for me to get fresh paczki in Los Angeles. Unfortunately my parents are visiting from Chicago on Ash Wednesday, not Fat Tuesday. No paczki for me!

Now I could get behind this treat!  Think "jelly donut".  Only better.  Because the batter for the dough is really, really rich with butter and eggs and sugar. And whiskey!  Then it's stuffed with fruit or creme. Then they put powdered sugar or glaze or icing or dried fruit on top.

I've never had one, but if I could get my hands on one I would be pleased.

The Polish people make and eat these for Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, in a true Lenten tradition (unlike hot cross buns!) of using up items in the pantry that we won't be using for weeks because we are about to fast and do without.  I can get behind this tradition as well.  We're working on that this week, as a matter of fact.

We've had some odd dinners. Everything has jelly on it.  We're keeping the peanut butter.

Which, contrary to popular belief, is the meaning of Fat Tuesday, basically eating everything in the pantry.  I believe it's come to mean, "have a big party with lot of booze."  That is not a preparation for holiness. You also run the risk of having a hang over and missing Mass on Ash Wednesday.

At least you'll have a big fat headache with which to align your suffering with Christ.

But it's not Lent yet!  So I'm going to tell you where to get paczki in Los Angeles.  Next door to Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church is a Polish home called SZAROTKA (3400 W Adams Blvd., which I think is at Adams and Crenshaw, but don't go by me, go by Mapquest or something).  I believe you can go buy paczki on Sundays there.  I even found you a phone number so you can call and place an order: 323 735 1381.   Let me know if this works out for you!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

One a Penny, Two a Penny

I am not a fan of hot cross buns.  At best, I like the bites that include icing (like a four year old child!) and you can have the rest.  For those of you who have somehow lost out on this long Christian tradition, we eat hot cross buns on Good Friday, and I guess if you actually like them, on Easter Sunday. You hang one in the kitchen so you never burn your bread. Hot cross buns baked on Good Friday never go bad. Or something like that.

Superstition.  Unless you stick an oven timer in that bun hanging in your kitchen, you have to remember to get your bread out of the oven on your own. To ask that bun to keep your bread from burning is just...voodoo.

It seems that hot cross buns were corralled onto Good Friday by old Queen Elizabeth, who didn't want  a daily reminder of the Catholic Church, or as she put it "popery", in a stick bun and passed a law that they could only be sold on Good Friday and Easter.

So you can imagine my surprise, when trotting around the internets reading the Catholic news (it's astounding how much Catholic news there is!) that there is a whole area of the country that goes berserk over hot cross buns (to each his own, I suppose)  and can't get enough of them.  It seems bakeries bake them only during Lent. So hot cross buns are like vine ripened tomatoes and blueberries, only in season for a short time.

Get 'em while they're hot!

To which I have to just point out: it's Lent!  Aren't the words "Lenten TREAT" an oxymoron?

Given how I actually feel about them, perhaps I should consider eating one every day during Lent. I'll have to choose the kind where the cross is cut into the bun, rather than made of delicious icing.