Archive for April, 2010

Join our FB Prayer Community

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

I invite to join our growing prayer community on Facebook with the Sung Rosary/Marian Cenacle Rosary Podcast page. Using the rosary in song and coupled with the cenacle format of the Marian Movement of Priests (which includes prayers for the Pope, readings from founder Fr. Stefano Gobbi’s book, To the Priests, and a consecration to Mary), we can pray for each other. We can also share stories of blessings received from answered prayers, and share about our faith lives.

You can create a badge like this one to invite others to join us:

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Looking forward to seeing you there!

In honor of my Aunt Anna, RIP

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Inspired by Immaculee Ilibagiza’s book, Our Lady of Kibeho, I thought I would plant a pansy garden in honor of Our Lady as the visionaries in the book kept referring to Mary looking over a field of flowers, with the flowers each representing us. St. Therese of Lisiuex spoke of such a reference in her biography, The Story of a Soul, referring to herself as a daisy. I’d love to be remembered as a beautiful blue pansy.

Little did I know that one of my favorite aunts would pass into eternity today. Therefore, I want to dedicate this garden to the memory of one of the warmest and most loving woman I’ve known in my life, Anna Mastro. May you rest in the peace of Jesus and Mary on the eve of anniversary of His resurrection, dear Aunt Anna. Your handmade afghan always shares a special spot on my bed.

“Food” for thought
from Fr. Leo

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

I received this from a friend – this is from Fr. Leo’s podcast, “Grace Before Meals” heard on SQPN. Fr. Leo also has a television program. His unique mixture of food and spirituality are just wonderful and here, you’ll get (if you’ll pardon the pun) a “taste” of  it here.

Thanks, Patty, for forwarding this to me!

The Lasting Supper

Dinner with close family and friends can easily last a few hours.  Great food, loving relationships, and meals with a message can easily turn a family meal into a lasting memory.  In a way, Christians focus on a similar experience – a sacred meal – in these next three days, which we call the Triduum.  On Holy Thursday, Catholics participate in Jesus’ Last Supper – a single meal that became an event that will last for all time.  Then on Good Friday, we experience the “sacrifice” of the Mass and commemorate the death of Jesus.  On Holy Saturday, we anticipate the Resurrection and welcome new members to the Table of the Lord.  All of this from a simple meal Jesus had with His disciples in a nameless upper room.  Yes, some meals do last forever!

(One of the pilgrims offering a toast during the “last supper” of our pilgrimage that I led to France and Italy in 2009.)

It could be said that Jesus’ Last Supper is a bit of a misnomer.  When people hear “Last Supper” they assume it’s a done deal, a historical fact, something that does not continue and therefore cannot be celebrated today.  How then is it possible for people who celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy (i.e., go to Mass) to say they are “participating” in the Lord’s Last Supper – a meal that took place many centuries ago?

(Grotto of Lourdes, Emmitsburg, Md. – Priests on annual retreat.)

Perhaps a better way to describe this sacred feast is to consider it not a last supper, but a “lasting supper,” because as Christians, we truly eat food that endures forever.  You see, every Eucharistic Liturgy is an event that invites all believers to do what Jesus encouraged His Disciples to do – celebrate this meal in memory of Him.  We recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread by sharing in this special, grace-filled meal.  And just as He is present for us in the Eucharist, we must also be present for Him – in our faith.

The Last Supper is Jesus’ way of launching the traditional Jewish Passover Supper into perpetuity.  The Passover Meal reminds participants of God’s saving power.  It commemorates when God freed the Israelites from slavery and oppression and brought them to a land flowing with milk and honey.   When our Jewish brothers and sisters participate in the Passover Supper, they know God’s power is alive and well in their lives today.  While the Passover Supper is an historical event, it is the Jewish faith that transforms the meal in such a way so that all who participate experience God’s saving power here and now.  Such is God’s power and His mercy, which truly is without end.

(Hosts to be consecrated at the annual March for Life, Washington, DC, 2010.)

The same is true for those who celebrate the Passover Meal as Jesus instructed His Disciples to do.  As Jesus multiplied fish and bread to feed the masses, The Last Supper’s bread and wine are multiplied by infinity to feed His people at every Mass.  And Jesus’ generosity is not limited to one single moment in history.  His desire to feed His flock with the bread of angels was not for just one meal.  His grace can feed and save people for every generation.

His Last Supper is truly a lasting one!

(Crowds at Mission – Hot Spring, Ak.)

Families, friends, and all Christian believers prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday by remembering the sacred meal that was shared on the night before Christ’s Death.  On a Thursday night, roughly two thousand years ago, Jesus brought His disciples into an upper room and celebrated the Passover Feast with them, making God’s saving power very real.  He substantially changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood as true food and true drink – into food that both nourishes and saves   Whoever eats this food will live forever.  And His resurrection from the dead shows how His power transcends our worldly understanding of space and time.

The Last Supper is not a simple historical event.  No, the Last Supper is a shining reflection of Jesus’ eternal love for us, the moment the Shepherd first shared with His flock the food that is everlasting.

(Cooking Demo at Fort Meade Military Base.)

As we enter into the Three Days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, I pray that you and your families celebrate the joy that comes from knowing that despite our unworthiness to participate in this Last Supper, we are invited to receive His mercy (through the Sacrament of Confession), and therefore taste His goodness in our lives.

May you and your family experience the grace of increased faith in anticipation for the Glorious Celebration of Easter – a day that is not simply an event of the past.  It’s an invitation to celebrate now what we will hopefully experience through Jesus’ resurrection in the future.  This celebration is very real for those who realize that Christ lives, now and forever.  Amen!


Egg-celent Idea for Easter Eggs!

Last year on Palm Sunday, Grace Before Meals had the happy fortune to be featured on the ABC World News with Charles Gibson.  We were filmed at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.  There I created a special dish that would celebrate Palm Sunday.  Penne della Palma!  Chopped hearts of palm with a creamy brandy sauce can help make your Family’s Palm Sunday meal very memorable.

(My nephew on the hunt for Easter Eggs stuffed with candy and coins!)

What do you do with your dyed eggs after Easter is over? Here’s an idea that could help you find new meaning for those leftover colored eggs.


Food for Everlasting Life

On Holy Thursday, Christians around the world will celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist.  It is a meal that helps us remember that Christ is with us through the great gift of Food from the Last Supper.

(The Pieta, the 13th Station of the Cross – Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of His mother.  Replica of Michelangelo’s masterpiece – Lourdes Grotto, Emmitsburg, Md.)

Let us Pray:

Lord, make us worthy to celebrate these mysteries.  Each time we offer this memorial sacrifice, the work of our redemption is accomplished.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(Prayer Over the Gifts from the Holy Thursday Liturgy.)