Archive

Archive for February, 2010

Polish Pączki Day on Fat Thursday

February 18, 2010 3 comments

I’ve never celebrated it, but apparently there is a Polish tradition called Pączki Day (pronounced POONCH-key) that is celebrated on Fat Thursday (the Thursday before Lent … which would have been last Thursday).  In the spirit of Fat Tuesday, people eat a lot of pączki before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

A pączek (singular) is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. Although they look like  jelly doughnuts, pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Powidła (stewed plum jam) and wild rose hip jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry and apple.

Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jędrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, pączki dough was improved, so that pączki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.

Many Polish Americans celebrate Pączki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

A great news report on Pączki Day in Hamtramck, MI.

In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is more commonly celebrated on Fat Tuesday instead of Fat Thursday. Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, due to its sizable Polish population.

In Hamtramck, Michigan, an enclave of Detroit, there is an annual Pączki Day (Shrove Tuesday) Parade, which has gained a devoted following. In the greater Cleveland, Ohio area, it it wide spread through out the region, that many bakeries have people that will wait in lines for pączki on Pączki Day. The Pączki Day celebrations in some areas are even larger than many celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day.

[A “more Polish” perspective with a nice photo blog.]

I wish I knew this a couple days ago … I would have bought donuts.

Ash Wednesday POLL … take it!

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I know today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of 40 days of penitence and reflection, called Lent, to cleanse our soul by making atonement for the wrong things we have done and growing our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Since I’ve been in seminary the last 2 Ash Wednesday, I’m a little ignorant when I ask this, but … “Why are there so many people at Mass today?!?” Standing room only at the 6pm Mass I went to. Some churches even have 3 to 4+ different Mass times throughout the day.

Don’t get me wrong … it’s awesome to witness, but today isn’t even a holiday day of obligation. Why do so many Catholics feel the need to “get the ashes” today … what draws them today. Today, I even got a record number of 578 hits on this blog, with keywords like lent, fast, ashes, abstinence, & penance.

I’ve been debating possible reasons, from the supernatural movements of the soul toward God to practical whys.  Here is poll (in the sidebar of this page) with some possibilities that I hope people will be honest about.  — Please add more in comments.

What is the background on Ash Wednesday (in case you didn’t know)?

The ashes are made by burning the blessed palm fronds used on last year’s Palm Sunday and christened with Holy Water.

The marking of the forehead with a cross made of ashes reminds each of us that:

  1. Death comes to everyone
  2. We should be sad for their sins
  3. We must change ourselves for the better
  4. God made the first human being by breathing life into dust, and without God, human beings are nothing more than dust and ashes.
  5. It’s also a reminder of the mark of the cross made at baptism
  6. The cross of ashes may symbolize the way Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as atonement for sin replaces the Old Testament tradition of making burnt offerings to atone for sin.

When marking the sign of the cross on each believer’s forehead, the celebrant says, “Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” When leaving the observance, we carry the cross out into the world.

During Lent, each Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. It invites us to undertake spiritual discipline, deliberate abstinence from indulgent behavior involving food or luxuries, or finding ways to be of service to society.

CCD 7th: God the Son (day 17)

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we reviewed God the Father (from last week) and focused on God the Son (chapter 5 in our book).

(A) Reviewed God the Father. Played the video clip from Martian Child (see last week’s summary).  Reviewed homework assignment … think of an example of a movie clip demonstrating a “good dad.”  From that, we brainstormed why our relationship with God the Father becomes so wounded that we stop trusting the unconditional love He has for us.

(B) Discussed prayer “Core Wounds.” In our diagram of the Christian Heart (body, mind, soul), our life experiences can develop “core wounds” that hurt our lives physically, psychologically and/or spiritually.  They are shown as X’s on our diagram.  These wounds are actually “LIES” that affect our future relationships, especially with our Heavenly Father.  A common example, even shown in movies, is how our hurt relationships with our earthly father affect how we view the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father.  Wounds can keep us from trusting His loving plan for our lives.

(C) Who is Jesus? We showed a movie clip from the 1996 Sylvester Stallone movie called Daylight.  It’s the scene when the rescue worker (Stallone) first encounters the trapped people.  Only getting 1 rescuer is not what the trapped people expected.  This disappointed reaction is similar to the one Jesus received from people as they came to discover Him as the Messiah.  The idea came from thesource4ym.com clip ideas.  Click the link to get discussion questions.

Here is a trailer for the movie.  The actual clip used is here (but it’s in a foreign language).

Good discussion as we imagined the roles of the people, the Messiah and what our reactions would be in their shoes.

Homework: (1) Chapter 5 assessment questions on the last page.
(2) handout “How the Bible describes Jesus” … look up passages
(3) bring textbook + Bible + journal