Feast Day for Parents
May 1st is the Solemn Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker. It’s a big feast day in Rome, similar to America’s Labor Day. The whole city shuts down and they feast all day long!
May is also a month dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Your church might have a May Crowning and maybe you’ll hear even more sermons about Mary, especially on the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend celebrated in America.
And while May is truly a month to celebrate the parents of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I propose we use it as a time to celebrate our own parents as well.
Even though there is no official “Parent’s Day,” this month’s Feast Days give us time to reflect on what it means to be a good Mom and Dad, to improve parenting skills in general, and to make sure that we let our own parents know how much we appreciate them with a delicious meal. And I have two books to help with that!
For those new to our movement, my first book, Grace Before Meals: Recipes and Inspiration for Family Meals and Family Life, has a chapter with bite-sized theological essays about Moms and Dads. It also includes recipes you can make to say a special “thank you” to your own parents. There are even questions to facilitate a conversation about the important role of parenting. Not to mention my famous winning recipe from the Food Network Show, Throw Down! with Bobby Flay.
My second book, Spicing Up Married Life, compliments the important role of parents in the family. I believe the family’s love for each other begins with the strength of the parent’s love for each other. With that, I encourage “month-aversaries,” a monthly dinner date instead of the traditional once a year celebration. Perhaps children can make a special meal for their parents based on the recipes of this book and encourage their parents to take some time to read the essays and ask each other the questions in the book. I’ve had many couples write to me and tell me how this book has really helped strengthen their relationship as spouses and also as parents. Please feel free and share your own comments about this book here.
May also happens to be a popular month couples to also get married. These books are no doubt a great gift for the newlyweds!
Use this month well! The Feast Days of this month coupled with the resources from our movement, bring powerful reminders to honor moms and dads, like Mary and Joseph. They deserve the recognition from children and society. Parents who work hard to provide the “daily bread” for their family deserve a special meal to celebrate their necessary role in building up God’s family! Let’s start a movement to celebrate “Parent’s Day!”
Let us pray:
In honor of the Feast of St. Joseph and in the month dedicated to Mary, we pray for our parents. May God raise up and inspire moms and dads to seek only the best of things for their children, feeding them only the best food for body, mind and soul. Bless and protect the sacrament of marriage Lord, and help loving moms and dads to be the effective sign of charity, commitment and holiness in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your responses help encourage our work and our movement. Please let us know your questions, thoughts and comments below.
Trabuco Canyon, CA
|A Tribute to the Heroes, the Helpers and the Hurting|
This week America experienced tremendous challenges and pain. These difficult times can either melt us into more compassionate people or mold us into people full of anger.
In the midst of the pain, suffering, confusion and sadness, I’ve heard many different people giving some very good advice to help us get through it all. One piece of advice I heard was to look for the heroes, the helpers and the hurting. In other words, we can sometimes be trapped by our own fear, pain, confusion and sadness. And while we have to pay attention to our own feelings – especially negative ones – we can’t dwell on them. We also need to pay attention to the big picture.
Looking at the big picture helps us to see the inspiring efforts of heroic people and gain encouragement from their selflessness. These examples can warm our hearts, melting away rough edges and brokenness.
By looking at the bigger picture, we also see how these challenges can either mold us into better people with softer and more loving hearts, or hardened hearted people who seek revenge and destruction – like these terrorists. The environments in which we live have that molding effect. We therefore have to make sure we put ourselves in good places and with good people who can mold our hearts into something good.
What better way to describe this reality than through food! Take, for example, a hard cheese like parmesan as an analogy of our own hearts. When heated, it becomes soft, and less prone to being broken. The melted cheese can also be made into something useful, beautiful and of course, delicious to feed the hungry when put over something curbed.
Like this cheese, our own hearts are vulnerable to being broken. But the heat of challenging times, like hearing these tragic events, can actually create an opportunity to “soften” our hearts, melting away the edges, and making us more moldable. These tragic events can either help us to experience more compassion or more hate – depending on who, or what, it is that molds our hearts.
Hopefully you can see how challenging times melt us, but also shape us. It may be a “cheesy” analogy, but it makes sense. The scriptures tell us that we are like clay in God’s hands. In faithful foodie language, it may be more like melted and molded goodness!
Let us pray:
Father in Heaven, we pray for peace in our world, consolation for those who mourn the death of loved ones, courage for those who now face physical and emotional struggles, and thanksgiving for the heroic actions that are trying to bring about a calm and peaceful resolution to the problems in our world. Keep our families safe, and may these moments fill our hearts with the warmth of compassion in order to mold it into the heart of Your Son, Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Your comments and questions are so important to our movement. Please post your comments below. And, if you have other questions, post them here or contact our project manager.
|On a Faithful Foodie Mission|
Before getting into our Dinner Discussion for this week, we at Grace Before Meals want to extend our heartfelt joy for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis I!
Pope Francis I, We promise to remember you every time we gather around the Lord’s Table, and to keep your intentions in our prayers.
God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Pope Francis I Your servant, the pastor of Your Church.
Now, for this week’s Dinner Discussion I would like to share some of my Lenten experiences. It’s been a pretty good Lent for me so far. I’ve been keeping up with most of my Lenten observance, but at the same time, keeping quite busy giving missions and spiritual retreats.
This season has been a fantastic opportunity to share our Grace Before Meals message of faith, food, and family, in different parts of the country through the itinerant preaching of “Parish Missions.” I’m grateful that we are “packing the house,” so to speak, with record crowds from all parts, seeking the message of faith.
Missions are a necessary way to communicate the good news to all parts of the world. While the traditional understanding has been to go to different countries and evangelize people of different religions, many priests are finding it necessary to proactively spread the Christian message to people in our own countries – even in our own parishes or local communities.
While most people in America have heard of Jesus Christ many people do not know him well, evidenced by many surveys that speak about a great misunderstanding of the Church’s role. Church, for many people, is not always a good experience. People are bored, upset about various news stories of their priests or community, or confused about some Church doctrine. They may not feel at home in a certain community or may be at a point of even questioning God.
That’s why parish missions are so important. They provide unique perspectives, different voices, and deeper experiences of prayer, teaching, and community. We are proud to say this happens when people from our parish go out on missions! We give parishes an opportunity to celebrate, pray, laugh, learn, and in some cases even eat some gourmet goodness together!
Giving missions is hard work. Committees have to plan in advance, and preparations must be made in order to make sure that people in parishes are not only aware of the mission, but that they are going to come. At my missions, I tell people to bring family, friends, and even non-Catholics. I don’t want the mission to be me preaching to the “choir” but to people from all walks of life. After all, a “missionary” is someone who is “sent” to all parts to give an invitation to the banquet of the King (Matthew 22:2).
We still have a few weeks of Lent. If you have never been to a parish mission, or if you are in a parish that needs some revival, renewal, and an experience to deepen your faith, I encourage you to speak with your pastor about bringing in a mission preacher. While many people ask for missions during the Lenten or Advent Season, I also encourage it during the Easter and Christmas seasons, or during “ordinary time.” During less festive seasons, mission work gives parishes something to do that is often times lacking: CELEBRATE!
Sure, we need to pray together, endure the Lenten pilgrimage together, but I certainly believe that the best way to respond to all of the “bad news” is to celebrate our faith, enjoy each other’s company, and feast as a family. That may be one of the more unique approaches to my parish missions. I encourage people to laugh, express their joy, and use this to combat all of the negativity in the world. I’m certainly no stand-up comedian, but we do have some rip roaring laughs. The cliché is worth repeating, “there’s nothing more funny than the truth!”
As God looks at our Lenten experience, the unique time of our church’s history with the conclave, and hears the cries of the poor; I pray that we will be able to experience God’s Good News sent to all parts of the world – most importantly, sent to your heart and soul.
A new season of Savoring Our Faith has arrived and now airs Sundays at 5pm EDT. We are excited for this season and hope that you can watch it each week on EWTN. Check out their schedule HERE.
Also, if you subscribe to Sirius XM Radio, you should tune into The Catholic Channel every Thursday at 1pm to catch Fr. Leo’s weekly radio show, “Entertaining Truth” with Tom Leopold, former writer for “Seinfeld” and “Cheers”. And if you don’t subscribe, then you may want to consider it, because these guys are funny!
Your responses, comments and questions are so helpful to our cause. Please post your comments below.
Let us Pray:
Father in Heaven, in this holy season, we ask for the grace to hear Your word as it really is – GOOD NEWS! May all of our family, friends and fellow parishioners know that You walk with our Church in Her pilgrim way, but also – and most importantly – You walk with us each day, providing us the nourishment through the Eucharist and in Your Holy Word to guide us safely to the banquet of Heaven. We pray for missionaries and the “mission” of Grace Before Meals and all of those served by this apostolate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Competitive Family Members
I’m writing this E-mail Blast immediately after the Super Bowl and the Raven’s victory.
While John’s team won, the Harbaugh Family is the true winner. The intense pressures of raising a family are magnified by competition. To have two sons compete for the title of Super Bowl World Championship and stay brotherly is a miraculous accomplishment of great parenting and a strong family.
In the culinary world, I remember a similar competition between the two Voltaggio Brothers for the title of Top Chef. I was fortunately invited to the screening party for the final episode. And while Bryan Voltaggio didn’t win, I sensed in him a feeling of victory as his brother Michael claimed the prize.
The Voltaggio mother was credited by both sons as the reason for their skill and drive. They saw in her a good example and both wanted to do her proud – no doubt this is the same motivation for the two Harbaugh brothers. Their accomplishments are a testament to the drive, discipline, determination, and the equal love Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh have for both of their sons.
While raising a family is difficult, relationships can get more complicated if and when a child feels like they are not loved “as much” as a sibling. Sibling rivalry is bound to happen at some level of family life. Consider Jacob and Esau’s sense of competition, or the rivalry amongst the disciples, as seen in Mathew 18:1 when they asked who would be the “greatest” in Heaven. But a rivalry doesn’t have to ruin a family.
There may be days when one sibling acts more lovable than the other, but parents have a great responsibility to raise each child with the same amount of love – even if it requires that one child occasionally gets a little more attention (or discipline) than the other.
Competition in the case of the Harbaugh’s or Voltaggio’s is taken to a whole new level. But the classiness of the people who raised them can become a great example for all parents and all children – especially if the siblings can get through the competition without destroying their family love for one another.
Even though I joke around that my parents love me best (I’m the priest for goodness sake haha), I know my parents love all their children equally. Similar to how God treats His children, parents have to see each child as an individual, recognizing different temperaments while making sure there are concrete signs of equal love to each child in the family.
Here are some tips to help parents that may have to deal with competitive kids:
Raising a family is hard. It gets even more complicated when the children become competitive. Disordered competitiveness breeds jealousy, unhealthy rivalry, and can tear the family apart. Parents will sometimes need some life coaching to help them get through unique difficult situations, but it is important to remember that children are not only competing with one another, but they’re also competing for the greatest victory of all: your love for them.
For all of you who have received Spicing Up Married Life and want to share it with others, please leave a review on Amazon for others to share in. Your review may help provide insight to those seeking ways to strengthen their relationships in or out of the kitchen. We would love to know what you think of it as well, so please post today!
FYI: On my weekly radio show, ”Entertaining Truth” each Thursday at 1:00pm EST on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129, me and my co-host Tom Leopold will develop this discussion even more. We will also try to give people a perspective on how to approach their post Super Bowl Blues or Rejoicing!
Finally, Valentine’s Day is only one week away. Order your copy of Spicing Up Married Life as a perfect gift for you and your spouse. Enter the promo code VDAY13 for your purchase and receive a special 10% discount. Order by February 11, 2013 and receive it in time for Valentine’s Day.
AND TO ENTER A CONTEST FOR A SPECIAL VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT SET:
When you make a purchase with that code and respond to the questions below, your order automatically enters you into a drawing for a special gift from me, including a signed copy of Spicing Up Married Life, a bottle of wine, paired with one of my recipes from the book, ingredients provided. So leave your comments HERE!
Let us pray:
Father, may competition bring out the best in us. May we learn how to deal well in our relationships so that, imitating Your equal love for all, we may help Your children to be raised with a great sense of love, kindness for each other, and true family support. May families be victorious in that they remain close to each other in good times and in bad, and even in the wins and losses. God bless the Harbaugh family! Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
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