Recipes for Fasting Bread and Hot Cross Buns

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Good Friday, a required day of fasting and abstinence, and Holy Saturday (traditionally a day of penance) are wonderful opportunities to eat foods that are symbolic both of the culmination of Lent, and of Christ’s Passion.

While this week’s plans aren’t set in stone yet (are they ever? 😉 ), in years past we have made both fasting bread and hot cross buns for Holy Week, specifically for Good Friday and Holy Saturday (we had a lot of fasting bread during the first few weeks of Lent this year, and then stored the rest in the freezer for this purpose). Hot Cross buns are especially traditional for Good Friday, by the way 😉 Lena is our baker par excellence!

Below are links to both recipes:

Fasting Bread

Hot Cross Buns

(And if there are leftovers, you can freeze them to have for the next Ember Days, which would be the Embertide after Pentecost!)

God bless you! 🙂



A Holy Thursday Meal for the Traditional Catholic Family

For a very long time now, thanks to the efforts of my wonderful mother, our family has had a symbolic, prayerful meal on Holy Thursday (almost always before Mass), one that evokes some of the old basic elements of a Jewish Seder, but most certainly Christianized (for lack of a better term). I would say we’ve been having one for nearly ten years; it is very much a part of my mind when I think of Holy Thursday, and something I hope to continue whenever I’m blessed with a home of my own.

Originally sourced from a Catholic Culture article, our Holy Thursday meal has morphed and been modified several times over the years, but this year–our second Holy Week after beginning to attend Latin Mass–, Mom felt it called for another more considered overhaul in light of the traditions of our Faith that we are continually learning of. Today was the day for that “tweaking” and I thought I would post it here for anyone interested in catching a glimpse of what we do. I really do hope to take pictures of it, as well, although I can’t promise . . .

The elements of our meal include pita bread (heated and wrapped in a clean cloth), horseradish, parsley sprigs, salt water, applesauce, roasted meat (lamb this year, for the first time ever!), wine and juice, another starch (usually mashed potatoes), a vegetable (usually green beans), and a white cake (or cupcakes, as it will be this year).

The table is set with a white tablecloth, candles, and our best dishware. There is an aura of solemnity, reverence, and yet excitement, since it’s our most singular family meal of the entire year.

The questions and answers are arranged for the number of people at our meal this year, but this can easily be changed depending on the size of the family. Also, if the children are younger (my baby sister is almost 13!), the reflections could, and should, certainly be simplified to make it more accessible to the family!

And while it’s a reverent meal, talking between the reflections isn’t disallowed by any means 😉

A Holy Thursday Meal

All stand quietly around the table. The mother of the family, who supervised the making of the meal and the beautifying of the kitchen, now lights the candles, which symbolize the Light of Christ.

All make the Sign of the Cross as the father of the family, standing at the head of the table, begins the Introit for the evening’s Mass:

Father: “But it behooves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by Whom we are saved and delivered. May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us. But it behooves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by Whom we are saved and delivered.”

Then he leads his family in the Blessing Before Meals:

All: Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All sit. The father unwraps the pita bread from the cloth and passes a piece to each family member.

Father: Why do we eat unleavened bread tonight?

Mother: We eat unleavened bread to recall the Passover, in which the Israelite slaves ate unleavened bread before their flight from Egypt. We eat it to recall Christ’s perfect fulfillment of the Passover through His Passion and Death, and through His institution of the most Holy Eucharist: the Bread of Heaven which gives life to our souls.

We see the absence of leaven, and we contemplate Christ’s meekness and humility. We look at the stripes on the unleavened bread, and we contemplate Christ’s bloody scourging. “He was wounded for our transgressions: He was bruised for our sins, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.”

All taste a small bite of the pita.

Father: Why do we eat horseradish tonight?

Child/Person # 1: We eat horseradish to recall the bitterness of the Israelites’ slavery to Pharaoh, and of mankind’s slavery to sin, out of which Christ redeemed us by His Precious Blood. He took the bitterness of our sins upon Himself during His Agony, Passion and Death.

We taste the bitterness of the horseradish and renew our desire for a pure life. We resolve to go frequently to Confession, that we may always be free from sin.

All taste the horseradish.

Father: Why do we eat bitter herbs tonight, and why do we dip them twice?

Child/Person #2: We eat bitter herbs to recall how the Israelites, on Passover, used hyssop branches to mark the lintels of their doorposts with the blood of the lamb. We recall how Christ, on the Cross, took His bitter last drink on a hyssop branch. We are reminded of how hyssop represents, to us, new life. “Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow.”

We dip the herbs once in salt water to recall the tears shed by the Israelites in slavery, by mankind in sin, and by Our Lord and His Blessed Mother during His sorrowful Passion.

All dip the herbs in salt water and taste.

Child/Person #3: We dip the herbs in sweet applesauce to recall the sweetness of Christ’s ransom for us. Mankind fell by the fruit of a tree; and yet mankind was redeemed by Christ, the Fruit of Mary’s womb, Who hung upon the Tree.

As we work out our salvation in fear and trembling, we hope in Christ’s infinite goodness and promises.

All dip the herbs in applesauce and taste.

Father: Why do we eat lamb tonight?

Child/Person #4: We eat lamb to recall that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. Through His Passion and Death, He perfectly fulfilled the prefigurement of the unblemished Passover Lamb.

“He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter and shall be dumb as a lamb before His shearer, and He shall not open His mouth.”

“Blessing and honor, glory, and power unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, Who hath redeemed us to God by His blood, for ever and ever. Amen.”

All taste a small bite of the lamb. Then the other foods are served.

Mother: We eat these remaining foods to also remember Christ’s Passion. The potatoes are bruised and mashed, just as Christ was crushed and bruised for our sins; and yet they are hearty and give us strength, just as Christ’s Passion gives us strength for our spiritual warfare. We drink wine and juice to recall the shedding of Christ’s Precious Blood, and to remind us that He is the Vine, and we must bear fruit in Him. These vegetables give us nourishment and strength, just as Christ’s Passion teaches us to strive for virtues with perseverance and courage.

Everyone eats and enjoys the full meal. Finally, the father asks:

Father: Why do we eat round, white cakes tonight?

Child/Person #5: We eat round, white cakes to recall the marvelous gift of Christ’s institution of the Holy Priesthood at the Last Supper. The cakes are small, because Christ humbled Himself in washing His disciple’s feet, giving us an example of meekness and servitude.

Our holy priests impart to us the sweetness of Eternal Life through the Holy Mass, through the Sacraments, and through a life of heroic virtue, sacrifice and purity.

“He shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old and in the ancient years: saith the Lord almighty.”

Father: Let us pray for our holy priests.

A moment of silence. Then, the father prays aloud the Collect from the morning’s Chrism Mass:

Father: Lord God, Who dost use the ministry of priests in regenerating Thy people: grant us persevering subjection to Thy will, so that Thy people who have been consecrated to Thee may by the gift of Thy grace increase in our day in merits and in number. Through Our Lord.

All: Amen. O Lord, grant us priests. O Lord, grant us holy priests. O Lord, grant us many holy priests.

All enjoy the cakes. Afterwards, the father leads his family in the final prayer:

All: We give thee thanks, Almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Father: Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

All: May they rest in peace. Amen.

Father: A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, saith the Lord. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.

All: May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. Amen.

God bless you all! 🙂


Behold, Thy King Will Come to Thee


by Giotto

Even after this morning’s procession around the grounds of our parish church, and after the reading of the Passion at Low Mass, I can hardly believe Holy Week is already here! Let us all resolve to make this week the most faithful, fervent and sacred week of our Lenten observance.

Below are a few links to reading material that I will be looking over this week. As Lent draws to a close and we enter into this most sacred week of the liturgical year, I hope to write a little more about my thoughts and experiences of this past Lent. Specifically, tomorrow, I plan to post our recipes for fasting bread and other symbolic Holy-Week-food 😉

Palm Sunday

from Fish Eaters:

Today, this “Second Sunday of the Passion,” is the memorial of Christ’s “triumphant,” but misunderstood, entry into Jerusalem, the day that begins Holy Week. This entry into Jerusalem is seen as the prophetic fulfillment of Zacharias 9:9-10 :

When Mass is finished, we take the palms home and hang them over crucifixes or holy pictures (I don’t know how universal this is, but an Italian and French custom is to break off a piece of the palm and, while praying to St. Barbara for relief, burn it in times of great storms or natural disasters). Another custom is to shape the palm into Crosses before hanging them (see below). The people of Italy and Mexico shape palms into extremely elaborate and beautiful figures. Also, men in some places will wear a piece of it in their hats or pin it to their lapels, and a piece should also be placed with one’s sick call set.

Some of these same palm branches are saved and burned the next year to make the ashes for the next Ash Wednesday — the palms, which symbolize triumph, and the ashes, which symbolize death and penitence, forming a great symbolic connection between suffering and victory. The next year, when we get new palms, the old palms are burned and their ashes buried.

Now, this day has in the past sometimes been called “Fig Sunday” because just after Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, He cursed the fig tree:

Mark 11:12-14
And the next day when they came out from Bethania, he was hungry. And when he had seen afar off a fig tree having leaves, he came if perhaps he might find any thing on it. And when he was come to it, he found nothing but leaves. For it was not the time for figs. And answering he said to it: May no man hereafter eat fruit of thee any more for ever. (also Matthew 21:18-19)

This cursing is undoubtedly a reference to what would happen to those of Israel who rejected the Messias, as revealed in this parable:

Luke 13:6-9
He spoke also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. And he said to the dresser of the vineyard: Behold, for these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it done therefore: why cumbereth it the ground? But he answering, said to him: Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it, and dung it. And if happily it bear fruit: but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Because of the cursing of the fig tree, the eating of figs is customary…

Spy Wednesday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Holy Saturday

May God bless you!




21153-Bouguereau, William-Adolphe

Storms are forecasted for our area later on today, and so I thought I might post a few traditional prayers and practices surrounding the expectation of inclement weather.

The Rogation Days remind us that dangerous weather and other natural disasters are afflictions due to the Fall and to the sins of mankind. Only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought too deeply about praying for bad weather to be averted; that we would be kept safe, yes . . . but the more I discover the traditions of the Faith, the more amazed I am at the strength and specificity of the prayers I find, including those in regards to storms. Especially since my family is hoping to go out tonight for a celebration of the feast of good St. Joseph, we have been making recourse to the following prayers:

Prayers For Fair Weather

from the Missal on page 1530:


O Lord, hear us who cry to Thee, and grant fine weather to Thy suppliants, that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may by the exercise of Thy bounty experience Thy clemency. Through our Lord.


Almighty God, we beseech Thy clemency, be pleased to check these heavy rains and show to us a cheerful sky. Through our Lord.

* * *

Prayers to Avert Storms

page 1531:


We beseech Thee, O Lord, that all spiritual wickedness may be driven away from Thy house, and that the fury of the storms may pass away. Through our Lord.


Almighty, everlasting God, Who by chastising healest and by forgiving dost preserve, grant that we who humbly pray to Thee, may rejoice in the peace and consolation which we desire and ever enjoy the gift of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.

* * *

Blessed Bread

There is also a pious custom of keeping blessed bread in one’s freezer, and throwing a morsel of it outside when there is bad weather. It would seem equally appropriate to sprinkle a little holy water outside in the same event.

* * *

St. Barbara

St. Barbara is invoked as the patroness against storms, especially lightning storms. In imitation of the Rogation Days, the entire Litany of Saints could also be prayed.

God bless you! 🙂


Happy Feast of St. Joseph!


Lord, Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.

Gradual from the Feast of St. Joseph

Happy feast of St. Joseph! What a beautiful day for the holy Church! The fast is lifted (my family, friends and I are so excited :-P), and the day is suffused with joy and excitement as we honor the head of the Holy Family, the protector of the Universal Church!

Joseph, says the Holy Scripture, was a just man; he was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls.

-Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Devotion to St. Joseph cannot be over-stressed! Let us all consecrate ourselves to his Most Chaste Heart as, in private revelation (approved by Bishop Carillo Gritti, Prelate of Itacatiara, Amazonas, Brazil, May 31, 2009), he requested in Brazil:

St. Joseph, The Most Chaste Heart, Print

My dear son, Our Lord God has sent me to tell you about all the graces the faithful will receive from my Most Chaste Heart which Jesus and my blessed
spouse wish to be honored. I am St. Joseph and my name means “God will grow,” because I grew every day in grace and divine virtues. Through devotion to
my Chaste Heart many souls will be saved from the hands of the Devil.

I am not one for reading too deeply into dreams, and until today, it never struck me to do anything like blogging about them. As with anything else, I know they can be superstitiously over-emphasized without due cause. Yet, at the same time, some dreams have more weight; God has spoken through dreams; we are encouraged to ask our guardian angels to protect our nightly dreams. Now, most of mine have been crazy and random, a conglomeration of life events and the occasional flying episode and stomach virus (from which I wake up incredibly relieved that none of us are sick!). However, as with anyone else’s dreams, a few of mine have been quite vivid and serious.

There have been a handful over the past few months that I actually mulled over the next day. One had to do with me standing alone on our back deck, looking at the daytime sky, rooted in a combination of terror and awe, watching revolutions and movements of the moon and planets across the sun as they continually increased in size and speed.

And early this morning, when it was still dark, I woke up from a dream even more intense. It began with a storm (again, over our backyard) and what looked like descending funnel clouds; but, without warning, one became a literal finger of fire. Then it transformed into a torrent of fire plunging down to some unseen location–but the fire’s repercussion nearly reached our yard. The terror was palpable. In the dream, my dad was standing beside me and he uttered an overwhelmed prayer to God. I woke up with more than a trace of that terror, and it certainly took a while for the vividness of the dream to fade. It prompted me, after my morning prayers, to return to a chapter from The Four Last Things that I had read a long time ago.

Jesus Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, Who at His first coming appeared upon the earth in all stillness and tranquillity, under a gentle and attractive form, will come again the second time to judgment with great majesty and glory.

In order that His advent may not find us unprepared, He will send beforehand many and terrible signs to warn us to abandon our sinful life. Of these signs He Himself says: “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.  And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved.”

A very grim chapter follows that introduction; storms, floods, darkness, and a great fire falling from the sky are all discussed. The Church teaches that the end of the world will come on an unknown day, but that undeniable signs will precede it, that there will be universal chaos and destruction before the Last Judgment. It doesn’t take prophetic dreams to reveal that. Our times, while still possessed of hope, are very evil. It is interesting to have such a dream early in the morning on the feast of St. Joseph (who bears the name of his princely Old Testament predecessor), the patron and protector of the universal Church, the Terror of demons, the patron of a happy death. If anything else, it renewed my desire to pray to him, to pursue a life of virtue, and to live always in a state of spiritual vigilance, whether I or not I’m meant to experience the end times (though, humanly speaking, I really hope not! 😉 ).

Today, The Dash and I consecrate ourselves to the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph after finishing a novena:

O Blessed St. Joseph, tenderhearted Father, faithful guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of the Mother of God, I pray and beseech thee to offer to God the Father, His Divine Son, bathed in Blood on the cross for sinners, and through the thrice-Holy Name of Jesus, obtain for us from the Eternal Father the favor we now implore, which is the grace of consecration to thy Most Chaste Heart.

O Joseph, foster father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray for us daily to the Son of God, so that, armed with the might of His grace and loyally fighting the good fight here on earth, we may be crowned by Him at the hour of our death. Amen.

St. Joseph the Provider by Michael D. O’Brien

Here is a beautiful prayer that can be used for consecration:

Bless me, O dearly beloved Father, St. Joseph; bless my body and
my soul; bless my resolutions, my words and deeds, all my actions and omissions, my every step; bless all that I possess, all my interior and  exterior goods, that all may redound to the greater honor of God. Bless me for time and eternity, and preserve me from every sin. Obtain for me the grace to make atonement for all my sins by love and contrition here on earth, so that after my last breath I may, without delay, prostrate at thy feet return thee thanks in Heaven for all the love and goodness thou, O dearest Father, hast shown me here below. Amen.

Now pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father,
three times, in thanksgiving to God for the graces and prerogatives
bestowed on St. Joseph.

(I found both of these prayers at Catholic Tradition.)

God bless you all on this beautiful feast day! 🙂 Sancte Joseph, ora pro nobis!