Faithful Food: Family Far and Wide

by Kim Long

“Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

I enjoy my work as a DRE and many of us who share this title, along with its joys and challenges, will jokingly say those letters stand for “directly responsible for everything.” Like many people, we change hats multiple times a day.

Recently I was tasked with explaining baptism to a 10-year-old child who had not been “raised up in church,” as my grandmother would have stated it. I was amazed when, during the course of our lesson, the following statement “issued forth from my mouth:” So you have a family at home, and a family here in PSR classes, then once you are baptized you have the Church family at St. Mary’s and another really big family – all the Catholics in the whole world are part of your family. I realized later that it was one of those golden moments when I stepped aside and let God speak!

Lately that has been driven home in the form of a series of events occurring in rapid succession.

The tug to deepen my prayer life has become undeniable. I kept First Friday and Saturday devotions for many years and then, for no particular reason, stopped. I decided to give it another try. I promised myself I would begin in February. As life goes, I was visiting out of town family and realized it was a First Friday. I found a church nearby offering a First Friday Mass and at 5:19 p.m., with only moments to spare, I dashed into the pew, my hurried breathing slowing, falling into the rosary’s rhythm. I felt at home.

Saturday found me in another town along the northeastern side of our state with a slightly smaller First Saturday crowd. Again, falling into the rosary prayers, I relaxed breathing into the moment.

After Mass I visited an elderly relative. Stepping into her home it was as though we had visited yesterday even though it had been a while since I darkened her door. With old time gospel music playing, we reminisced, shared biscuits and tomato gravy, and I left more keenly aware of the passage of time.

Once home, I was asked to read at two funerals, one for a family I knew through church, the other extended family. Two sets of readings, each perfect for the families gathered. They were also perfect for me, connected by God, through time, space and place. A pattern was unfolding.

Currently, our parish awaits news of a neighbor’s health. Suffering a bad fall in the early morning, she phoned me and I rushed over, bathrobe flying and heart pounding. After EMS took her to the hospital a network of care was invoked. Now we pray and wait, believing in God’s best for her, and by extension for us.

Several of us gathered one night recently amid 50 pounds of flour and sugar and a case of eggs as we baked St. Joseph Altar cookies. Laughter, prayer, and work combined to fill us with God’s goodness. Sister Sledge’s 70’s anthem echoed in my head “We are family. I got all my sisters with me.”

We are enveloped in our big Catholic family wherever we are, whether we always like it or not. We keep the peace, hold the line, smile, cry, love. We are bossy and jockey for a favored spot; we reconcile and begin anew.

As I enter the Holy Season of Lent with my big Catholic family, I am liking this extended group, my family at home and in life, very much.

Irish Hash

•  1 Sweet potato, peeled, grated
•  1 bag broccoli and cauliflower slaw (found in the produce section, if not available substitute cauliflower and broccoli florets)
•  1 onion peeled and diced
•  1 teaspoon of minced garlic
•  ½ cup vegetable broth
•  Olive oil to cover bottom of skillet
•   Salt and pepper to taste

1) Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil on low flame. You don’t want them to brown (no crispy bits please).

2) When soft and the fragrance has been released, add the vegetables all at once and stir, coating the vegetables in the oily onions and garlic.

3) Add some vegetable broth and cover, simmering on a low flame, stirring often to combine and to make sure it doesn’t stick.

This dish is one I “made up” because I needed a vegetable/starch and didn’t have enough of either, so I combined them. We enjoy it served with pork chops or chicken, but during Lent it’s a faithful companion to Tuna Casserole! Enjoy!

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