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Mardi Gras' Catholic Roots [Shrove Tuesday]
American Catholic ^ | 02-23-04 | American Catholic

Posted on 02/23/2004 10:53:47 PM PST by Salvation

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last hurrah before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It also has links to the Christmas season through the period known as Carnival.

Mardi Gras' Catholic Roots

Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the "last hurrah" before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That's why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of streetsweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.

What is less known about Mardi Gras is its relation to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. (Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal "ordering" of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons. There is a fine Scripture From Scratch article on that topic if you want to learn more.)

Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. Some believe the festival represented the few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; since these days were outside the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Others see it as a late-winter celebration designed to welcome the coming spring. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.

The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings' Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.

Epiphany is also traditionally when celebrants serve King's Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.

There are well-known season-long Carnival celebrations in Europe and Latin America, including Nice, France; Cologne, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The best-known celebration in the U.S. is in New Orleans and the French-Catholic communities of the Gulf Coast. Mardi Gras came to the New World in 1699, when a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River, about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. He named the spot Point du Mardi Gras because he knew the holiday was being celebrated in his native country that day.

Eventually the French in New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras with masked balls and parties, until the Spanish government took over in the mid-1700s and banned the celebrations. The ban continued even after the U.S. government acquired the land but the celebrations resumed in 1827. The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, were chosen 10 years later: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.

Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from "to shrive," or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.


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The last day before Lent begins!

Eat up all the meat products.........hehehe.

Shrive!

1 posted on 02/23/2004 10:53:47 PM PST by Salvation
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Lenten Journey Ping!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Lenten Journey Ping list.

2 posted on 02/23/2004 10:55:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Here are some other links about Lent:

The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence

The Holy Season of Lent -- The Stations of the Cross

[Suffering] His Pain Like Mine Lent and Fasting

Ash Wednesday

All About Lent

Kids and Holiness: Making Lent Meaningful to Children

Mardi Gras' Catholic Roots [Shrove Tuesday]

3 posted on 02/23/2004 10:59:49 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
I've never observed Lent traditionally. This will be my first real year in doing so. We will be giving up meat. This is going to be hard. I pray I have the grace to remember at all times what my little sacrifice represents.

OTOH, I briefly considered giving up rutabagas, but that didn't go over so well with the better half.
4 posted on 02/23/2004 11:27:23 PM PST by kenth (Got Hoof?)
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To: kenth
**OTOH, I briefly considered giving up rutabagas, but that didn't go over so well with the better half.**

The abstinence from meat is only mandatory on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. 7 days??

You can do it!
5 posted on 02/23/2004 11:38:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
One can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without God, who can eat or find enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends forty days later (minus Sundays) on Easter Sunday. The observation of Lent, for most people, includes periods of denial. In England until 1863 there was a law that eggs, meat, and milk not be eaten during this time and those who violated it could be fined or imprisoned. On Shrove or Fat Tuesday, families ate up all of the forbidden foods so that they would not go to waste. The most common way to use up the foods was to make special pancakes. In England, the pancake was such a popular dish another name for Shrove Tuesday was Pancake Day. Today our observance of Lent isn't as strict, but the components of fasting, reconciliation, and renewal are still present. A Shrove Tuesday Family Night could be a combination of a Pancake Dinner and a Mardi Gras Celebration in preparation for Lent.
6 posted on 02/23/2004 11:40:27 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
>> For most of us, pancakes are an unusual enough dinner food that our children will begin the conversation with, “Why Pancakes?” This should open the door to briefly explain or review the purpose of Lent. Make the points that Lent is a season that urges us to listen to what God is saying in our lives. It is a time of repentance and recommitment to God. It is our preparation to be Easter people.
>> Discussion (choose one or more options)
1. Have each family member share how they will prepare themselves during Lent for Easter.
2. Help each family member determine a way to prepare themselves during Lent for Easter.
3. Have the family determine a way you will prepare (as a unit) during Lent for Easter.
7 posted on 02/23/2004 11:43:03 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: kenth
You might consider these recipes!

Pancake Recipes:
Plain Mlyntsi (Griddle Cakes)
Ingredients:
· 1 cup flour
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon sugar
· 1 tablespoon melted butter
· 1 egg
· 3/4 cup milk
Directions:
· Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir them together well with a fork.
· Add the remaining ingredients and beat well with a manual or electirc beater until thoroughly blended.
· Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan, cast iron is best. Grease the pan lightly with a few drops of oil.
· Test the griddle with a few drops of cold water. The griddle is hot enough when the drops keep a globular shape and skitter across the pan. If the water spreads out, the pan is too cool. If they evaporate immediately, the pan is too hot, and the cakes will burn.
· Pour the batter into the pan with a small scoop or measuring cup to form cakes about 3 inches in diameter.
· Cook the cakes until bubbles break on the surface, flip them quickly and cook the other side.
· Do not turn more than once.
· Serve very hot with syrup, honey, or thick sour cream.


Oatmeal Apple Pancakes
Ingredients: (for 1 2/3 inch pancakes)
· 1 cup oatmeal
· 2 cup buttermilk, or sour milk (1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
· 2 egg
· 2 tablespoon oil
· 2 teaspoon salt
· 2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 cup flour
· 1 apple, chopped into small pieces
· 1 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired
Directions:
· Place the oatmeal and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Allow to soak for a few minutes.
· Add the egg and oil, and cinnamon if using. Stir well.
· Add the flour, salt and baking soda and stir until well blended.
· Heat a heavy frying pan. Grease lightly with oil.
· Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the pan with a small measuring cup.
· Bake the pancake until bubbles break on the surface, flip quickly and bake the other side. Make sure the pancakes are baked through.
· Keep the pancakes warm in a warm oven until all are done.
· Serve hot.


Potato Pancakes
Crisp and brown, these are great with sour cream or yogurt, bacon and applesauce. This year, I'm going to try cooking them in the waffle iron.
Ingredients: (for nine 3 1/2 inch pancakes)
· 3 medium potatoes
· 1 tablespoon flour
· 1 tablespoon cream
· 1 egg, beaten
· salt
· 4 tablespoons bacon fat or oil
Directions:
· Wash and grate the potatoes.
· Place the potatoes on a double thickness of paper towels, fold the towels around them and twist and squeeze until most of the moisture is removed.
· Unwrap the potatoes and dump them in a bowl.
· Add the flour, cream, egg, and salt and toss until mixed.
· Heat the fat or oil in a skillet.
· Put about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the pan.
· Press and shape the pancakes into a flat 3 1/2 inch cake. Repeat until pan is full but not crowded.
· Cook each pancake about 5 minutes over medium low heat until the bottom is crisp and brown.
· Turn and cook the other side for 5 minutes more.
· Keep warm in a 300* oven until all are ready. Serve.


8 posted on 02/24/2004 12:02:46 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Yesterday, Collop Monday, we had eggs and bacon. Today, Shrove Tuesday, we have lots of pancakes. Hmm. Hmm.

Getting ready to be shriven.
9 posted on 02/24/2004 3:54:32 AM PST by Smocker
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To: Salvation
Just curious. I remember my Catholic relatives and friends eating fish instead of meat on Fridays. Is fish considered a meat or is this something you could eat on Fridays during Lent?
10 posted on 02/24/2004 5:32:40 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: Salvation
Yummy, yummy!
11 posted on 02/24/2004 6:06:26 AM PST by tob2 (Old Fossil and proud of it!)
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To: Salvation
My K of C Council will be cooking thousands of pancakes tonight. We offer pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage, cinnamon raisin bisquits, grits, and fresh fruit. The Catholic Daughters of America will be on hand selling freshly baked desserts. It's definately Fat Tusday at our parish.
12 posted on 02/24/2004 6:07:38 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: HarleyD
No, Fish is allowed on Friday's during Lent and Ash Wednesday. Meat is generally limited to "land animals" and animals that can fly, though in some countries, chicken is allowed. But in the US, traditionally, all but fish is not allowed on Friday. Generally eating Fish is the standard Friday night fare, ala Friday Night Fish Fries.
13 posted on 02/24/2004 6:12:17 AM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: kenth
I remember very vividly when I was a member of a single's group at the church I attended in NYC. We would have a fund-raising drive during Lent and would donate the proceeds to lesser known charities. That was more meaningful to me than giving up foods, candy, smokes, etc.
14 posted on 02/24/2004 6:14:42 AM PST by tob2 (Old Fossil and proud of it!)
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To: NWU Army ROTC
Howsa bout Crawfish Fridays?
15 posted on 02/24/2004 6:15:30 AM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Sounds tasty.
16 posted on 02/24/2004 6:45:19 AM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: kenth
"I've never observed Lent traditionally. This will be my first real year in doing so. We will be giving up meat. This is going to be hard. I pray I have the grace to remember at all times what my little sacrifice represents."

That's quite a sacrifice! No meat at all for the next 40 days? The Church only asks us to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Good for you!

17 posted on 02/24/2004 7:28:32 AM PST by redhead (Note to the Dims: NEVER TRY TO MATCH WITS WITH AN IDIOT)
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To: HarleyD
Yes, you can eat fish, eggs, cheese, but no meat.

The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence

18 posted on 02/24/2004 7:41:50 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: redhead
The Church only asks us to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

That's what my wife said. She said if I wanted to observe Lent, I could do that. But, she will always pick one thing and abstain the entire 40 days, so I thought I would join her. Last year was sweets. I don't know how she does it.
19 posted on 02/24/2004 9:01:24 AM PST by kenth (Got Hoof?)
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To: Salvation
The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins

I'd never head of that before I came up North and our Parish began alternating hosting a Shrove Tuesday Dinner with a local Episcopal church. I'd always attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans, since we lived two hours from the city, but I'd never heard of the using up the eggs, oil and dairy products thing. We ate a lot of pancakes and dairy products during Lent, when I was growing up, because we didn't eat Meat on Fridays!

We had the Shrove Dinner last night at our Parish; Pancakes and Sausage or Jambalaya. It was VEY good!

20 posted on 02/25/2004 11:12:22 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
the bacon fat has always been out.

However, the cheese, dairy products and eggs are OK for Lent. I guess traditions have changed.
21 posted on 02/25/2004 2:57:06 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
the bacon fat has always been out.

LOL! I never thought about the fat being lard or animal fat! I always think of vegetable oil when thinking pancakes, but it's a fairly recent invention!

22 posted on 02/25/2004 9:37:33 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: All

BTTT in preparation for Lent 2005!


23 posted on 02/05/2005 11:58:50 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Lent starts tomorrow!


24 posted on 02/08/2005 7:02:42 PM PST by Ciexyz (I use the term Blue Cities, not Blue States. PA is red except for Philly, Pgh & Erie)
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To: Ciexyz

BTTT for Tuesday!


25 posted on 02/26/2006 9:23:14 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Cool, this thread is always a good read. Fish fries begin Wednesday! Yum, I can taste the delicious baked fish, baked potato or macaroni, cole slaw, rolls and dessert cup. I may even get a takeout of pierogies.


26 posted on 02/27/2006 12:30:24 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; Pyro7480; livius; ...

BTTT on Shrove Tuesday. Are all your sins shriven?


27 posted on 02/28/2006 7:30:46 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

We went vegetarian one year for Lent. It can be done. It also established better habits that continued long after Lent was over. :)


28 posted on 02/28/2006 7:33:09 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: kenth

Good for her. There are lots of "loopholes" in Lent if you look for them, but if you're going to go, IMO, you might as well go all the way.


29 posted on 02/28/2006 7:35:06 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: linda_22003

You have my respect there. I like fish too much. Don't know if I could do that.


30 posted on 02/28/2006 7:39:17 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
BTTT on Shrove Tuesday. Are all your sins shriven?

I really hate it when I shrove! ;oD

31 posted on 02/28/2006 7:39:23 AM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
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To: Salvation

I love meat and fish a great deal. A sacrifice isn't meaningful if it's not difficult. We lost weight (welcome), and our cholesterol went down (very welcome), even though we were using more cheese.


32 posted on 02/28/2006 7:41:37 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: linda_22003

You have some good incentives there!


33 posted on 02/28/2006 7:43:10 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: kstewskis

I hope this helps, since you don't seem to be familiar with the word. Here is the definition for "shrive", the verb form:

VERB: Inflected forms: shrove ( shrv) or shrived, shriv·en ( shrvn) or shrived, shriv·ing, shrives

TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To hear the confession of and give absolution to (a penitent). 2. To obtain absolution for (oneself) by confessing and doing penance.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: Archaic 1. To make or go to confession. 2. To hear confessions.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English schriven, from Old English scrfan, from Latin scrbere, to write. See skrbh- in Appendix I.


34 posted on 02/28/2006 7:44:06 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: Salvation

Not to mention my ability to convince and lead others, since my husband is Jewish. :-D


35 posted on 02/28/2006 7:45:21 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: drstevej
Howsa bout Crawfish Fridays?

Long time no see, howdy Dr. Steve!!

You betcha! Crawdads Friday, Fish Taco Friday, Sushi Friday...you name it!

36 posted on 02/28/2006 7:45:51 AM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
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To: linda_22003
Okay, I admit, the coffee hasn't kicked in today. Thanks for the def.

Let me rephrase my original statement:

"I really hate it when I have occasion where I must shrove!"

37 posted on 02/28/2006 7:49:04 AM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
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To: linda_22003

Thanks, Linda, for the definition!


38 posted on 02/28/2006 7:49:59 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: kstewskis

I don't mind confession; I just get embarrassed if I don't have anything juicy to report.


39 posted on 02/28/2006 7:50:13 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: linda_22003
LOL.

The priest at my former parish keeps a $100 bill in his pocket, and would show us it as ours to keep, if we really had anything juicy he's never heard.

To this day, he still has that $100 bill.

40 posted on 02/28/2006 7:53:31 AM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
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To: All
Here's another great thread on fasting!

Reclaiming roots – Catholics need to rediscover fasting, author says

41 posted on 02/28/2006 7:56:45 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence
42 posted on 02/28/2006 8:04:24 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Ciexyz
Yum, I can taste the delicious baked fish, baked potato or macaroni, cole slaw, rolls and dessert cup. I may even get a takeout of pierogies.

This is fasting?

43 posted on 02/28/2006 8:05:01 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: kstewskis
Long time no see, howdy Dr. Steve!!

Uh ... did you look at the date on his post? It's from 2004. Dr. Steve left FR last year.

44 posted on 02/28/2006 8:07:27 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer

Our Wednesday Night Faith Formation 101 classes for adults has a menu of
Soup
Bread
Beverage.

No dessert during Lent!


45 posted on 02/28/2006 8:07:44 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Meatless minestrone for us tomorrow...


46 posted on 02/28/2006 8:12:19 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Sounds good to me. What time is supper?


47 posted on 02/28/2006 8:13:22 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

After the CCD's Ash Wednesday mass at 5....

We eat a lot of that during Lent. I sort of feel we ought to restrict fun festive meals to Sundays during Lent, and I don't serve a lot of meat.


48 posted on 02/28/2006 8:16:58 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum
Here are some other recipes (at the bottom).

Catholic Culture

Preparing for Lent
No Lent is worthy of the name without a personal effort of self-reformation, of leading a life more in accordance with God's commands and an attempt by some kind of voluntary self-denial to make reparation for past negligence. But the Church, together with the personal effort which she requires of all of us, her children, sets up in the sight of God the cross of Christ, the Lamb of God who took upon Himself the sins of man and who is the price of our redemption. As Holy Week approaches the thought of the passion becomes increasingly predominant until it occupies our whole attention, but from the very beginning of Lent it is present, for it is in union with the sufferings of Christ that the whole army of Christians begins on the holy "forty days", setting out for Easter with the glad certitude of sharing in His resurrection.

"Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation." The Church puts Lent before us in the very same terms that formerly she put it before the catechumens and public penitents who were preparing for the Easter graces of baptism and sacramental reconciliation. For us, as it was for them, Lent should be a long retreat, one in which under the guidance of the Church we are led to the practice of a more perfect Christian life. She shows us the example of Christ and by fasting and penance associates us with his sufferings that we may have a share in His redemption.

We should remember that Lent is not an isolated personal affair of our own. The Church avails herself of the whole of the mystery of redemption. We belong to an immense concourse, a great body in which we are united to the whole of humanity which has been redeemed by Christ. The liturgy of this season does not fail to remind us of it.

This, then, is the meaning of Lent for us: a season of deepening spirituality in union with the whole Church which thus prepares to celebrate the Paschal mystery. Each year, following Christ its Head, the whole Christian people takes up with renewed effort its struggle against evil, against Satan and the sinful man that each one of us bears within himself, in order at Easter to draw new life from the very springs of divine life and to continue its progress towards heaven.

Excerpted from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.


Shrove Tuesday
Here are a few suggestions to help you celebrate the final day before Lent.

Recipes:
moreless

Activities:

Prayers:
moreless

49 posted on 02/28/2006 8:20:36 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
I never heard it called "Shrove Tuesday" until we moved to MA, and that was where I first learned about the pancake thing. It was always just Mardi Gras, when, growing up in MS, my Aunt used to take my sister and me along with her 7 kids to New Orleans every year. When we were younger, we'd go on Sunday, but when we were in high school, we started going on Fat Tuesday.

I think the first Mardi Gras parade in the US was held in Mobile, AL.

50 posted on 02/28/2006 8:40:53 AM PST by SuziQ
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