Mardi Gras: The Food before Fasting

It’s the Tuesday before Lent which means it is Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras translates to Fat Tuesday. It’s the day we use up all of the fatty, sugary foods prior to the first day of Lent. For the next 40 days, we try our best to stay away from rich foods and to fast whenever possible. Different regions of the world have different ways to use up all of their fattening foods. Parish Giving wanted to share some of theirs!

Fastnacht

This is Jill’s way to celebrate Fat Tuesday! It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition which is a German word that means “Fasting Night”. What you are supposed to do is eat as much rich and delicious foods as you possibly can before the Lenten fast. Today we have Fastnacht donuts in which we enjoy. There are three different kinds:

    -Fastnachts made with baking powder

    -Fastnachts with yeast

    -Fastnachts with potato and yeast

No matter how you make these delicious donuts, they all contain butter or lard, flour, powder sugar and are deep fried. Some contain jelly or cream in the middle. Either way, they are delicious and melt in your mouth! You can see why Jill enjoys this tradition every year!

King Cakes

The traditional King Cake is usually eaten during Epiphany, but now is also seen during Mardi Gras! For Fat Tuesday, the cake is typically made of brioche colored with traditional Mardi Gras colors such as green, yellow and purple. The colors are seen in the cake and in the icing.

What makes King Cakes special is the figurine that is baked inside of it. The porcelain figurine represents Jesus, and the person who has him in their slice is responsible for next year’s cake! The lucky few who have the Jesus figurine can also be seen as the King or Queen of the party! I think I like that tradition better!

Shrove Tuesday

This is how I celebrate Fat Tuesday! For dinner, my family always celebrates with a big stack of pancakes, butter and plenty of maple syrup! We usually have bacon or sausage with it too!

Shrove Tuesday is derived from Shrovetide, which is a biblical term for the last day of the liturgical season. The eating of pancakes on this day has dated back to the 16th Century for British Christians. Many churches still ring the Shriving Bell (Church bells) to sound when people should begin frying their pancakes.

We’d love to hear how you and your family celebrate Mardi Gras each year! Fat Tuesday has so many different traditions all around the world!     

What to Give Up for Lent

Lent is the time of year in the church in which we reflect and prepare for Easter. We are asked to give up something that means a lot to us for 40 days as a way to represent Jesus’s sacrifice during his journey through the desert for that amount of time. Some people give up chocolate or other delicious treats, but what about giving up things that are not as traditional? Here are some items you could be giving up during Lent rather than just meat on Friday’s.

Caffeinated beverages

Whether it is coffee, tea, or soda, the common factor is that they all contain that lovely chemical caffeine that we use to wake up in the morning. You just have to put it in the big picture – what is 40 days in comparison to the other 325 days of the year? Absolutely nothing. Why not try a nice herbal tea or green juice instead? They tend to give me a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon when I notice myself nodding off.

Items from your closet

I recently read an article online explaining how we should take an item from our closet each day during Lent, and at the end of the 40 days donate it to Goodwill. This could be anything from clothing you never wear, shoes that are no longer your style, or accessories/bags that you never use anymore. There are plenty of people out there who would love and appreciate your unused items. It’s a win-win for both!

Smartphone

Now I’m not saying to give up your iPhone, but perhaps give up the “smart” part of your phone. That is the part we are most addicted to. Has anyone emailed me about my resume? Did you see the latest cat video on YouTube? Use your phone for what it was meant for – to call people!

Paper Waste

I tease my colleague that she is a “tree killer” because she uses the office printer constantly! Don’t worry – she knows it’s a joke! But one thing you can do is waste less paper and make an impact on the environment. Parish Giving can help with that! Save your church envelope and paper check, and sign up for e-giving instead.

Parish Giving also has graphics to put in your weekly church bulletin to advertise your parish’s e-giving program. That means you no longer have to contact us, ask for a certain amount of inserts, wait for them to be delivered in a cardboard box, and hand them out to parishioners. Now you can just paste it into your bulletin and not use any extra paper!

Remember that Lent is a time to sacrifice and accomplish something you didn’t know you could. These are just some examples of what you can give up. Just try to commit to something for 40 days and see what you can accomplish!

Preparing for Lent

Waking up this morning and I could smell spring trying to emerge. The birds are out chirping, but the weatherman is still predicting another snow storm. March is on the verge of arriving, but we are still stuck in February. This does mean that Lent is around the corner and we should begin to prepare for it. The only thing is how do we prepare for Lent? Well, I have come up with a couple of ways in which we should begin to prepare for the Easter season.

What does my heart and soul need?

This is a question I ask myself daily. All of our hearts and souls need to be nourished differently. For some, it may be daily meditation, and for others, it may be quietly listening. Either way, it should be able to help us focus on the Lenten message. This year’s message is about heart and soul. Pope Francis reminds us that the other person is a gift, sin blinds us, and the Word is a gift. Keep this in mind when you are listening to your heart and soul.

What about my life makes me happy?

We all have things in our lives that make us unhappy. Why don’t we for once focus on what makes us happy? For instance, we should be happy to have our health, a roof over our head and food on the table. There are plenty of people who would love to have one of the items mentioned. Find something about your life that makes you happy and focus on it. Not only will it make your day better, but the positivity can be contagious.

Stop and listen.

This brings all of the Lenten preparation together. Think about what Pope Francis told us about in his message: Lent is a new beginning… and you should be using it to deepen your faith and friendship with Jesus. He is our gift, helps us refrain from sin, and we should live His word.

The best way to Stop and Listen is to attend mass during Lent with a renewed thirst for Jesus. You are being led on how to love and listen which is what the season is all about. Remember, the most important thing is to attend mass, and you are able to give your offering online with Parish Giving. You just worry about listening and worry less about checks, envelopes, and cash. We can take care of that for you.