Thursday, April 02, 2009

Feast Day: JP2's anniversary

Today is the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul the Great's death ... four years ago today I was pregnant with my 6th child (and miscarried on the day Pope Benedict was elected). I can still remember listening and crying as I heard the stories about the Pope dying as he's always been such a large part of my life. It was Fall of my Senior year of high school when he was elected ... we are of Polish descent and this was a BIG deal to have a Polish pope!

I can remember in 1981, walking back from lunch in college and hearing the report that the Pope was shot ... we cried and headed to the campus chapel.

I can remember in 2000, going to Rome for the first time and seeing St. Peter's. LegoManiac was just over a year and String Bean was in the stroller -- you should have seen us going thru security! Oy vey! But then being right there when the Popemobile came thru and JP2 was steps away from us ... the long wait in the hot sun was well worth it!

I can remember in 2003, months before we left Austria with dh and his masters, we got to go see the Pope and a surprise "private audience" with all but Brikhead getting a personal blessing. Our own Bam-Bam, all of 4 months old, got a blessing that I'll never forget -- thank goodness for professional photographers taking pictures as there's no way I was calm enough to take pictures!

And I remember the Saturday afternoon when we heard the Pope died.....

Today, we celebrate that JPtheGreat is most probably up in Heaven helping us out and playing soccer with my dad. We had a Polish day: books, movies and food. Tonight, I made Pierogi for the first time ever (recipe below) and Babka (Polish Easter Cake) ... both were well-received by the family and the Babka will definitely become a staple for celebrating JP2 as his anniversary will always occur during Lent or Easter!

Here are the resources we used for our JP2 Day:
Books –
For the Children: Words of Love and Inspiration from His Holiness Pope John Paul II – great book for copywork quotes that JP2 spoke or wrote specifically to children throughout his pontificate. Great photos of the Pope with children from all over the world.

Karol from Poland: The Life of Pope John Paul II for Children (M. Leonora Wilson, FSP) – written just at the change of the millennium, this book walks children through the Pope’s life from birth up to his 22nd year as Holy Father. The illustrations are a bit simpy, but the text is readable and quite good.

Life Commemorative: Pope John Paul II – a wonderful “photo album” to the Pontiff’s life from birth to death. Wonderful to see formal and informal pictures of the man who led the Catholic Church out of some pretty tough times.

Pope John Paul II (Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv) – a small picture book that leads the reader gently through the Pope’s amazing life right up until his death in 2005. The emphasis in this short book is the love JP held for all children, as well as his devotion to serving God.

Pope John Paul II: Comic Book – although this is labeled a comic book, the details and information covered in this book are wonderful! The books covers his life from Wadowice to Krakow and on to Rome. The original has been revised to include his death in 2005.

Videos –
The Jeweller’s Shop – a video dramatization of JP2’s play that seems to be semi-autobiographical as a young priest helps his young friends through engagement to marriage and through marital problems to fully experiencing the sacramental bond of a true marriage. Wonderful cast including Ben Cross and Olivia Hussey.

Pope John Paul II – a movie about the Pontiff’s amazing life. This is my kids’ favorite movie (and we have to limit viewing to only once or twice a year!). Cary Elwes (Wesley from Princess Bride ) plays a wonderful younger Karol while Jon Voight does a phenomenal job as the aging and Parkinson-ridden pope. Ben Gazzara, Christopher Lee and James Cromwell (Hoggett in Babe) round out the cast in this wonderful movie.

Witness to Hope – a movie summarizing George Weigel’s ground-breaking work about the Holy Father and his life. Excellent summary, especially if you don’t have time to read the rather heavy tome.

We also did some Math real living books -- after all, JP2 was a very learned man (so much so that Polish jokes even ceased once he gave his first audience!) -- and had a lot of fun reading Cindy Neuschwander's Sir Cumference books:
Neuschwander, Cindy – Sir Cumference and the First Round Table: A Math Adventure – tells the tale of how to create other regular shapes from a rectangle as well as a description of diameter, radius and circumference.
Neuschwander, Cindy – Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure – tells the tale of Pi and proves the measurement is always 3.14159…...
Neuschwander, Cindy – Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland: A Math Adventure – tells the tale of how to measure angles and describes acute, right, obtuse and straight angles.
Neuschwander, Cindy – Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone: A Math Adventure – tells the tale of how to create other regular shapes from a rectangle as well as a description of diameter, radius and Euler’s Law that says that any straight-sided, solid shape that, if the numbers of faces on a solid is added to the number of points (or vertices), then subtracted from the number of its edges, the answer will ALWAYS be two – works for every polyhedron.
Neuschwander, Cindy – Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter: A Math Adventure – tells the tale of Per and her cousin Radius and their discovery that an area of a circle equals half the circumference times the radius (also, area = pi x radius-squared).

What a great day!

3 cups flour
2 egg yolks
1 tbs oil
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and begin to knead/mix it together. When you've gotten it all to stick together in a ball you can remove it from the bowl and begin to knead it on a clean surface. It may still seem to stick to your hands and the counter but don't worry. After ten minutes or so of kneading it the dough should be smooth and only a little tacky. Put it back in the bowl and cover with a damp (not wet) towel until your ready to use the dough.

Cut your dough in half. Place half back in the bowl and recover. Roll pieces into flat circles (altho there is no great art to this!). Fill with a filling (see below for the potato mix) -- about a tbls or so -- and then fold them over and pinch them together. Make sure that they are completely sealed all the way around. Boil these in a pot of water with a little oil added to it. I recommend only boiling about five or six at a time so they don't end up sticking together. It will only take about 5min before they float to the top. Remove them from the water and place on a baking rack to cool and dry. You can go ahead and eat them at this stage. Or you can fry them
in a pan with butter or even bake them at 325 for about 30 minutes or till "toasted".

Filling: Potato and Cheese
4-5 potatoes
1 onion
1 8 oz package of “cream cheese”
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 pound of bacon
Peel cut and boil your potatoes until done and drain. In a separate frying pan fry bacon till crispy. Drain bacon slices, reserving grease to fry onions. Add your onions and bacon fat to the potatoes and begin to mash them. Slowly add the cream-cheese, cheddar to the mixture. Add bacon pieces (broken to small pieces) and then set aside to cool. Place a tbls or so in each Pierogi. If extra potatoes, add a bit of milk and maybe a bit more butter and whip together -- serve mashed potatoes with the pierogi or save for another day.

BABKA (Polish Easter Cake – babka = grandmother)

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1 tbls grated orange peel
1 tbls cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1-3/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tbsl finely ground bread crumbs (for dusting pan)

Glaze: 1/8 cup warm orange juice + 1 cup powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, orange peel, cornstarch and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Gradually add flour mixture, vanilla, 1/4 cup of oj. Mix thoroughly. Stir in raisins.

Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan and dust with bread crumbs. Pour in batter. Bake in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until done. Cool 10 minutes in pan and than place on a rack. Make glaze by combining ingredients. Poke holes in top of slightly cooled cake and spoon glaze over top. Cool completely on a wire rack.

From: Kathy Cutler’s Holiday Dessert Book
Remember the words of John Paul the GREAT: BE NOT AFRAID!

1 comment:

Juli said...

I miscarried with our fourth child, four days after Pope John Paul II died. How strange. Lots of Saints going to heaven that April.