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Seven Quick Takes: Easter Traditions

Our forty days in the dessert are almost complete – today is Good Friday.  And while most of the Quick Takes this week will feature various Easter traditions embraced by members of Catholic Sistas I am beginning with an Easter tradition that our family has been using for almost 18 years and begins on Good Friday.

Quick Take One: The Easter Tree

On Good Friday we prepare a “dead” tree to plant. Typically we gather several large dead branches and place them in a container that is filled with rocks or bricks – something heavy. We explain to the children that the tree represents Jesus’s death as the tree is currently without life. Then Saturday night after the Vigil angels descend and decorate the tree bringing it back to life. We use live blossoms and leaves unless the time of year we are celebrating Easter is not providing us with sufficient blossoms we use store bought silk flowers. Regardless of what type of flower we use, we also need florists tape which I typically purchase at our local dollar store.We also use pretty ribbons that we tape to candy eggs and drap from the branches. On Easter morning the children get to see a beautiful tree that has come to life – representing Jesus’s resurrection and enjoy the sweet treats of the newly alive tree.

 

Easter tree 2006

 

Blog easter tree risen

 

Quick Take Two:  Some favorite recipes shared by our Ink Slingers:

 

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bacon-mashed-potatoes-81

Click on any of the pictures to get to the recipes.

Quick Take Three: another recipe but with a story!

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This recipe is used to create a visual account of Jesus’s resurrection! (Click on picture)

or You can make Easter Story Cookies:

Meringue-cookies

Quick Take Four: Add a new twist to your Easter Egg hunt this year

cascarones

Cascarones (Eggs with Confetti)

(Click on picture for directions.)

But if thats just too much work for you this year – you can add an egg with the word Alleluia in it or on it. The child who finds it, as part of the egg hunt, wins a special prize!

Quick Take Five: More eggs with special meanings!

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In various Eastern Rites it’s common to celebrate Easter with red eggs and here’s why. Often, they are also used in a game called tsougrisma by Greeks. (One year we attended a Byzantine Easter celebration and they too played this game! The kids had a blast!)  Click here to read about how its played and find some links to some great greek recipes as a bonus.

Quick Take Six: Resurrection Eggs 

EasterStory

One Catholic Sistas’ family shared that they love to add Resurrection Eggs to their Easter celebrations and, at one time, had their own hand version of these eggs. Over time parts of their eggs were lost so they bought a version of this online.

Quick Take Seven: Easter Breads

So many wonderful options for celebrating with delicious and symbolic breads. (I’m sorry at this time I have not found gluten free versions of these. Please feel free to leave links to gluten free options you love in the comments section!)

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Paska Breads above and below. (Click on pictures to get to baking instructions)

easter polish bread

hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns (Again click on the picture….)

So now I have your mouth watering and it’s Good Friday too! I’d apologize but it’s still Lent so I’m just going to tell you to offer it up and get baking!

See  you next month and I can’t leave any hints as to what its gonna be about because it’s a surprise. (For you and me both!) Thanks again to  This Ain’t the Lyceum  for hosting the Quick Takes Seven and be sure to mosey on over and check out who’s over there this week.

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Apologetics Charla Ecumenism Evangelization Mary Mass Sacraments

A Letter to my Christian Friends

I am a Cradle Catholic. From the moment I was conceived, I was meant to be Catholic and I feel very fortunate because of this. Having said this, I now choose to be Catholic. However, some of my very best friends are not Catholic, but they are some of the best Christians I know. They carry the light of Christ in all aspects of their lives and I love them deeply. Sometimes I wonder if they question why I choose to be Catholic. I could answer this question very easily, but I will start out with how alike we all are instead.

To my Christian friends,

I think of Christianity as a common bond we share: we pray to the same God, we believe Christ is the Son of God, and we all believe in seeking Goodness. These are important unifying factors in our struggle in this life, but here are even more things that make us joined as Christians:

The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. What we all believe as Christians was begun in Catholicism. There may have been a parting of ways at certain points in history, but we all agree that our faith began in Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection.

I do read the Bible. Catholics do read the Bible, and the Bible holds wisdom for all of us, as it is the Word of God.

We experience prayer through meditation, through song, through nature, and through silence—just like you do. We all are Christians, inclined to pray in these ways.

We too can be so excited about our faith in Christ that we want to share it with everyone. We do evangelize and we all can be on fire for Christ.

These similarities are significant.

Now, most Catholics are not judgmental about your Christian faith. We are all trying to get to the same goal—unity with Christ. A lot of Catholics do not know the ins and outs of their own faith, so when they are told they are wrong by some of you Evangelical Christians, they have no idea what to say. Believe me, the Catholic faith can be justified, asi t has been since its inception by Christ Himself over 2,000 years ago. We know what we are talking about. Please do not tell us we are wrong nor try to tell us just what we believe, ie: I promise, we do not worship the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Now, this is why I am Catholic:

The Sacraments are physical, outward signs of our faith and we can celebrate these daily, weekly, or once in a lifetime. The celebrations themselves are part of our culture as Catholics. I love the excitement of Baptism as we bring our babies into our community as well as watching children donned in white dresses and suits at First Holy Communion. There is nothing so cathartic as confessing our sins so that we acknowledge our failures and need for Christ out loud, and being forgiven in the same way, out loud. When our young people are confirmed in our Church it too is a celebration acknowledging their ability to remain faithful to our Church. A Catholic wedding is beautiful and romantic; we believe two people can fall in love and stay in love. We believe that a man can remain so devoted to Christ and our community that he can commit to poverty, obedience, and chastity when he receives Holy Orders. There is a beautiful sense of closure and true celebration of life when our dying loved ones receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

The Catholic Church is never changing. I know this might frustrate some, but I love the fact that the Church does not assimilate to the world and does not bend to society’s will, therefore I feel secure and led in the right direction.

I also love that since it is the Church begun by Christ Himself, no man has come along and changed things at will. Our beliefs have remained the same. We don’t have to adhere to multiple interpretations of our faith or of our Scriptures, which is confusing and much too subjective. We also adhere to one interpretation of the Bible; the idea of individual interpretation is dangerous and the risk of passages taken out of context and changed to suit the taste of an individual instead of the interests of the whole is something that makes me uneasy.

Tradition goes along with the Church’s consistency and longevity. I can go to any Catholic Mass anywhere and it will be the same; that leaves me feeling secure. The more I learn about the Mass, the more I love and revere it, the more celebratory it becomes.

I find the Church to be extremely good to women. I know it sounds contrary to what you hear, but the respect for the Blessed Mother reverberates into reverence for women in general. The Church is not oppressive; it is reverent.

I asked about some teenagers what they loved most about being Catholic. Here is what they said:

  • · “I am proud that I follow a tradition in which I am lead by a Holy Father—the Pope—and that I am a follower of the first Church of Christ.”
  • · I love being Catholic because my religion gives me the Sacrament and those Sacraments let me be closer to God.”
  • · “I always know someone loves me– no matter what.”
  • · “I love parties after someone’s First Communion.”
  • · “I like that no matter what happens, I will be always loved and forgiven and that God will always be there for me.”
  • · “I like going to Communion and Confession and getting ready for Mass and going to Mass.”
  • · “My faith is a community.”
  • · “I love the Sacraments, and I am very excited about being Confirmed.”
  • “I love the feeling of safety after praying to God.”
    • · “All the Sacraments we experience are of such great significance as part of God’s plan and family.”
    • · “I love being Catholic because there are many celebrations and it is fun.”

So, you see, Catholics, if they are truly Catholic, Catholics LOVE being Catholic.

Love,

Your Sister in Christ