One of the main ways our family celebrates our Catholic faith outside of regularly attending Mass and reception of the sacraments is through the Saints. Throughout the year we use Saint feast days to help plan our meals. We plan ahead and look at which Saints our family has a specific devotion to or relationship with. We started simply, only choosing one or two each month, but now that we have been practicing this type of liturgical living, we have created traditions that our family enjoys celebrating year after year.
When my husband was going through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process and the time came for choosing a Saint for his confirmation name, he started looking into patron Saints of food and cooking. He has always found joy in cooking and hosting dinners, so finding a Saint to compliment one of his favorite hobbies felt like the right choice. Ultimately, he chose Saint Pascual (Feast Day, May 17th), but Saint Lawrence (Feast Day, August 10th) was a close runner-up.
History of St Lawrence
Saint Lawrence was a deacon in Rome under Pope Saint Sixtus II in the early church. His responsibilities included distributing money and goods to the poor, which he did even up to his martyrdom. His torturers put him on a grid-iron of hot coals. Despite the long and painful death St. Lawrence suffered, he used his witty sense of humor to stay centered on Christ. Legend states that even while he was suffering he chose to say, “I’m well-done on this side, turn me over” to his tormentors. This is how Saint Lawrence became the patron saint of not only the poor, cooks, but also comedians as well.
Dinner Catholic Style
For dinner for the feast day, we will be making grilled kabobs to remember how St. Lawrence was martyred. Kabobs offer you a lot of variety and choices when it comes to what you want to put on them. We usually use chicken thighs paired with cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, or peppers. Since St. Lawrence was from Rome, we will use the classic Italian flavors of lemon, garlic, and rosemary for our marinade. Italian dressing or a balsamic vinaigrette would be even easier and also delicious.. You can choose whichever kind of meat and veggies you prefer. Another addition to our kabobs is halloumi cheese. Because the cheese has a high melting point, it will not fall off the kabob skewer, but instead acquire great grill marks and will get nice and stretchy.
Add a Little Laughter
A fun activity that we have incorporated into our celebration comes from Kendra Tierney’s book “Catholic All Year Compendium”, which is to have each family member prepare a joke or two to share during dinner or dessert conversation. It can be a simple knock-knock joke or a classic dad joke. Since I work outside of the home as a dental hygienist my personal favorite is: Q:“What is the best time to visit the dentist?” A: Tooth Hurty (2:30).
Time for Dessert
We do not plan a dessert with every feast day, but the Feast of Saint Lawrence also happens to be National S’more Day! Clearly the Holy Spirit was at work showing off that God really does have a sense of humor. This is a great opportunity to get the kids involved in making these grilled marshmallow treats and letting them choose how they want to top theirs. In our family, we like to replace the usual chocolate bar with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. How charred the marshmallow gets is up to the person roasting, but we tend to prefer to avoid the suggestion from The Sandlot of “waiting until the mallow is flaming”, although that may have been how Saint Lawrence would have made his. Enjoy the Feast of Saint Lawrence and Saint Lawrence, pray for us!
If you are looking for more ways to bring the rich traditions of the Catholic Church's liturgical year into your family life, be sure to check out the Catholic All Year Compendium by Kendra Tierney (you can find it here with our other selection of books). If you have no idea what the liturgical year is, but want to bring your faith home from Sunday Mass—in every season, all year long—this is the book for you. These are a best seller and I know you'll love it.