Honoring Mary in the Home: Family Night at the Movies


Inviting the Virgin Mary into the daily life of the home during May is a lovely thing to do. And, there are many ways to do it. In our house, one focus is the mantle of the faux fireplace which almost always functions as our home altar.

As of May 1, it’s been decked out with small pieces of art and statuary which are treasured presents from family and friends over the years. Two I really enjoy giving pride of place to during this month are a lovely Wedgewood bust of Mary in a very contemplative pose from great friend Juta Nolan and a small piece of stone from the Holy Land emblazoned with a carving of the Holy Family that was a Christmas present from Joe Serrada a long time Mass buddy at St. Peter Parish, Point Pleasant Beach.

A small, graceful contemporary icon of Mary cuddling her infant son surrounded by flowers and candles completes the tableaux.

Since we’re such a movie conscious group of family and friends, we also really enjoy celebrating Mary in the home with a movie night that translates to an annual visit with one of our all time favorites — “The Song of Bernadette” — the 1943, multi-Academy Award winning classic film that more than stands the cinematic test of time.

It tells the story of St. Bernadette Soubirous, who, from February to July, 1858, in Lourdes, Frances, received 18 visions of the Blessed Virgin who directed her, in the face of ridicule and opposition, to dig a hole in the ground that would become the miraculous, healing spring which has drawn millions to the grotto over the centuries.

The movie is widely available on the Internet and at public libraries. It stars the luminous Jennifer Jones as Bernadette – a who won the best actress Oscar in the role and a very young and lovely Linda Darnell as “The Lady” the Virgin Mary

For more information, go to http://www.answers.com/topic/the-song-of-bernadette

Another fine movie which stands the test of time is “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima” which came out in 1952 and was also Oscar nominated. It starred largely little known actors and actresses in the roles of the three young visionaries and featured Gilbert Roland, a major movie star in those days as an enigmatic (and fictional) characater named Hugo who rediscovers his faith in God through the Miracle of Fatima.

“The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima” is widely available on the Internet and can sometimes be found at public libraries.

Enjoying these movies with some inspirational popcorn recipes can make the night even more special.

Valerie DiGiacomo, fellow faithful foodie and Monitor staff member, shared her family recipe for “Italian Popcorn” with co-workers this morning who gave it a unanimous thumbs up.

Valerie’s Italian Popcorn

½ cup olive oil

1 cup un-popped popcorn

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons of dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon of salt

Dried red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

8 quart pot with lid and 2 potholders

Directions: start with an 8 quart pot, on medium heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 4 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes (optional), 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Leave on medium heat for about 3 minutes so that all ingredients fuse together. Make sure that the garlic doesn’t burn. If the garlic starts to get brown remove pot from heat, let sit on for the rest of time off heat, to fuse with out burning.

 Put pot back on heat and add 1 cup of popcorn. Stir popcorn to cover totally with oil. Put lid on pot. Wait till you hear the popcorn start to pop rapidly, about 1 ½ minutes. Lower the heat to low/medium.  Take care not to keep the heat to high as this will cause the corn to burn. Using potholders lift pot about 3 inches above heat. Holding it till popping slows down. Shake pot to bring kernels to bottom. Lower pot towards heat till popping becomes rapid again. Repeat until popping slows down when close to heat, about 4 minutes. This will almost fill the pot to the top.

 Pour into large bowl. While still hot, drizzle with olive oil. Immediately add 2 table spoons of grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, salt to taste and mix. Then enjoy!

 TIPS: I use two large bowls and pour from one to the other to mix it up.

Can be made a day in advance, just let sit in bowl to totally cool then cover tightly and keep on cool dry place. Then shake redistribute seasoning, and serve. Great for movie night or as a party starter.

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