Celebrating the Beatification of Pope John Paul II with family and friends

John Batkowski photo

This weekend, we’ll be joining Catholic faithful the world over who can, with the flick of a remote control, join in in celebrating the Beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome. Family and friends will be stopping by to join in the prayerful event and follow up by sharing foods and conversation in honor of his wonderful legacy.

We were talking about the wonder of it all this afternoon over lunch in the Pastoral Center and speculating that this would probably be the most watched beatification of any saint in history.

Being very, very minor cogs in that kind of historic wheel as a member of the international audience is a thrill in itself.

Since the arrival of Catholic cable television stations, such festive and faithfilled international events have become woven into the celebratory landscape of our home and its immediate surrounds. We’ll by flying the Papal Colors from our flag stand this weekend and tuning into as much of the coverage as we can.

For the most recent coverage of the Trenton diocesan Mass in St. Hedwig Church, Trenton, to commemorate beatification, visit http://www.trentonmonitor.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=22&ArticleID=2305

Find the Beatification and related program schedules at http://www.telecaretv.org/ViewArticle.dbml?SPID=80195&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205142684&DB_OEM_ID=24700

and http://www.ewtn.com/JohnPaul2/beatification/coverage.asp

As has become traditional in our house, we’ll also be preparing a menu in honor of the occasion including a treasured borscht recipe which I’ve nurtured over the years til it hit just the right note in the taste department. Add some small Polish soup dumplings stuffed with mushrooms and you’ll be in heaven. You can find them at the growing number of Polish markets around the diocese.

Turn to this tempting little link on “How to Eat Pierogies” from eHow.com. Find it at www.ehow.com/how_2083110_eatpierogies.html and quickly learn everything from the basic cooking methods to various toppings they can be served with. It’s a dandy how-to that turns serving pierogies into more fun than usual.

Photo courtesy of Catholic Corner

For a Catholic Corner TV show with host Msgr. Walter Nolan and special guest Kasia Pawka, principal of the Polish Supplementary School in Lakewood on celebrating the life of Blessed John Paul II in the home, I prepared pierogies, borscht and, of course, kielbasa. The show will begin airing May 8 on local cable channels.

The method for preparing the kielbasa was the result of consulting with a number of serious consumers of the sausage including my brother, Pete, and Kirby Walls, husband of best friend Linda, who has developed his own way of cooking it over the years.

Kielbasa ala Kirby and Pete

Place about 2 lbs. fresh Polish sausage in pot and prick here and there with a toothpick so that the sausages don’t burst in the cooking. Add enough chicken broth to cover, plus 1, large, quartered onion, several peppercorns, two large, sliced carrots, 1 teaspoon marjoram and a pinch of sage.

Cover and simmer on very low heat about 30-50 minutes, or until the kielbasa is tender. Serve with boiled potatoes and crusty rye bread, mustard, and, if you wish, repared horseradish.

Auntie Lo’s Borscht

Ingredients: 1 package of Polish mushroom soup dumplings, cooked according to directions and set aside; 4 cups of beets, canned or cooked and peeled, and sliced thin; 1 large, sweet onion, sliced thin, 4 cups of beef broth; 1 tsp. vinegar; 1 tsp. dill weed; sour cream as desired.

Directions: cook the beets and onion thoroughly in the broth until soft; add vinegar; remove from heat and use a regular potato masher to crush the beets and onions or puree in a blender if desired in small batches. Return to heat and add as many of the dumplings as desired, warm through thoroughly and remove from heat. Serve the borscht topped with as much sour cream as desired, and sprinkled with dill.


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