Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feast of St. Joseph, Worker

Happy Feast of St. Joseph! Following are a beautiful reflection given by Pope Benedict, as well as a recipe for soft pretzels, a traditional Lenten recipe and a food sometimes associated with St. Joseph's feast day. Food for the soul and for the body - enjoy!
(both the reflection and the recipe were found here)

The silence of Saint Joseph is given a special emphasis. His silence is steeped in contemplation of the mystery of God in an attitude of total availability to divine desires. It is a silence thanks to which Joseph, in unison with Mary, watches over the Word of God, known through the Sacred Scriptures, continuously comparing it with the events of the life of Jesus; a silence woven of constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of the adoration of His holy will and of unreserved entrustment to his providence. It is no exaggeration to think that it was precisely from his "father" Joseph that Jesus learned -- at the human level -- that steadfast interiority which is a presupposition of authentic justice.... Let us allow ourselves to be "filled" with Saint Joseph's silence! In a world that is often too noisy, that encourages neither recollection nor listening to God's voice.
Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, December 18, 2005

The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns. Because the pretzel is shaped like arms folded in prayer, the German tribes who invaded Rome called the bracellæ "brezel'" or "prezel". Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day [March 19] which usually falls within Lent. A recipe for soft pretzels follows:

Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup warm water
1 package (1 1 1/2 T) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar

Add and beat at least 3 minutes:
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness.

Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F.

In a large non aluminum saucepan, prepare a boiling solution of
4 cups water
5 tsp baking soda

With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6 inch pretzels)


JesusThroughMary said...

Point of order:

Today St. Joseph is honored as the husband of the Blessed Virgin. The feast of St. Joseph the Worker is May 1 and is a much lower-ranking feast.

Thank you for posting the meditation offered by the Holy Father (who should be remembered in a special way due to his status as the "foster father" of all the faithful and due to his name being Joseph).

Juris Mater said...

Kat, thank you for this post. What a marvelous feast day today! I'm sure we all have a story about beloved St. Joseph's intercession. We've been celebrating all day, with foods much less Lenten than pretzels : ). One day I'd like to celebrate this feast day in Italy!

As for the rest of Lent, Kat, this pretzel recipe looks wonderful. I've been wondering in the back of my mind for quite some time now about how to make a good homemade pretzel. Maybe I'll perfect the recipe now so we can add cinnamon and sugar to them after Easter : )

Joanne said...

Thanks for the recipe - I have gestational diabetes right now, but I am going to try them after my babe is born, WITH the cinnamon and sugar suggested! St. Joseph's Day is also my birthday and one of my favorite feast days. We gave our first son the middle name of Joseph, and I ask for his intercession weekly in helping me parent said son! :)