Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Tomorrow is the feast of the Exaltation (or Triumph) of the Holy Cross. The church has celebrated this feast ever since September 14, 326, the day that Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, miraculously discovered the cross while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

In one of my favorite Catholic cookbooks, A Continual Feast, the author tells us that "This holy day is one of strict fasting among the Eastern Orthodox. In Greece, the priest distributes sprigs of sweet basil to his congregation, because tradition says that basil grew all over the hillside where Helena discovered the cross. "

The author, Evelyn Vitz, goes on to suggest a recipe for Pesto (a wonderful sauce for pasta made with fresh basil) since, "With this dish you can keep the spirit of the day as one of abstinence from meat and still serve something delicious and symbolic."

Although I don't have a garden, we do have a wonderful local Grower's Market. This morning I was able to pick up a couple bunches of fresh basil and some beautiful tomatoes, among other things. When I arrived home (my twin sisters babysat the kids!) my oldest son said, "Mom, you smell like pasta!" :) Don't you just love the smell of fresh basil? I do!

I had planned to spend the afternoon (after Mass) at home painting wooden crosses with my children and then having a nice Pesto dinner as a family, but plans changed. The good thing is, the fire that my hubby is on, is relatively close to home. Not only is it in the same state in which we live, it is in the same county, less than an hour away! So, the kids and I are headed that direction to meet up with my hubby for Mass in the morning (he will have just gotten off the night shift, poor guy!) and then we will head to a nearby park for a picnic lunch. Yeah!! We will get to see him and it will have only been two days since he was dispatched! (This NEVER happens!! Thank you all for your prayers!!!!)

In preparation, earlier this afternoon the girls and I baked some cross shaped cookies. They were very simple. (I am ALL about simplifying things right now, with my hubby gone!) We used a roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough, a Cross Shaped Cookie Cutter, and some milk chocolate wood colored frosting.

We will still have Pesto pasta, though I will be serving it cold instead of hot. I am also packing a couple Baguettes, a jar of Bruschetta sauce, and a Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad.

Before prayers and bedtime, in anticipation of the feast, I let the children stay up and watch The Legend of the Three Trees. I couldn't help taking a picture of all five of our little ones on the floor, enjoying the movie together.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!

We adore You, O Christ, and praise You,
Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.


  1. I adore that picture of the kids laid out. Sigh, I would love to hang out there with them!!

  2. Sounds like a great day!! I'm so glad you get to see your husband!

    The cookies look very good, and tempting with that chocolate on top!!

    We are making pesto noodles, but using a packet instead of homemade!!

  3. You are amazing! I love your little St. Helen figure, and everything looks so delicious.

    I have to agree with you about the basil. Today was the first time I've ever baked using fresh basil, and I'm never going back!! MMM, the whole house still smells wonderful!

  4. You are something else--If I were to cut back and make things easy on myself, I would have bought a pack of oreos!

    You are super planner!!! (and doer!)

  5. What great plans you have for this special day! I love all of your ideas!

  6. Love the plans - love the St. Helena!

  7. Wonderful! Such great ideas for the feastday! You're in my file now for nex year! &:o)

  8. looks like you all had a great day!
    I will have to try those noodles.

    Your wooden Saint figures are so darling, you are doing a great job with them!


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