Fave Bean And Chick Pea Salad

Here is a fast, easy, healthful and delicious meal:

1 can fava beans

1 can chick peas

1 bunch parsley

1 pickling cucumber (or 1/2 of a regular cuke)

Juice of 1 lemon

Cumin, salt and olive oil to taste

Rinse and drain the beans and then put them into a bowl.  Chop up the cucumber and parsley and toss them in.  Add the lemon juice, salt and cumin, and drizzle in olive oil.  Toss thoroughly and serve, or chill if desired for a a colder dish.  I made this tonight for Prez to take to work tomorrow, but if personal interaction is not a concern you can throw in a chopped red onion and garlic.

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March 30th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Mr Potato Head Sans Pipe

Vaia recently hit a major American childhood milestone – she received a Mr. Potato Head toy.  I myself had one of these, and for all I know my ‘rents still have it in the attic.  Although I have fond memories of this toy, I think of it more for something that happened long after I stopped playing with it.  When I was a freshman in high school there was a small item in the paper about how Mr. Potato Head was losing his pipe to discourage kids from smoking.  The Wiki article, which is excellent – who knew MPH was the first toy marketed on TV directly to kids rather than their parents? – says the pipe went when he became the spokesman for the Great American Smokeout (celebrated each year when I was at the seminary by my friends and me,  joined by sympathetic faculty, mirthfully puffing on cigars).  I remember that this struck me as ridiculous at the time, and it still does – who wants to smoke a pipe because Mr. Potato Head does?  At the same time a sister who taught at my high school started a campaign to change the team nickname from Red Raiders because it was “offensive”.  The campaign fizzled quickly and she was, for whatever reason, teaching elsewhere the next year.  These two episodes were my first introduction to the culture of political correctness.  Long live Mr Potato Head and his pipe!

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March 29th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

The ‘Alawis In Syria

This is a great read on the story of the ‘Alawis, the religious minority which rules Syria.  Syria is the latest Near/Middle Eastern country to be in the news with protests against the government.  As was, it can be argued, the case in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the rulers in Syria are fairly protective of the Christian minority there; if they fall, all bets are off, no doubt.  This is not an angle that dominates much of the news right now but it is something we need to follow.

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March 28th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Sunday

We had a long, busy and fun Sunday today at the Cathedral, with, in addition to the usual orthros and liturgy, the procession for the Elevation of the Cross as well as the traditional March 25 doxology with the Greek School students.  There were also several mercy meals, a surprise 50th birthday party, and later in the afternoon the Greek School’s Annunciation/Greek Independence Day program.

We had 5 priests in the altar along with 16 altar boys and 2 seminarians, so things were rather crowded.  We ran out of daffodils to give out but fortunately were able to cannibalize the altar flowers and some lucky people at the end of the line received white roses.  Fr. Dean also acknowledged several guests.  Fr. Chris, whom Fr. Dean presented with a cross as we sang “Axios”, is the model for the hockey-loving priest in the movie Do You Wanna Dance, a classic movie about Greek-Americans.  We also honored Gordon Dick, the owner of P A Cleaners on Millbrook St. in Worcester.  Gordon, a devout Catholic, does not charge to clean vestments and church items like altar cloths.  He does the same for police and fire uniforms.  He has saved the Cathedral thousands through the years through this stewardship.  I do not usually endorse businesses here on the blog, but if you have dry cleaning to be done please consider patronizing this business.  Gordon doesn’t do this for us to drum up business nor does he seek recognition, but we are thankful to him – he has a business to run yet does this for our Cathedral and Worcester community.  On a bittersweet note, we also said goodbye to Mike Klezaras today on his last Sunday in Worcester.  Mike’s time here was relatively brief, but he had a positive effect on all of us, and we are blessed to have known him and Kathy.  We will miss them.

The Greek School program was great – many thanks to the students and parents as well as the PTA.  Rubina and the two Elenis did their usual stellar job – people have no idea how much hard work goes into preparing the students and putting on this event.  Rubina’s remarks on the significance of Greek Independence Day were particularly striking – it is indeed an event which we should always commemorate.

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March 27th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

St. Spyridon Preschool Art Show

Today our family attended the premier Worcester cultural event of the season – the St. Spyridon Preschool Art Show/Open House.  The children as well as Ms. Jenn and Ms. Jackie worked very hard for five weeks in preparation for the opening.  The students learned about artists like Albers, Monet and Pollock while being exposed to a variety of mediums.  They tried their hands at many new creative art experiences, and the results speak for themselves.  The open house/art show continues Sunday after church – make sure to check things out.  Here are some photos:

The room was reconfigured for the event for maximum ease of passage and display surface:

Here is a mobile that Vaia made, as well as her self-portrait:

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March 26th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Vespers And Salutations…And Ma

We had something a little different tonight at the Cathedral for a Lenten Friday.  Today was the feast of the Annunciation, and so tonight we celebrated the vespers for the synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel, which is celebrated on March 26.  So we did a vespers service and, towards the end before the trisagion prayers and after the hymn of Symeon (Lord now let your servant depart in peace), we had the third stanza of salutations.  There was no reading of the compline (Aspoile/Spotless) or chanting of the canon.  The chanters and priests managed to put the service together between the skeleton form in the liturgicon as well as the special material sent to us by the Metropolitan.   It was nice to do something different.  Before church I started talking to the older women who come to every service – God bless them – and explaining the different service we were having.  They all knew it already because they had watched a church broadcast from Greece several hours earlier.  It dawned on me that these stalwart attendees not only come to every – every! – service but they also watch all of the ones from Greece on the Greek channel.  What dedication!

They reminded me of the elders in my own family.  My great-grandmother was from Naples, Italy and came here way back in the day.  We have her wedding photo, where she was probably all of 15 years old, hanging at my ‘rents’ house.  She would go to daily mass and then amble over to the rectory to get the key to let herself into the church every afternoon to pray.  She did this every day for decades!  She was a very sweet woman, although she never hesitated to raise a fist in warning – the equivalent to the wooden spoon – koutala – of Greek grandmothers.  Ma, as we all called her, was the first person I mentioned in my “statement of intent” when I was ordained.  This is the moment in the ordination where you thank everyone from along the way and talk about what you hope to do and find in ministry.  I gave Ma the honored first position because, well, she certainly deserved it.  I was blessed to have her in my life until my second year of college, and I thank God for even that limited amount of time.

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March 25th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Civil War In Holden?

I was driving in Holden today on my way to visit a parishioner when I saw a sign in the town center for a Civil War discussion or roundtable at the senior center (or something like that).  I was surprised; the Civil War (War of Southern Independence, Second American Revolution, etc.) doesn’t get much play here in Massachusetts.  In the South, of course, it is a different story – you are never too far from a battlefield or historical place, and the Civil War section of bookstores is usually huge.  There is some natural interest in the Revolutionary War, but nothing like what you see in southern states for the blue and the gray.

As soon as this thought drifted out of my mind, I drove by streets named Vicksburg, Bull Run, and Ft. Sumter.  Clearly, something was going on here!  What possible connection could Holden, Mass. have with the Civil War?  Well, sometimes I forget that this is old town New England.  Most of the people I know in Holden have long names that end in “os” but of course we are not ‘true’ yankees in the classic sense: ).  Holden, as I imagine did most every other New England town, sent its share of boys to the war.  Here is an excerpt from Maj. Isaac Damon’s history of Holden:

When eighty years had passed away, and, with the years, the noble men and women of the Revolutionary times, then was found in their children the same love of liberty and right that characterized them; and we find the following recorded in Schouler’s “History of Massachusetts in the Civil War,” under the name of our town; —

“Population in 1860, 1,945; in 1865, 1,846. Valuation in 1860, $796,813; in 1865, $853,695.

“The first legal town meeting to act upon matters connected with the war was held on the 20th of April, 1861, at which fifteen hundred dollars were appropriated ‘for the benefit of the members of the Holden Rifle Company and their families; the same to be expended under the direction of the selectmen.’ [This was a company in the three months’ service, and left fort the seat of war, April 18th, in the second regiment that went from Massachusetts.] A town meeting was held July 19, which voted ‘to extend the hospitalities of the town to the members of the company on their return from the war.’ One hundred dollars were appropriated for the purpose.”

As the whole town turned out when this company left for the seat of war to bid them farewell and Godspeed, so likewise did they turn out to welcome them home.

“Holden furnished two hundred and four (204) men for the war, which was a surplus of four above the demands. Eleven were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money appropriated and expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of State aid, was $7,963.38, and a large amount was probably contributed by private subscription. The ladies of Holden on Sunday, April 21, 1861, instead of going to church, met in the town hall, and worked from nine o’clock until sundown for the members of the rifle company which had just started for the seat of war; and, from that time until the close of the Rebellion, they labored faithfully for the benefit of the soldiers, sending their contributions chiefly through the Sanitary and Christian Commission.”

Soon after the close of the war, the Soldiers’ Monument Association was formed, its object being to procure funds to secure some suitable monument to commemorate the fallen soldiers. The funds increased from year to year until 1876, when they amounted to about $1,100. The town hall was extensively remodeled that year, and made into a memorial hall by placing tablets in the interior, bearing the name and date of death of each soldier who gave his life for his country in the late war. The four tablets are of white marble, with which are chiseled several beautiful designs. These tablets are placed at the end of the hall, on either side of the platform, and upon them are the names of thirty soldiers who perished in the war.

Although they are

“Under the sod and the dew Waiting the judgment day,”

Yet the memory of their sacrifice and noble deeds is ever fresh in the hearts of their comrades and fellow-citizens, and from year to year their graves are strewn with garlands of flowers. To narrate the deeds of valor performed, the suffering in rebel prisons, on the march and on the battle-fields, would be only to relate the history of soldiers who went from every town and hamlet in the Old Bay State. The names inscribed upon the tablets are as follows: –

Capt. Ira J. Kelton, George T. Bigelow, Albert Creed, John Fearing, Edward Clark, Charles Gibbs, James W. Goodnow, James W. Haley, Lyman E. Keyes, George W. Newell, Michael Riley, John B. Savage, Amasa A. Howe, George T. Johnson, John K. Houghton, William C. Perry, Levi Chamberlain, Frank Lumazette, Uriah Bassett, Henry M. Fales, George Thurston, Calvin Hubbard, Sergt. Harlan P. Moore, Winslow B. Rogers, Alfred S. Tucker, Henry M. Holt, H. Erskine Black, Elisha C. Davenport, John Handley, Horace L. Truesdell.

The soldiers returning from the war formed Theron E. Hall Post 77, G.A. R. This post holds monthly meetings in the town hall.

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March 24th, 2011 by Fr. Greg