Parish & Diocesan News

Blessing of Easter Baskets: A Long Christian Tradition.

From the Book of Blessings:

1701 The custom of blessing food for Easter arose from the discipline of fasting throughout Lent and the special Easter fast during the Easter Triduum. Easter was the first day when meat, eggs, and other foods could again be eaten. Although not of obligation…, the tradition of blessing food for the first meal of Easter [may still be observed.]

1702 According to custom, food may be blessed before or after the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday…. [St. John Neumann tradition: before]

Evidence traces the roots of this tradition to around the year 1000. The earliest known recorded prayers for this blessing are found in a Missal published in Krakow, Poland dating from the year 1350. “The practice of the blessing of food is rooted in deeply held Christian beliefs. We ask God’s blessing on our food all the time.  The traditional Catholic blessing says it clearly: ‘Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive through Christ Our Lord.  Amen’. The last familiar words of the prayer, ‘through Christ Our Lord,’ are the key to understanding the blessing of food on Holy Saturday.  The blessing imparted is always through Christ by the power of His dynamic act of salvation: His Passion, Death and Resurrection.”
“These blessed foods we eat at Easter break our Lenten fast so that we might joyfully remember that He is risen, alive and with us.”
“With the joy of the Resurrection filling our hearts, we remember with gratitude all of the gifts that God has given us.  This makes us realize that we are called to share His bounty with those who are in need.”

References: Catholic Culture; Diocese of Pittsburgh; Catholic Witness; Book of Blessings, Chapter 54 1701-1702

Basket Contents and Symbolism (this section optional if not enough room)

  • Eggs – Decorated or plain white eggs; symbolizing hope, new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb
  • Butter – Dairy products are included to celebrate the end of Lent and the richness of our salvation; re­minds us of the goodness of Christ that we should have toward all things
  • Easter Bread – A round loaf, sweetened yeast Pas­ka or rye, topped with a cross, symbolic of Jesus, the Bread of Life
  • Horseradish – Symbolic of the bitterness and harshness of the Passion of Christ; the vinegar it is mixed with symbolizing the sour wine given to Jesus on the cross but sweetened with some sugar because of the Resurrection.
  • Pepper – Also symbolic of the Passion of Christ and the bitter herbs
  • Kielbasa/Sausage – The links are symbolic of the chains of death that were broken when Jesus rose from the dead, as well as God’s favor and generosity
  • Ham, Lamb or Veal – Meats are symbolic of great joy and abundance in Christ’s Resurrection
  • Smoked Bacon – With its great fattiness, it is a symbol of the overabundance of God’s mercy and generosity
  • Salt – A necessary element in our physical life; symbolic of purification, prosperity and justice; pre­serves us from corruption. Jesus used its symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth”
  • Cheese – Usually fresh, dry curd or farmer’s cheese shaped into a ball, it is the symbol of the mod­eration Christians should practice
  • Holy Water – Used to bless the home, animals, fields and used in various rituals throughout the year
  • Sweets – Fruits, candy, poppy seed and nut rolls, pastry items; promise of eternal life or good things to come

Part-Time Choir Director and/or Accompanist! 
We are in search of leadership for our PRAISE choir.

Responsibilities include: Recruiting, developing, and directing/accompanying the PRAISE Choir (adults); Leading weekly rehearsal and one designated Sunday Mass from September through early June; Special Liturgies: Christmas, Triduum, Confirmation, etc. as scheduled; Planning selections for these liturgies with the Director of Music.

Qualifications: Degree in Music (preferable); choral conducting experience; keyboard proficiency; working understanding and knowledge of the liturgy; organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills; practicing Catholic in good standing. Applicants will be interviewed and asked to demonstrate vocal/keyboard skills. To apply, send resume to Rebecca Kowaleski, Business Manager at

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