Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Gnocchi “Becciu” and a song that has nothing to do with him

Former Cardinal Becciu – whom I suspect will soon be indicted and perhaps extradited – was sacked on Thursday.   I was so glad that it was Thursday, and not Wednesday or Friday… which are Ember Days.  Instead, it was the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom, which is also Our Lady of Walsingham.   Since it was a feast, I thought it proper to observe the feast, and the development, with a meal, something special.

Gnocchi sardi!

Hmmm… If I want gnocchi sardi I’ll have to make them from scratch.

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U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Lawmakers to Recognize Contributions of Immigrant and Refugee Essential Workers and Support Workers and Their Families

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship during a hearing titled “Immigrants as Essential Workers During COVID-19.” From the written testimony, Bishop Dorsonville states:

“Immigrants and refugees are a blessing to our country. The Church teaches that every human being is created in God’s image and deserves dignity and respect and that human labor has an inherent dignity, allowing all to share in the ongoing work of creation while providing the resources to build and sustain families.

“The contributions of essential workers have become undoubtedly more important during COVID-19. While many essential workers are U.S. citizens, many are also immigrants and refugees. Immigrants comprise 31 percent of U.S. agricultural employees… [and] they risk their own safety to support their families and to ensure continuity in the nation’s food supply chains.

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Child’s Bible Debuts in Sierra Leone

Saint Therese of Lisieux, the patroness of the Missions, often liked to quote the words of Jesus to Saint Francis of Assisi: “Go, Francis, rebuild my ruined Church”. In essence, it is the same missionary mandate as “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). Today the Salesian Father Antonio is trying to rebuild the missionary work of the parish of Saint Therese in the diocese of Bo, Sierra Leone. There are 150 Catholic schools in the diocese, each with anything up to a thousand pupils, and the best way to proclaim the Gospel is through the ACNChild’sBible, “God speaks to His Children”. In many of the schools, there are practically no other books available. “It’s a quite special experience for these children to actually hold a book in their hands”, Father Antonio tells us. And with the Child’s Bible “they can learn to read and at the same time come to know the Word of God. Reading opens the eyes, the intellect, and the heart, while the Word of God builds them up.”

For many of the children, the book is something treasured throughout their lives. Father Antonio recalls once asking one class of children, “How much do you think a book like this would cost?”None of them could say. Estimating the price Father Antonio put it at around €5, which would be 50,000 Leones. So then he asked them how much of this 50,000 they would be able to contribute in kind. They thought maybe around 1,000 Leones. So Father Antonio suggested: “Bring in the thousand. And every time you read the book, God’s word for children builds up the Church say a prayer for the people who have contributed the other 49,000.”

They agreed. So he did the same thing with all the other classes and with 1,000 Leones for each book, he was able to fund the summer camp for those pupils who couldn’t afford to give anything. Again and again Father Antonio reminds the children about those people working quietly in the background, without whom the Word of God could not be spread. Such people, he told them, also include “the person who can hardly move but who sits in his wheelchair translating the Child’s Bible into the local dialect”. Father Antonio learned the local language Bariba in Benin, thanks to the Child’s Bible, and also the Moba dialect in the north of Togo. He says theChild’sBible is also a kind of FamilyBible since many adults are keen to purchase it for themselves, their children, and grandchildren. He is asking us for an additional 5,000 copies for the schools in the diocese. We have promised him €10,000 towards the cost in order to build and strengthen the parish of Saint Therese with God’s Word for his children.

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Friars of Order of Our Lady of Mercy Havana, Struggling with Poverty and Hurricane Aftermath

The night of January 27, 2019, is one that Fray Gabriel Avila Luna will not easily forget; for there were times when he thought it might have been his last. Winds of over 300 km an hour tore through parts of the Cuban capital, Havana. For around 16 minutes, the friars living in the parish of Jesús del Monte hovered between life and death, it seemed. The hurricane tore through a swathe of territory some 20 km long and half a kilometer wide, and took with it the lives of four people that night.

Even for the people of Havana, who are accustomed to the threat of hurricanes, that night was a traumatic one, given the suddenness of its arrival and its sheer violence, worse than anything seen before in the 500 years the city has just recently celebrated. “At present, we are five brothers, but at the time there were just three of us, since the others had not yet arrived in the mission. That night it was just me and Brother Rodolfo, since the other friar was not at home. I think it was providential that he wasn’t there, in fact, since his room was the most extensively damaged”, explains Brother Gabriel. “It sounded like a military bombardment, there were sounds like gunshots going off and we really thought we were going to die”, recalls Brother Rodolfo Rojas, as he shows some of the destruction to visiting representatives from the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation ACN International.

“There are still bits of roof tile from the neighboring houses, embedded in the walls of our church and monastery. The fear that something like this might happen again is now something that has entered the very bones of many of our neighbors.” And indeed the friars themselves, who have been living on the heights of Jesús del Monte since 2014, continue to fear the danger, especially now that the new hurricane season is beginning again in the Caribbean.

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