SJA Table Talk is a website with fun content to help you prepare for Mass as a family and to encourage faith-based conversations at the dinner table. The goal is to get our families into a rhythm of 2 quality meals per week and 10 minutes of preparation for Mass.
The month of November is dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2. With the exception of the last Sunday, November falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green. The last Sunday (November 27th), which marks the beginning of the Advent season, the liturgical color changes to purple, representing a time of penance.
#1 Conversation Starters
- MUSIC - Gavin Coyle is performing a pre-Advent concert at St. Joan -- see details below.
- Understanding the Church Calendar - with December 3rd (Sunday) being the start of the church year with Advent, take a moment to discover the differences between a soleminity, a feast and a memorial.
- Dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul - the whole Church celebrates today the dedication of the two great Roman basilicas of St. Peter at the Vatican and of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls.
- Thanksgiving - Read about how Thanksgiving was started by Abraham Lincoln as a Christian Holiday Read about the Catholic origins of Thanksgiving.
- Squanto - Do you remember Squanto, the Native American who assisted the Puritan Pilgrims at the “first Thanksgiving”? Read about how he was Catholic.
#2 Commit to 2 Family Meals
- Thanksgiving Recipes - the traditional Turkey Dinner is still a great tradition... and in case you need any new ideas, check out these great recipes But America is also a diverse melting pot -- see how that plays out in what we eat at Thanksgiving (see below)
- Enjoy the recipe 'Eggs in Purgatory' and 'Soul Cakes' in honor of the souls in Purgatory - which is what the month of November is dedicated to within the churches calendar.
#3 Prepare for Mass
- Living the Gospel (w.o. Nov 19) Gospel: .
- Prepare for Sunday (Nov 26) Gospel:
#1 CONVERSATION STARTERS
Pre-Advent Concert at St. Joan of Arc
Friday, December 1st
An accomplished singer and songwriter, Gavin Coyle’s musical range covers both pop and folk music, as well as traditional music from his homeland. His performances often reflect this versatility as he mixes traditional and original compositions. In addition to being a guitarist, he plays several other instruments including the bo- dhran (an Irish drum) and the flute.
He has performed internationally for many years, and has recently been featured on WGN radio, performed at Milwaukee Irish Fest, and performed the National Anthem several times for Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field- at a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field - and at several Chicago Bulls games at the United Center, just to name a few. Gavin also sang the National Anthem and "God Bless America" at "A Rally for America"- a fundraiser at Northern Illinois University.
Join us as we usher in the Advent season with this beautiful concert. Don't miss out on this magical night! Tickets on sale soon. Watch the bulletin for more details.
Understanding the Church Calendar
While the terminology is not necessarily incorrect, feasts are only one of the three categories of such celebrations in the Church year; the other two are solemnities and memorials. But what’s the difference? The Church has always provided the faithful people of God with externally expressed devotions, festivals and celebrations through which they may pay homage to the Creator. These holy activities are not merely random events, but follow a seasonal, regulated schedule established by the Church’s liturgical calendar. The day-to-day events of the annual Church year are primarily catalogued as a solemnity, a feast or a memorial.
Dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul (Nov 18th)
The whole Church celebrates today the dedication of the two great Roman basilicas of St. Peter at the Vatican and of St. Paul outside - the - Walls. Today's feast is a spiritual journey to two holy tombs, that
of St. Peter and that of St. Paul in Rome. These two basilicas, marking the place of each apostle's martyrdom, are the common heritage and glory of Christendom; it is, therefore, easily seen why we observe their dedication.
In the Basilica of Saint Paul, there are portraits of every pope, from Saint Peter all the way through to Pope Benedict XVI -- with room for many more! It is a strong reminder of the continuity of the faith we profess. thanks to the power of God working through the authority given to Saint Peter and the preaching of Saint Paul.
A few miles away, on Vaitican Hill, the Basilica of St. Peter stands on the site of the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, where stood Nero's circus. It was here that St. Peter was executed. We associate this church more than any other with the Holy Father. In front of the great Basilica is an enormous piazza or gathering place where people gather for Mass, audiences, and other events with the pope. The piazza is framed by two great colonnades, which the artist Bernini described as two great arms, reaching out to embrace the whole world and gather them in... Read more >
Many people assume that the United States has celebrated Thanksgiving Day since the time of the pilgrims as a sign of thanksgiving for the harvest season. This is not exactly true. President Abraham Lincoln instituted the holiday in 1863 during the Civil War. However, he did not have the harvest in mind. He wanted Americans to celebrate the holiday as a sign of unity and thanksgiving to God.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” (President Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation, October 3, 1863).
There is no American holiday that so closely resembles the symbolism and meaning of the sacrament of the Eucharist. We celebrate Thanksgiving as a sign of American unity and thanksgiving to God who has given us great gifts.
An interesting bit of trivia is that the first American Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered.
The Catholic origins of Thanksgiving don’t stop there. Squanto, the beloved hero of Thanksgiving, was the Native American man who mediated between the Puritan Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Squanto had been enslaved by the English but he was freed by Spanish Franciscans. Squanto thus received baptism and became a Catholic. So it was a baptized Catholic Native American who orchestrated what became known as Thanksgiving.
Squanto - our beloved hero was Catholic !
Well, Squanto, our beloved hero of Thanksgiving, was Catholic!
His true name was Tisquantum, yet he is affectionately known to us as “Squanto.”
In 1614, Squanto was captured by a lieutenant of John Smith (remember? from Pocahontas). This shameful lieutenant attempted to sell Squanto and other Native Americans into slavery via Spain. However, some Franciscan friars discovered the plot and acquired the captured Native Americans, Squanto included. During this time, Squanto received instruction in the Catholic Faith and received holy baptism.
As a freeman, Squanto traveled to London where became a laborer in the shipyards. Here he became fluent in English. Eventually, Squanto was able to return to his Native Land, New England, in 1619 - five years after he had been kidnapped. He returned only to discover that his people were being decimated by the recently imported European diseases.
Since he was fluent in English, Squanto became well-known and valuable to the new English Pilgrims settled at Plymouth. As an English speaker, Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to fertilize the ground, grow corn, and the best places to catch fish. Squanto eventually contracted one of the European diseases. Governor William Bradford described Squanto’s death like this:
Squanto fell ill of Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose, which the Indians take as a symptom of death, and within a few days he died. He begged the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishman’s God in heaven, and bequeathed several of his things to his English friends, as remembrances. His death was a great loss.
So remember Squanto today and perhaps share this bit of history during your Thanksgiving feast. Let us pray for Squanto, and may he pray for us.
#2 COMMIT TO 2 FAMILY MEALS (RECIPES)
RECIPES | Thanksgiving
The Traditional Turkey dinner is a wonderful tradition. However, our nation is a diverse melting pot. Here’s how that plays out in what we eat at Thanksgiving: Americans all come from somewhere. Their families may have roamed the continent for thousands of years before the Mayflower dropped anchor. They may have been on the ship. They may have come on later ones, freely or in chains. They may have come by truck, train or airplane. They came. And their journeys are reflected in the food they or their descendants eat. The Times asked 15 families from across the country to show us the holiday dishes they make that speak most eloquently about their heritage and traditions. The stories of these home cooks help tell the story of the nation, the story of who we are. — SAM SIFTON (NYT Article). --> Read this amazing article from Sam Sifton in the New York Times - includes video, stories and recipe ideas.
Picture (left): Every Thanksgiving, Diane Yang returns to her parents’ farm in Wisconsin. There, her mother prepares an egg roll filling, which she stuffs inside the turkey.
RECIPES | November and the Souls of Purgatory
RECIPE | Eggs in Purgatory (Uova al purgatorio)
See Recipe > - Lots of Pictures > This “eggs in purgatory” recipe is a classic
Italian recipe with a wry name (inevitably leading everyone at brunch to wonder why it’s not “eggs in hell” (uova al infierno?!) because of the fiery red sauce), and easy to cook for a crowd. In the straight-up version you essentially poach the eggs in the tomato sauce; my adapted version calls for a thicker ragu and fistfuls of chopped parsley instead of a garnish of basil.
RECIPE | Soul Cakes -- the original Halloween Treat
See Recipe > | During the Middle Ages in England, on the night before All Saints Day, or Hallowmas, peasants and children called "soulers" would go about town singing and praying for the souls of the dead. They would stop at homes and beg for a "soul cake" and promise in return to pray for the household's deceased family members to be released from purgatory. If homeowners did not give out cakes it was believed their home would be cursed. And this my friends is thought to be the origination of trick or treating.
#3 PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
The virtues of a good wife are extolled.
Blessed are those who walk in God’s ways.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Paul warns the Thessalonians to stay alert because the day of the Lord cannot be predicted.
Jesus tells the parable of the talents, in which he teaches about the importance of using the gifts that God has given to us in service to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Background on the Gospel Reading
This week’s Gospel speaks of how Jesus’ disciples are to conduct themselves as they await the Kingdom of Heaven. In the preceding passages and in last week’s Gospel, Jesus taught that there is no way to predict the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. His disciples must, therefore, remain vigilant and ready to receive the Son of Man at any time.
Jesus’ parable talks about Christian discipleship using economic metaphors. Before he leaves on a journey, the master entrusts to his servants a different number of talents, giving to each according to their abilities. A talent is a coin of great value. Upon the master’s return, he finds that the first and second servants have doubled their money, and both are rewarded. The third servant, however, has only preserved what was given to him because he was afraid to lose the money. He has risked nothing; he did not even deposit the money in a bank to earn interest. This servant is punished by the master, and his talent is given to the one who brought the greatest return.
Read in light of last week’s parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, this parable teaches that God’s judgment will be based on the service we render to God and to one another in accordance with the gifts that God has given to us. Our gifts, or talents, are given to us for the service of others. If we fail to use these gifts, God’s judgment on us will be severe. On the other hand, if we make use of these gifts in service to the Kingdom of Heaven, we will be rewarded and entrusted with even more responsibilities.
This Gospel reminds us that Christian spirituality is not passive or inactive. Our life of prayer helps us to discern the gifts that have been given to us by God. This prayer and discernment ought to lead us to use our gifts in the service of God and our neighbor. God’s grace allows us to share in the work of serving the Kingdom of Heaven.
PAINTING - Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy. (Gospel) Parable of the Talents, St Edward the Martyr's
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY - THE GOSPEL (Nov 26th)
God himself will shepherd the people of Israel.
The Lord is our shepherd.
Because Christ has been raised from the dead, all those who have died will also be raised.
Jesus teaches that when the Son of Man comes in glory, he will judge the nations, separating the sheep from the goats.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today’s Gospel passage is the conclusion of Jesus’ discourse with his disciples. It is about the end of time, the coming of the Son of Man, and the final judgment. We hear this description of the final judgment at the conclusion of our liturgical year, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. In the context of Matthew’s Gospel, this passage might also be read as a conclusion of Matthew’s report on Jesus’ life and ministry; the remaining chapters report the events of Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes to his disciples the scene of the judgment of the Son of Man. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep and goats upon their return from the pasture. The judgments made by the Son of Man will be based upon the acts of mercy shown to the least ones—the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. Indeed, Jesus, who suffered on the Cross, identifies himself with the least ones.
Recall that last week’s parable of the talents taught us that the gifts that we have been given are intended to be used for the service of others, especially the least among us. Our judgment before God will be based not only on how we have used these gifts and talents, but also on how we have extended ourselves in service to these least ones. Indeed, Jesus tells us that whenever we have served these least ones, we have served Christ himself.
When we read today’s Gospel in the context of the chapters that follow in Matthew’s Gospel, we learn the extent to which Jesus identifies with the least ones. In accepting death on the cross, Jesus shows himself to be one of the hungry, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. To accept Jesus is to accept him who suffered and died on the Cross as one of the least ones.
PAINTING - 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' (Gospel) Fra Angelico, Christ on the Cross Adored by Saint Dominic (detail)