Malassadas on Shrove Tuesday — yum!

Paczkis, pancakes, jelly donuts — many food traditions surround this last day before Lent. And Mardi Gras has its own roots in Catholic tradition, as explained here by our friends at St. Anthony Messenger and Our Sunday Visitor.

But also make sure you check out this story by Anna Weaver of the Hawaii Catholic Herald on malassadas, a tradition brought by Portuguese immigrants who arrived in the 1880s and 1890s to work on Hawaii’s plantations.

And if you’re willing to try baking some in your own kitchen, there’s also a family recipe on the same page from a woman who has been making malassadas for over 50 years.

But here’s a warning: You’re going to get hungry just reading about them.

Argentine bishop likes global poverty initiative

Bishop Fernando Bargallo of Moreno is pictured this week during the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Bishop Fernando Marie Bargallo (CNS/Bob Roller)

Argentine Bishop Fernando Marie Bargallo of Merlo-Moreno was pleased to see the relaunch of the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative yesterday during the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington.

As bishop of a diocese in the suburbs of Buenos Aries where one-third of the people live in poverty, Bishop Bargallo said the effort will help people “understand the situation of the poor.”

“It is an important stimulus for us to see that the Catholic Church in the United States has an open mind and an open heart to commit herself to fight against poverty, recognizing another world is possible,” Bishop Bargallo told Catholic News Service.

“Sometimes we have the temptation to think that poverty is a reality that cannot be beaten,” he said. “But when you open your mind and heart you discover that there is an ethical imperative that pushes yourself as a person, your family, your nation, to discover that you cannot live isolated from all human beings, that we share the same home, the same planet.”

A joint project between Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the initiative is seeking 1 million Catholics to join the effort, which is designed to show that the difficulties Americans are facing during the current economic crisis are intricately intertwined with the plight of poor people around the world.

Both agencies have worked together to relieve global poverty over the years but see new opportunities to implement initiatives that promote human development under a new Congress and a new administration.

The effort also will work with Catholic Charities USA’s poverty campaign showing the connection between the needs of the poor in the U.S. and around the world.

The initiative went live with a new Web site as well. More information can be found at www.usccb.org/globalpoverty and www.crs.org/globalpoverty.

Slamming America’s slammers

When was the last time you saw a Catholic periodical take up the issue of the U.S. prison system? Our Sunday Visitor does in an upcoming edition. Or, as the paper’s blog noted, the OSV editorial board “slams America’s slammers.” You can read the full editorial here.

Food for thought for Lent

With Lent almost upon us, the latest edition of the Arkansas Catholic in the Diocese of Little Rock has two articles you might find interesting:

– Instead of just giving the rules for Lenten fasting, the paper talked to Scripture scholars and others on why we fast and what we gain from the practice. As the headline notes, “God doesn’t want a fulfilled obligation; he wants our hearts.”

– Another article reports on how Lenten observances are growing in other Christian churches.

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