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Liturgy Practicum 1: Domestic Cult Practice in ADF, Question 4, Entry 17

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12/04/06 - Please St. Barbara, Save Our Miserable Skins!

On December 4, 2006, at 8 PM, I invited folks over for a feast.

On Dec. 3, I went up to Toledo with Brian, who needed someone to drive up with him but hadn't heard back from anyone who had expressed interest, so I became his last resort. On our way back down, we stopped at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation and raided their gift shop.

During our raid, we discovered that Catholic school girls are really just like every other kind of girl: they talk about boys and who is dating who (two of them were working the checkout line in the gift shop). Apparently, one spent time during checkout checking me out, or so Brian says. I'm not sure how I feel about a sixteen year old girl checking me out, but hey, at least I wasn't checking her out.

Also at the shop, I picked up a few items related to St. Barbara: two medals and a card with a devotional prayer on it. The card also had a feast date for St. Barbara on it: Dec. 4.

"Hey, her feast is tomorrow!" I said, as a bright light shone down from heaven and lit up the world around me.

Okay, so that last paragraph didn't quite happen like that.

But because she is one of my two patron saints (the other being St. Gulik), I feel it appropriate to honour her in some way today (especially since her feast day was, apparently, removed in 1969). And since I don't know what exactly goes on during a Catholic Saint's Feast Day (having never been Catholic), I decided to make it up as I went along.

So that night, I asked my friends to join me for a dinner that will probably be generally Italian, Greek, or Turkish in food (she's from Asia Minor and is a Roman Catholic saint, so I was a bit unsure what to cook), some prayers to a Catholic saint, and we decided that next year we'd blow something up.

The Feast of Saint Barbara went well: I managed not only to cook enough food for everyone but also to do it in a timely manner. Tina, Maggie, Brian, and Anna all joined me for dinner, and I think I managed to get enough things that people liked that everyone ate their fill.

Of course, I cooked things I can't pronounce (or spell), but that's what makes it an adventure.

My favourite prayer to St. Barbara is pretty easy and straightforward, used by Gulf Coast shrimpers: "Please, St. Barbara, save our miserable skins!"

I find that the devotion to Catholic saint that I have doesn't conflict with my Paganism, but actually gives me a deeper connection to my religious life. There's something about adding in feast days and celebrating the feast days of others that is generally fulfilling and rewarding.

My personal religious observances were not high this week, and this was somewhat disappointing. But the time spent baking chicken, cooking pilaf, couscous, mushrooms, cookies, veggies, bread, soup, and salad all became a sort of religious experience in itself. There is a lot to be said for hospitality and religion, and I'm happy ADF has taught me so much about it.

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