Today is All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day (thus explaining why October 31 is Halloween – or All Hallows’ Eve). In Western Christianity, this Holy Day is celebrated by the Catholic Church as well as a number of Protestant Churches. November 1 is also the day before All Souls’ Day, more closely associated with Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics and Byzantine Lutheran churches. Roman Catholics observed both.
The Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day stems from a fundamental belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and those living on earth. In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. Among Methodists, All Saints’ Day revolves around giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of His saints.
Although nearly everyone in America celebrates the secular holiday of Halloween, the religious solemnity of the following day is not widely practiced or acknowledge by most Americans unless they are Catholic.
In places such as Mexico and Latin America, The Day of the Dead is celebrated from October 31 (All Hallows Eve) through November 2, All Souls’ Day. In the Catholic Church, only All Saints’ Day is a Holy Day of Obligation when most Catholics worldwide are to attend Mass. In England and Wales, the obligation is transferred to Sunday, should All Saints’ Day fall on a Saturday or Monday. In the United States, the Solemnity remains on November 1, but the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated.
Don’t get me started on how lenient the Church is on Americans simply because we struggle with the traditional rules. Eating meat on Fridays is a prime example. Americans were granted a pass since their Protestant counterparts were barbecuing Steaks on Fridays. When neighborhoods were centered around Houses of Worship, this wasn’t a problem. But once neighborhoods began integrating around employment opportunities and people of different faiths were living side-by-side, things for the American Catholic changed. It was easier for Bishops to keep their flocks happy by allowing them abandon certain traditions. Fridays are still a day of penance, but the form of penance is a personal matter and not one dictated by the Church. In our house, it’s just as easy to forgo meat, and that’s our personal choice. Yet so many Catholic Americans heard it’s okay to eat meat on Fridays, and not the part about personal penance. The easy out was quickly embraced.
We are reminded on this day to strive to be better than our current selves, to become the person God knows us to be. He created us to be of service to one another, to care for the world He created us to seek his grace in all things. While few of us will actually attain sainthood, the goal is worth attempting. Being better as people is worth the effort. That’s my rant for the day.
It just so happens that today is also National Calzone Day. That certainly helped to determine what to serve after Mass. Didn’t attend church? That’s okay, Calzones are just as delicious either way.
Pizza Pocket Calzones
1/2 cup thin Pepperoni slices
1/4 cup fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 lb bulk Italian Pork Sausage
1 cup Marinara sauce
1 (13.8 oz) can refrigerated Classic Pizza Crust
1-1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese (6 oz)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Stack Pepperoni, cut in half or quarters for bite-size pieces. Set aside. Shred fresh basil, set aside.
In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, the sliced pepperoni and shredded basil. Set aside.
Unroll dough. Cut dough in half crosswise; cut each section in half lengthwise. On the cookie sheet, press or roll each dough portion into a 7-inch by 5-inch rectangle. Spoon sausage mixture and cheese on one side of each rectangle. Fold dough over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal.
Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Heat remaining Marinara sauce; serve with warm calzones.
To make this simple meal extra special, serve with a nice Italian Salad and a glass of wine.