Friday’s Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Turkish Ottoman Empire was a mighty force pushing for expansion and domination. By 1453, the Empire occupied the Byzantine Empire. From there, the Turks expanded westward for the next 100 years or so on land and at sea. Their superior naval power was feared throughout the Mediterranean.

Under the coordination of Pope Leo XIII, an alliance was formed between Spain, Genoa and the Papal States, creating the Holy League. While Spain supplied most of the money necessary, Venice was the main contributor of ships. In the history of naval warfare, the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 marked the last major conflict in the Western world fought almost entirely between rowing vessels. The victory of the Holy League was a turning point in Mediterranean expansion. Although the Ottoman wars in Europe would continue for another century, Lepanto stood as inspiration. The Holy League was made up mainly of Catholics. When they sailed out into battle, the Pope had called on the faithful to pray the Rosary. The victory of the Holy League against such a superior power as the Ottoman Empire was believed to the answer to prayers.

The Feast of Our Lady of Victory was first assigned to the first Sunday in October each year. Eventually it became Our Lady of the Rosary and was affixed to October 7, the anniversary date of the battle. This is an example of faith and history coming together in a single event. Catholics worldwide put a great deal of stock in the power of prayer, and in the rosary. It is often referred to as a weapon in our arsenal. This confuses some. They see Catholics as radical militants wielding some weapon – and have even equated the rosary to assault rifles. This is our fault. We see the rosary as a means to defeat evil through prayer and faith. Throughout our history in America, Catholics have been feared and persecuted. Fear and persecution stems from ignorance. The only way to overcome ignorance is through open conversations. While I don’t wish to convert the entire planet to Catholicism, I truly hold out hope that the day will come when no one has to explain or defend their relationship with God.

When Roe-V-Wade was overturned, there was an increase attacks against Catholics. Threats were made to burn churches, and desecrate the Eucharist, the Body of Christ. Many churches, including mine, hired security guards to stand watch over Sunday Mass. We were warned by our Bishops to be more aware of our surroundings when coming and going from church and to report anything out of place to the authorities. There was even an article in an Atlantic newspaper comparing the Rosary to AR-15 rifles. As proof, the article talked about a Catholic site that sold replicas of Rosaries issued to soldiers during the First World War as “combat rosaries”. The article went on to talk about Our Lady of the Rosary and the Battle of Lepanto as proof of the Catholics war on Muslims. What nonsense! Did one faith persecute another once upon a time? Sadly the answer is yes. Dominance and oppression are dark human traits we strive to overcome. I’m just glad that things have settled down a bit and the guards are no longer patrolling church grounds. No one should have to experience that level of fear. Especially today, when we claim to know better.

Hate should never be allowed to beget hate. It becomes a never ending cycle of destruction. Let love be our guide. Let compassion and understand be the norm. I believe in the power of the Rosary. It is a weapon against the Evil One. Those of faith know that the final battle has already been won.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee we do cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee we do send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,
And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of they womb, Jesus.
O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

Today is a Fabulous Friday in our old-school Catholic house. It is the final day of a Novena we began on the Feast of the Archangels to open hearts to our Blessed Mother, and for the protection of children. These are all good reasons to rejoice as a family. To break bread together, and enjoy an amazing meal.

Shrimp and Pesto Pasta
Pesto Sauce
1/2 cup Roma Tomatoes
2 Garlic Clove
6 tablespoons Walnuts
2 cups packed Baby Spinach
1 cup packed Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Italian Parsley
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Prepare an ice water bath for the spinach and basil, set aside. Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds and set tomatoes aside. Peel and roughly mince garlic, set aside. Roughly chop walnuts, set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spinach and basil; blanch for 20 seconds. Remove spinach mixture with a large slotted spoon, reserving cooking water. Plunge spinach-basil in to the ice water bath for 30 seconds. Drain ice water, remove leaves and pat dry.

Place parsley, seeded tomatoes and walnut in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to the parsley mixture. Pulse several times. Add spinach mixture. With the processor running, add 2 tablespoons oil; process to combine. Place 3/4 cup pesto in a small bowl; place plastic wrap directly on pesto. Reserve for another purpose.

Penne Shrimp
1 lb Asparagus
1 lb large Shrimp
1/2 cup Multicolored Grape Tomatoes
8 oz Penne Pasta
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Trim asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside. Peel and deveine shrimp. Remove tails if desired, set shrimp aside. Cut grape tomatoes in half, set aside.

Bring the water used to blanch spinach to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, adding asparagus during last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high until butter melts.

Season shrimp with red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat. Add shrimp to the skillet; cook about 90 seconds per side. Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside.

To the now empty skillet, add pasta mixture with the reserved cooking liquid; cook 1 minute. Stir in 6 tablespoons pesto, shrimp, and grape tomatoes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. To serve, divide pasta evenly among 4 bowls. Serve with warm bread and a bottle wine.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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