Thursday, July 19, 2012

Take Only Your Walking Stick

"He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick--no food, no traveler's bag, no money." ~Mark 6:8

St. Francis de Sales Seminary has a wonderful new vocations director, Fr. Luke Strand, (pictured next to Bishop Hying) and he is just full of energy and fabulous ideas!  He has begun a new initiative called Mission Milwaukee which is a young adult outreach of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a project for the New Evangelization.  Every Tuesday night a group of about 40 young men gather at St. Robert's Parish in Shorewood for dinner and fellowship and a group of women gather at the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for dinner and fellowship, as well.  Then they all join each other for a holy hour and benediction followed by Mass.  At the end of the evening, the men return to St. Robert's Parish for night prayer.

As part of Mission Milwaukee, Fr. Luke has also organized a walking pilgrimage from St. Francis de Sales Seminary to the Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill.  The pilgrimage covers about 50 miles on foot and is expected to last four days from start to finish.  My son John is taking part in this pilgrimage.  He is on the front right-hand side in the above picture.

The pilgrimage began with Mass at 7:30 AM on Thursday, July 18th and then proceeded to Bishop Hying's office at the Cousin's Center for a blessing.  The morning of the first day included stops at several churches along the way until they arrived at St. Anthony's Parish on Mitchell St. for morning prayer.  The next stop was Marquette University Campus with a visit to the St. Joan of Arc Chapel.  Since the Marquette Campus is only two blocks away from my office, I invited the group to stop at my office for lunch.

It was near 12:45 PM when the travelers arrived at the WIC Clinic, an environment that is primarily made up of women and children, but which was now graced with the presence of nine wonderful young men who were grateful to come in out of the damp mist and humidity to relax with a hearty lunch.  I decided to incorporate this meal into the cooking challenge that my friend Christi and I are working on this summer. You may recall that Christi and I have agreed to invite priests and seminarians to our homes to prepare Italian meals for them using recipes found in From A Rectory Kitchen which was written by Fr. Matthew Mauriello and Franca Bosio Bertoli. You can read my previous post on this subject here and can order your own copy of the cookbook here.

I couldn't find any sandwich recipes in the cookbook, or any other entrees that would be easy for me to prepare at home and then take to work with me in the morning, so I made an Italian sub sandwich from a recipe I found online.  I prepared the Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad) from the cookbook but used grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls, thinking it might be easier to eat on the way, instead of the sliced tomatoes and cheese as called for in the recipe.  The meal was rounded out with garlic Sun Chips and fresh grapes, lemonade and water.  For dessert I prepared the Biscotti Zia Giuseppina (Aunt Josephine's Cookies) recipe and chose the option of scooping balls of dough instead of forming logs of biscotti.  When preparing the cookies I found that I was out of vanilla extract at home so I substituted lemon extract.  The recipe had called for lemon juice in the frosting but I replaced that with water to keep the cookies from being too tart. (The recipe is below.)

Domenick, one of the seminarians, commented that the Calabrese Salad reminded him of the time that he spent studying in Rome, and another young man, Joe, mentioned that the cookies brought back fond memories for him of an old family recipe that he used to love.  The lunchtime conversation consisted of highlights from the morning walk and comments about how alive the Catholic Church is in the Milwaukee community.

I  asked Fr. Luke if he would bless my office before they left and he gladly obliged.  He offered a prayer asking for God's holiness to shower down upon me and all of the clients that I serve and asking that the devil  be cast out forever in this now sacred space leaving me in a work environment filled only with the aura of God's holy presence.

After Fr. Luke and the seminarians and discerners were well fed and rested they resumed their journey.  As they walked along the busy downtown Wisconsin Avenue, they handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to some homeless people and made their way to the Schoenstatt Shrine on 50th and Wisconsin Ave. for afternoon prayer.  They had hoped to reach Christ King Parish in Wauwatosa around dinner time and then arrive at their first overnight destination, St. Mary's Visitation Parish in Elm Grove by nightfall.

Tomorrow morning the pilgrimage will continue as the men walk toward St. Charles Parish in Hartland where Fr. Luke's brother, Fr. Jacob Strand, is working this summer, and then they will spend the night there.  The final destination, The Basilica of St. Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill is in sight for Saturday.  Please hold these pilgrims in your prayers as they journey to spread the Gospel message throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.


 Biscotti Zia Giuseppina 


1 C. shortening
1-1/4 c. sugar
6 eggs
2 T. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 T. baking powder

Mix shortening and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs and extract and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder together.  Gradually add to the egg mixture, incorporating well.  Place on two lightly greased cookie sheets with a spoon, forming a total of four logs.  Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes, slice diagonally, place on cookie sheets and return to oven until both sides are lightly toasted.  You can also cool the baked logs completely, thena spread the lemon icing, found below, on them, and slice.  Do not return them to the oven to toast.

Note:  For individual cookies, this batter can also be placed by the tablespoon on the cookie sheets before baking.  Then, after they are baked and cooled, they can be iced with the following:

Lemon Icing:

Using 1-1/2 cups confectionary sugar:  for each 1/2 cup of sugar, mix in 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice.  You can also substitute Anisette in place of the lemon juice.  Mix to a smooth but not runny consistency.  Add more sugar or more juice a bit at a time if needed to get a spreadable consistency.  You can decorate with colored sugar or rainbow sprinkles.

Serves 12 or more.


  1. Hi Ann, have not heard from you in a while and I just wanted to say hi and hope you are doing well.

    1. Hi Fr. Richard,

      I'm doing very well! Thanks for visiting here! It looks like you are doing some fabulous things in Vermont! God has certainly blessed you and your parish. You remain in my prayers!

    2. What a blessed journey!! And to be nourished by such delicious food. I love Pilgrimages and to see young people on them is so hopeful...Thanks for posting this inspiration Anne!

  2. What a great idea! Your new vocations director sounds like just the right man for the job. You are blessed.

  3. Sounds like an all around wonderful event!

    God bless you and all those in your post!

  4. This is an amazing and beautiful witness...God Bless Father Luke. And God Bless your awesome cooking challenge, dear Anne. What grace you must receive from your charitable heart:) Sounds like a splendid summer to me!

  5. Sounds like true labor of love, Anne! The meal looks beautiful too. I also love the office blessing. I am going to do a version of it on my cube space later today. :)

  6. Anne, this is such an uplifting and inspirational post! And, your meal looks amazing!!!! "Buon Appetito" as they in Italian!

  7. What a happy group of young men! That picture radiates the joy of Christ.