Saint Mark’s feast day is upon us! How are you celebrating and using the day to reflect on this life of Jesus’s faithful servant? Here are a few suggestions.
If you have kids, there’s a fantastic podcast put out by the markers of Shining Light Dolls that gives us a simple history of saints on their feast day and tells a memorable story about their life. Our family loves this podcast. They are short and easy to listen to over a simple meal or even on a car ride to school. To make it even easier, here’s the one on Saint Mark:
What is a feast without . . . well, a feast?! For inspiration I grabbed my two favorite saints and feast day cookbooks. They did not disappoint. Beautiful pictures of the food, the history and a fun fact about St. Mark and lovely artwork (one with a menacing lion peeking under the gospel writer’s pen). The first comes from the book Saintly Feasts: Food for Saints and Scholars who chose their recipe as they were inspired by an old Dutch saying, “Sowed on Saint Mark’s before the sun will give a pumpkin like a tun.” I’m not really sure what that means, but the recipe looks amazing! Spicy stuffed pumpkin might look more like mashed pumpkin depending on if we can locate a whole pumpkin somewhere.
From the Cooking with the Saints Cookbook we have three amazing looking recipes. A Lebanese dish called Mujaddara bi Fasoulia, which is made with pinto beans, caramelized onions and cracked wheat. The second item on the menu is a country salad called Salat Baladi made with mint, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, oils and spices—it sounds refreshing and like something I’ll be making a lot as the garden starts producing tomatoes and cucumbers by the dozens. Desert is Kick el Foukara, a milk pudding with a mix of almonds, pistachios, walnuts and a touch of orange blossom water!
How fantastic it would be to venerate St. Mark “the roaring lion” if at all possible at his basilica in Venice, Italy! The five senses are completely captured and found rising up as an offering to God through the gorgeous Venetian artist’s work found throughout St. Marks Basilica, the clouds of incense filling and rising up with our prayers and worship as lead by the choir accompanied by the organ, the stories from the Bible told by the mosaics that cover the walls and ceilings inside and out. Saint Mark’s basilica is not a place you can enter without feeling the weight of a place where God is honored and worshiped well by His people.
As that isn’t possible, physically, for most of us who are a part of this universal Church, why not do a pilgrimage via the internet? You can look up the magnificent museums, the church, the mosaics that make up the outer walls, what his tomb and alter look like, and the amazing Venetian art that honor God throughout the basilica. Such an influence on the city of Venice, you will find the winged Lions throughout the city and on the Veneto flag. Holding a book in times of peace and a sword for times of war, it is a beautiful tribute to Mark, the evangelist and martyr, by the city which houses his relic.