Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary

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St. Anna and her daughter Mary

If you are a Roman Catholic, you may not be familiar with this feast, which came to the west from the east in the fifteenth century. But if you are an Eastern Rite Catholic, chances are this is an important day in your local church.

Mary entered the Temple with a pure heart.

The feast comes from the ancient story, recorded by St. Jerome in the fourth century, that Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim, brought their three-year old daughter to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate her life to God’s service.

Presentation of the Virgin Mary

In the east the day is called “Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple.” Mary will herself become the Temple, the sanctuary where God dwells. Through baptism and the Eucharist, we, too are invited to become temples where God has a home.

Rejoice in this commemoration that falls so near the season of Advent. Mary and Joseph search for a place where God may be born. The search goes on, in each of our hearts and in each of our lives, for a place where God may be born and grow.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Because Mary entered the Temple with a pure heart, consider making this simple, and not too sweet dessert in her honor today. The dessert is called “Snow Hearts,” and you’ll need either one large heart-shaped mold or several small ones. That’s really the only tricky part of the dish.

You’ll need: 1 package of lemon gelatin and 2 egg whites

Prepare the gelatin according to package directions and chill it in a medium-to-large-sized bowl until it is slightly thickened, but not set.

Take the gelatin out of the refrigerator and put it in a pan of ice cubes and water to keep the contents of the bowl cold.

Pour 2 egg whites into the gelatin and whip the mixture with an electric hand beater (on high) until it is fluffy and thick, like whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the mold(s) and put it back into the refrigerator to set until firm.

When you’re ready to serve, dip the mold briefly in hot water (careful not to let any water into the dessert itself) to loosen the contents. Invert over a serving plate. If you have them, garnish the dessert with sliced strawberries or some other fresh fruit.

If you can’t bear to waste the 2 egg yolks, you can use them to make a thin custard to pour over the dessert. Or, you can save them in the refrigerator to add to tomorrow morning’s breakfast eggs.

Music for today, “Queen of Peace” and “Holiness is Faithfulness” By Danielle Rose: