infantjesus-prague1The feast of the Infant of Prague  January 14
Appeal to the Infant of Prague in times of desperation, to stop an epidemic or for abundance
Few novenas promise the instantaneous results of those to the Infant of Prague. It necessitates a suspension of all doubt as it is completed in one day over a nine-hour time span. Perhaps the most invoked aspect of Christ in the world, this novena promises that anything is possible for those who believe. Christ is presented as both a kindly child and a king. The Infant of Prague is a statue of the child Jesus dressed in actual clothing. Instead of the modest garments of a poor child, he is wearing the sumptuous gown of royalty. Because the Infant of Prague looks like a little doll, we are welcome to approach him with the open faith of a child. Reflecting the faith of Jesus, the novena requires an intensity of devotion. Many people have a version of this statue in their homes, as it is said to guarantee abundance. This novena, frequently utilized by those in financial difficulties, can be said during any desperate situation.
POWERFUL NOVENA IN TIMES OF DISTRESS TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUE
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so lovingly said,
“Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find;
knock and it shall be opened to you,” have mercy on me now,
and through the intercession of our most holy Mother,
I humbly ask you to grant me the grace I need.
(Mention your request)
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so compassionately taught,
“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes,”
have pity on me now. I do believe; help me.
Increase my weak faith through the Blessed Mother’s intercession.
I humbly ask you to answer my request.
(Mention your request)
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who once said to the Apsotles:
“If you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to the mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
Hear my prayer, I humbly ask.
Through the intercession of Mary most holy,
I feel certain that my prayer will be answered.
(Mention your request)
Because this novena is said for those in great distress or emergency situations, it is completed in one day.
Say this novena nine times in a row at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours.
An edited excerpt from “Novena: The Power of Prayer”

Dining with the Saints

caravaggio_-_burial_of_st_lucyrev

Cuccia for St. Lucy’s Day

Sicilians eat cuccia in honor of St. Lucy to this day because of a miracle attributed to her that happened in 1582. That year Sicily was suffering from a terrible famine, and a flotilla of ships carrying grain showed up on December 13—either in Palermo or in Siracusa. December 13 is St. Lucy’s saint’s day. The people of Sicily felt that this huge blessing was the work of their beloved saint.

The people where so famished that they didn’t wait to grind the wheat; rather they boiled the grains whole. Sicilians honor the memory of Santa Lucia on December 13 by refusing to eat anything made with ground flour—no bread, no pasta, the staples of their diet.

Sicilians eat sweet cuccia on Santa Lucia’s day and only then. It’s especially popular in Palermo and in Siracusa, where Lucy was born. It’s made by mixing boiled whole wheat berries with sweetened ricotta, usually sheep’s milk ricotta. It’s served warm and makes a really delicious afternoon snack. Every cook, usually the mom in a Sicilian family, flavors cuccia in their own personal way, creating a taste their family comes to expect each year. You can add candied citron or orange peel, honey, a few shavings of chocolate, cinnamon, orange flower water. I prefer mine with toasted pine nuts and raisins, sugar, and a dusting of cinnamon.

Sweet Cuccia with Pine Nuts and Raisins

(Makes 4 servings)1 cup hard wheat berries (avoid red wheat berries, as they don’t cook up soft enough)

Sicilian sea salt (from Trapani)

1 cup whole milk ricotta, cow or sheep’s milk

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

A few drops of vanilla extract

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup raisins soaked in a tablespoon or so of sweet Marsala

A dusting of ground cinnamon

Soak the wheat berries overnight in abundant cool water. Drain them. Pour them into a saucepan. Cover them with  fresh water by at least four inches. Add about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down so the wheat can cook at a low simmer, partially cover the pan, and cook until the wheat is tender and has just started to burst, about an hour. If the water level gets low at any time during cooking, just add a little.

 

Drain the wheat and pour it into a pretty serving bowl. Mix the ricotta with the powdered sugar and the vanilla, and fold it into the wheat. Add the pine nuts and raisins with their Marsala soaking liquid. Mix gently. Dust the top with ground cinnamon. Serve warm.