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Finding Faith Over Fear

There is a wonderful lady in Montoursville, Mrs. Dora Pioli. She is 86 years young and always lets me know when it’s time to take a break from the political goings-on of our Nation. She encourages me to use the power of the pen for positivity. This to provide hope and understanding of what’s most important in today’s world. That is exactly what I am going to do this week. Thank you, my dear friend, and always reel me in when you feel necessary.

As we have now sprung ahead into daylight savings time, let’s talk about what is most important on God’s green Earth. The Lenten season’s reflection and preparation leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There has never been a time when one’s faith has been more important. There has never been a time when one’s faith is being tested more by fear and division.

For those that may have lost a little faith over the last year, this is a time to recommit yourself and examine your beliefs. The giving up of something during Lent is intended to show personal sacrifice and your commitment to Christianity. It is to be a living example of putting faith ahead of self. However, just because you give up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Eggs doesn’t make you a good Christian. It is the learning, practicing, and commitment to God and his Son during the Lenten season that is most important. The giving up of something mortal is only the icing on the cake that you wait until Easter day to eat.
I always enjoyed my conversations with Father John Manno. He would stress that one’s Lenten obligation could also be volunteering time, money, or effort within the community — anything done above normal effort in the name of Jesus Christ to make the world a better place. Most importantly, it has to come from the heart, not be done just to satisfy your Lenten obligation. Father believed that those with the strongest faith would do both — by skipping those sweets and going above and beyond to help mankind.

However, this is a personal choice. It is my thought that the best thing about doing work for the Lord is that if you have failed to this point on what you gave up for Lent, or maybe haven’t made a commitment, there is no better time than the present to reflect on the message of Jesus Christ. Show some love and kindness to make the world a better place in some manner.

If you have fallen away from your faith for whatever reason or maybe never had the opportunity to learn about God’s love shared through his Son Jesus Christ, there is no better time than the present. It is the greatest and most important story ever told.

It is up to all of us, not just the clergy of the church, to share the message of Jesus Christ and try to change the world for the better. It will take the love of fellow man to change anything for the good. Most importantly, we can prevent fear from controlling our thoughts and emotions through a strong faith and the understanding of eternal life.

As most of you know, one of the traditions of the Catholic faith is no meat on Fridays. I always looked forward to the different cuisine choices this provided. My grandfather, Pappy Maietta, and the Pioli family shared one of them — salmon cakes or croquettes, often served with tomato soup. I have a little tip on how to improve this longtime tradition.

My grandfather always used canned salmon, and that’s what I used to carry on the family tradition. In recent years I switched over to fresh salmon, which is more readily available in today’s world. It actually costs less than a better can of salmon.

How do you add the fresh salmon to your cakes or croquettes? Simply use the same amount your recipe calls for in place of the canned. You must cook the fresh salmon or buy precooked. Dab off the excess moisture with a paper towel and add it into your mix — bake or fry as normal.

If you’re looking to try to make salmon cakes or croquettes for the first time, just substitute salmon in your favorite crab cake or chicken croquette recipe.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone. Sticking with the food theme, I’m looking forward to another tradition. My mother-in-law, Theresa, always makes corned beef and cabbage to celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day. It always puts a smile on my face when I think about it, not only because it’s delicious, but I usually enjoy it while watching the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the feast of Saint Patrick, began in Ireland in the 17th century. It was started as a celebration to commemorate the arrival of Christianity.

The symbolism of the shamrock as an Irish tradition began with Saint Patrick. The Christian missionary used the young sprig to explain the trilogy, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The lush green Irish three-leafed plant provided the perfect trusting point to convert the non-believers to Christianity. Over the course of history, the shamrock has become the most recognizable symbol of Ireland.

Please get out and about and observe Lent and St. Paddy’s Day while enjoying this beautiful spring weather.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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