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Our Lady of Loreto DIY Gingerbread House Kit

KIT INCLUDES: Graham crackers, royal icing ingredients, candy canes, M&Ms

INGREDIENTS:  M&Ms – milk chocolate, sugar, less than 2% – coloring, dextrin, corn syrup, corn starch; ICING – meringue powder (corn starch, egg whites, sugar, gum arabic, sodium aluminum sulfate, citric acid, potassium acid tartrate, silica, vanillin), powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch); CANDY CANES – sugar, corn syrup, natural flavor, red 40; GRAHAMS – unbleached enriched flour, graham flour, sugar, canola oil, molasses, palm oil, leavening, salt.

Excerpt from The Catholic All Year Compendium

Let’s discuss the “baptizing” of traditions for a moment. The Catholic Church is a universal church. In fact the word “catholic” actually MEANS “universal.” Catholic missionaries have, through the ages, traveled all over the globe to bring to all people the gospel and the message of hope and love of the One True Church founded by Jesus himself.

However, when they would get to any particular new place, the people there would already have customs and traditions, right? Some of them (human sacrifice, polygamy, etc.) would have to go. But others, like a big yearly town festival, or a custom of lighting candles in a wreath during the winter, those aren’t inherently bad and wouldn’t need to be abolished. Instead, the missionaries would seek to find the things in the customs that were True and Beautiful, and to associate them with Catholic Truths and traditions.

There are some secular “traditions” in the lead up to Christmas that I don’t want. Consumerism, greed, movies that glorify that stuff, we don’t need any of that in our Advent. On the other hand, there are all the overtly religious traditions that I work hard to make sure my kids understand, and that I want to be a part of our Advent each year. We make a priority of those things. But there’s also the middle stuff. Not important, but not wrong. Snowmen, reindeer, gifts, particular stories, special cookies, etc. Those are things of which many people, with or without a religious tradition, have fond childhood memories.

I’m totally fine with my kids having fond childhood memories of that stuff too. But, if possible, I want to take a page out of the missionaries’ playbook and baptize it. Enter the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto . . . and gingerbread houses.

The Virgin Mary was from Nazareth of Galilee. She lived in the home of her parents, whom we traditionally call Sts. Anne and Joachim. It was in this home that she was born, where Joseph would come to pick her up for dates—or however that sort of thing used to work. It was where she experienced the Annunciation and humbly consented to be the Mother of God. After traveling to Bethlehem and giving birth to Jesus there, the Holy Family fled for a time to Egypt, then returned to their home in Nazareth to live and raise Jesus. During Jesus’ public ministry, which began after he turned thirty, Mary was often present with him in and around Jerusalem, but we have it from his own mouth that, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). So, Mary would have likely kept her home in Nazareth.

After Jesus, from upon the cross, gave his mother and St. John into the care of one another, tradition holds that they lived in Ephesus, and it is from there that Mary is believed to have been Assumed into heaven. The house in Ephesus is believed by some of the faithful to have been found on the outskirts of the town, and you can go there to visit it if you would like.

But what of Mary’s house in Nazareth? THAT is believed to be . . . in Loreto, Italy. 

The story goes that after Jesus’ Ascension, the apostles converted the home in Nazareth into a chapel. In 336, St. Helena (feast day August 18), mother of Emperor Constantine, and finder of all the good stuff (Jesus’ tunic, the rope that bound him, the three nails, the True Cross, and the locations of Jesus’ birth, crucifixion, and ascension) discovered the location of the home in Nazareth and directed that a basilica be built around it. That basilica existed and there are records of Christians worshipping there for nearly a thousand years. 

At the fall of Jerusalem in the Crusades in the late thirteenth century, the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas were destroyed, and Our Lady’s home itself was threatened with destruction by the Turks. So . . . four angels picked the house up and moved it from Nazareth to a hilltop in Loreto, Italy where it arrived, safe and sound, in 1295. In the sixteenth century a new, grand basilica was built around the small stone house, and pilgrims can visit both today.

While the magisterium has yet to offer an opinion on the legitimacy of the possible home of Our Lady and St. John in Ephesus, there have been several papal bulls (official decrees) in favor of the Shrine at Loreto. The earliest came in 1491, and in 2012 Pope Benedict XVI visited the Shrine. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thérèse of Lisieux both made pilgrimages to the house. Since 1920, Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Loreto has been officially the patroness of air travel, which is just all kinds of awesome, if you ask me.

Despite getting the thumbs up from various popes, there is no requirement for Catholics to have a devotion to Our Lady of Loreto, or to believe in the miracle of the angelic translation of her house. Unlike a dogma (like the Immaculate Conception), Catholics are free to choose whether or not to believe in a particular apparition or miracle or personal revelation—even if it was to a saint. In fact, at least one pope thought it more likely that the other local story was true, the one that says the home was moved by the members of the Angelo FAMILY, who dismantled the house on their way home from the crusades and brought it home to Loreto with them as a pile of stones on a ship, and carefully rebuilt it upon the hill. That story isn’t quite as fun, but it’s still pretty cool. And either story works for our activity for the day, which is . . . making gingerbread houses! . . . 

I like gingerbread houses as an Advent activity because we make them now, and use them as a decoration, but we don’t get to eat them until after Christmas, when they become one of our twelve days of Christmas treats. It’s all about the waiting, although a few candy decorations and fingers-full of icing have been known to make their way into little mouths during the decorating process.

 

$25.00

50 in stock

Want a discount? Become a member by purchasing The Catholic All Year Membership!

Our Lady of Loreto DIY Gingerbread House Kit

$25.00

50 in stock

Want a discount? Become a member by purchasing The Catholic All Year Membership!

KIT INCLUDES: Graham crackers, royal icing ingredients, candy canes, M&Ms

INGREDIENTS:  M&Ms – milk chocolate, sugar, less than 2% – coloring, dextrin, corn syrup, corn starch; ICING – meringue powder (corn starch, egg whites, sugar, gum arabic, sodium aluminum sulfate, citric acid, potassium acid tartrate, silica, vanillin), powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch); CANDY CANES – sugar, corn syrup, natural flavor, red 40; GRAHAMS – unbleached enriched flour, graham flour, sugar, canola oil, molasses, palm oil, leavening, salt.

Excerpt from The Catholic All Year Compendium

Let’s discuss the “baptizing” of traditions for a moment. The Catholic Church is a universal church. In fact the word “catholic” actually MEANS “universal.” Catholic missionaries have, through the ages, traveled all over the globe to bring to all people the gospel and the message of hope and love of the One True Church founded by Jesus himself.

However, when they would get to any particular new place, the people there would already have customs and traditions, right? Some of them (human sacrifice, polygamy, etc.) would have to go. But others, like a big yearly town festival, or a custom of lighting candles in a wreath during the winter, those aren’t inherently bad and wouldn’t need to be abolished. Instead, the missionaries would seek to find the things in the customs that were True and Beautiful, and to associate them with Catholic Truths and traditions.

There are some secular “traditions” in the lead up to Christmas that I don’t want. Consumerism, greed, movies that glorify that stuff, we don’t need any of that in our Advent. On the other hand, there are all the overtly religious traditions that I work hard to make sure my kids understand, and that I want to be a part of our Advent each year. We make a priority of those things. But there’s also the middle stuff. Not important, but not wrong. Snowmen, reindeer, gifts, particular stories, special cookies, etc. Those are things of which many people, with or without a religious tradition, have fond childhood memories.

I’m totally fine with my kids having fond childhood memories of that stuff too. But, if possible, I want to take a page out of the missionaries’ playbook and baptize it. Enter the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto . . . and gingerbread houses.

The Virgin Mary was from Nazareth of Galilee. She lived in the home of her parents, whom we traditionally call Sts. Anne and Joachim. It was in this home that she was born, where Joseph would come to pick her up for dates—or however that sort of thing used to work. It was where she experienced the Annunciation and humbly consented to be the Mother of God. After traveling to Bethlehem and giving birth to Jesus there, the Holy Family fled for a time to Egypt, then returned to their home in Nazareth to live and raise Jesus. During Jesus’ public ministry, which began after he turned thirty, Mary was often present with him in and around Jerusalem, but we have it from his own mouth that, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). So, Mary would have likely kept her home in Nazareth.

After Jesus, from upon the cross, gave his mother and St. John into the care of one another, tradition holds that they lived in Ephesus, and it is from there that Mary is believed to have been Assumed into heaven. The house in Ephesus is believed by some of the faithful to have been found on the outskirts of the town, and you can go there to visit it if you would like.

But what of Mary’s house in Nazareth? THAT is believed to be . . . in Loreto, Italy. 

The story goes that after Jesus’ Ascension, the apostles converted the home in Nazareth into a chapel. In 336, St. Helena (feast day August 18), mother of Emperor Constantine, and finder of all the good stuff (Jesus’ tunic, the rope that bound him, the three nails, the True Cross, and the locations of Jesus’ birth, crucifixion, and ascension) discovered the location of the home in Nazareth and directed that a basilica be built around it. That basilica existed and there are records of Christians worshipping there for nearly a thousand years. 

At the fall of Jerusalem in the Crusades in the late thirteenth century, the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas were destroyed, and Our Lady’s home itself was threatened with destruction by the Turks. So . . . four angels picked the house up and moved it from Nazareth to a hilltop in Loreto, Italy where it arrived, safe and sound, in 1295. In the sixteenth century a new, grand basilica was built around the small stone house, and pilgrims can visit both today.

While the magisterium has yet to offer an opinion on the legitimacy of the possible home of Our Lady and St. John in Ephesus, there have been several papal bulls (official decrees) in favor of the Shrine at Loreto. The earliest came in 1491, and in 2012 Pope Benedict XVI visited the Shrine. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thérèse of Lisieux both made pilgrimages to the house. Since 1920, Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Loreto has been officially the patroness of air travel, which is just all kinds of awesome, if you ask me.

Despite getting the thumbs up from various popes, there is no requirement for Catholics to have a devotion to Our Lady of Loreto, or to believe in the miracle of the angelic translation of her house. Unlike a dogma (like the Immaculate Conception), Catholics are free to choose whether or not to believe in a particular apparition or miracle or personal revelation—even if it was to a saint. In fact, at least one pope thought it more likely that the other local story was true, the one that says the home was moved by the members of the Angelo FAMILY, who dismantled the house on their way home from the crusades and brought it home to Loreto with them as a pile of stones on a ship, and carefully rebuilt it upon the hill. That story isn’t quite as fun, but it’s still pretty cool. And either story works for our activity for the day, which is . . . making gingerbread houses! . . . 

I like gingerbread houses as an Advent activity because we make them now, and use them as a decoration, but we don’t get to eat them until after Christmas, when they become one of our twelve days of Christmas treats. It’s all about the waiting, although a few candy decorations and fingers-full of icing have been known to make their way into little mouths during the decorating process.

 

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