August 5

 

Saint of the day:

Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica


The Story of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica

The Story of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica

First raised at the order of Pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century, the Liberian basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III shortly after the Council of Ephesus affirmed Mary’s title as Mother of God in 431. Rededicated at that time to the Mother of God, St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary. Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it has survived many restorations without losing its character as an early Roman basilica. Its interior retains three naves divided by colonnades in the style of Constantine’s era. Fifth-century mosaics on its walls testify to its antiquity.

St. Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centers of the Church. St. John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter; St. Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, allegedly the see presided over by Mark; St. Peter’s, the See of Constantinople; and St. Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is supposed to have spent most of her later life.

One legend, unreported before the year 1000, gives another name to this feast: Our Lady of the Snows. According to that story, a wealthy Roman couple pledged their fortune to the Mother of God. In affirmation, she produced a miraculous summer snowfall and told them to build a church on the site. The legend was long celebrated by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the basilica’s dome every August 5.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/dedication-of-saint-mary-major-basilica/

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Prayer
 

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Visit
Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

P.za di Santa Maria Maggiore, 00100 Roma RM, Italy

 

Under the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or the Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary designed by Giuseppe Valadier said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ.

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Art

The Madonna of the Pomegranate painted circa 1487 by Sandro Botticelli.

Pomegranates symbolize fertility!

It was thought that a fruit containing so many seeds was a sign of fecundity so people would hang pictures of pomegranates bursting open to bless them with several children. In Feng Shui, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility because of its many red seeds and Italy it is no different. Today we celebrate this feast day with pomegranates! The picture below is the Madonna of the Pomegranate. This picture Mary, the blessed mother, is holding the baby Jesus and a pomegranate surrounded by angles.

​The pomegranate serves as a symbol of fullness of Jesus' suffering and resurrection. In the Christian religion, pomegranates symbolize the transition from life to death and resurrection as it eventually will be born again from the seeds that are left behind. The red seeds displayed in the opened pomegranate are meant to remind the viewer of the bloodshed by Jesus, which saved humankind. The peeled portion of the pomegranate demonstrates non-symmetrical chambers, similar to the cardiac chambers of a heart. Botticelli displays the inner spongy membrane, spitting the arils (seed pods) into five spaces. These spaces represent the atria, ventricles, and the main pulmonary trunk. The crown is separated into two parts, imitating the superior vena cava and the arch of aorta with its 3 branches. The fruit is also being held in front of the left side of the chest, which overlays the position of the heart. These surprising analogies with actual cardiac anatomy and its depiction over the chest make likely the hypothesis of a heart hidden in the fruit held by Mary and Jesus.

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Recipe

Pomegranate Skillet Chicken

A sweet and tart pomegranate chicken that easily comes together in ONE single pan with minimal ingredients! This succulently tender and juicy chicken is just as perfect for entertaining as it is for a quick weeknight meal!
 

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs or breasts if you prefer

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice 

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 lemon juiced

  • 4 cloves garlic finely grated

  • handful pomegranate seeds

  • handful parsley

  • kosher salt to taste

  • pepper to taste
     

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.

  2. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, season with salt and let sit while you make the marinade (up to 30 min is ideal).

  3. Whisk together olive oil, pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice, honey, balsamic, lemon and garlic. Pour marinade over chicken, either in a bowl, glass Tupperware, or resealable plastic bag. Spread the marinade around so all the chicken is evenly coated and let sit at least 30min and up to over night in the fridge.

  4. To cook, place chicken skin side up in a roasting dish, then pour the marinade over the meat. The marinade should generously cover the bottom of the pan.

  5. Cook until the chicken is tender at the bone and a meat or instant read thermometer reaches 165 when inserted inserted in the thickest part (about 25 minutes for breasts and 45 for thighs. If using both light and dark meat, remove the breasts while the thighs keep cooking then return the breasts to the pan in the oven once the thighs are done.

  6. Crank the oven to 450 and let the sauce reduce and the skin get dark brown and crispy, about 12 min longer. Brush the chicken with the marinade from the pan every 3-4 minutes to glaze them.

  7. Serve warm and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.

  8. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Remember: Dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat. Adjust cooking times to accommodate cut of chicken. 

  • Use an instant read thermometer to ensure that your chicken comes out perfectly moist with crispy skin each and every time! It is done when the temperature reaches 165, regardless of cut. 

  • If pomegranates are out of season, simply skip sprinkling the fresh seeds on the chicken post oven! 

  • If you own a cast iron skillet, this is a great time to use it! If you don’t, any oven safe pan can work. 

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Frozen Pomegranate Margaritas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 small limes, cut into wedges

  • 3 cups ice, plus more as needed

  • 2 ounces silver tequila, plus more to preference

  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice

  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice, from lime wedges

  • 1 ounce agave syrup, or simple syrup/honey- optional

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils, as garnish- optional
     

Directions

  1. Salt the rim: Add salt onto a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of two glasses. Turn each glass upside down and thoroughly coat rim into salt. Then set glasses aside.

  2. To make frozen pomegranate margaritas: In a high speed blender: add in ice, tequila, fresh pomegranate and lime juice, and agave syrup (if using). Blend together until well combined. Taste and adjust the alcohol level to your desired preference, if you prefer.

  3. Serving: Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with pomegranate arils, if desired. Enjoy!

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