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May 4
The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Saint of the day:
St. Florian

Patron Saint of chimneysweeps; firefighters; soap boilers; brewers; protector from floods, fires, battles & drowning


St. Florian

The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on May 4th, was an officer of the Roman army, who occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, and who suffered death for the Faith in the days of Diocletian. His legendary "Acts" state that he gave himself up at Lorch to the soldiers of Aquilinus, the governor, when they were rounding up the Christians, and after making a bold confession, he was twice scourged, half-flayed alive, set on fire, and finally thrown into the river Enns with a stone around his neck. His body, recovered and buried by a pious woman, was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz. It is said to have been at a later date translated to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint's relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Cracow. Since that time, St. Florian has been regarded as a patron of Poland as well as of Linz, Upper Austria and of firemen. There has been popular devotion to St. Florian in many parts of central Europe, and the tradition as to his martyrdom, not far from the spot where the Enns flows into the Danube, is ancient and reliable. Many miracles of healing are attributed to his intercession and he is invoked as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water. His feast day is May 4th.

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St. Florian's Church

Warszawska 1b, 31-155 Kraków, Poland





St. Florian's Monastery

Augustiner Chorherrenstift St. Florian, Stiftstraße 1, 4490 St. Florian, Austria

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The Chicago Firefighters Church
also known as 
Church of the Holy Family

Ties to the Great Chicago Fire

The Church of the Holy Family is one of the few buildings in the city to have survived the Chicago Fire in 1871. When the fire broke out, Fr. Arnold Damen was in Brooklyn preaching as a missionary. After being made aware of the fire, he invoked Our Lady of Perpetual Help to protect the church and its nearby structures and promised to light seven candles in front of her statue in the church should she intercede for its protection. The church complex was indeed spared, and seven candles (now electric) perpetually burn in front of her statue in the east transept. Additionally, Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, owners of the cow rumored to have started the fire, were parishioners at Holy Family.

Firefighters, too, have stood by Holy Family, and the Chicago Fire Department now holds its monthly mass in the sanctuary. About 200 Chicago firefighters attend on the third Sunday of each month.







Goulash, Knödel, and Red Cabbage

Austrian Goulash


  • 4 to 5 pounds stew cut meat cut into bite-sized chunks

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon salt and pepper

  • 2 large onions sliced thin

  • Olive oil for searing

  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian Hot Paprika

  • 1 tablespoon mild paprika

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

  • Zest small lemon

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 4 cups tomato sauce 

  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock or water

  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste

  • Flour for searing meat



1.Combine flour, salt and pepper.

2.You will need a large Dutch oven with a lid for best results. Add just enough olive oil to coat the pan and turn the heat high enough to make the oil shimmer, but not smoke.

3.Pat the meat dry and dredge in flour, seasoned with kosher salt & cracked pepper.

4.Add one piece of meat to the hot oil to make sure that it sizzles. Add the remaining meat, without crowding the pan and sear for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. You want a golden crust that will give the gravy great flavor.

5.Cook the meat in batches, if necessary and set aside in a bowl– to collect the juice.

6.When all the meat is seared, turn the heat to medium and add a little more olive oil to the pan and cook the onion until tender– 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook till fragrant– 30 seconds or so.

7.Add the tomato paste and paprika, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

8.Add the tomato sauce, caraway seeds, lemon zest and chicken stock and stir well.

9.Add the seared met and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes and taste for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little more chicken stock or water until it is the consistency of a gravy. Simmer for 2 hours.




Bavarian Semmel Knoedel (Bread Dumplings)


  • 1 loaf French bread or about 8 French-style rolls

  • 2 eggs whisked

  • 1 cup whole milk scalded

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped



Note: You want to be sure that the bread is “stale” by at least one day.

1.Slice the bread into 1/4 inch thickness.

2.In a large bowl, add the bread slices, whisked egg, fresh parsley and kosher salt.

3.Scald the milk to be very hot, but not boiling. Pour that over the bread mixture, cover with a towel or lid and allow to soak for a few minutes.

4.When the milk has cooled to be a safe temperature for your hands, mix the bread mixture until clumped together. Don’t over mix, though! You want all of the ingredients to bind together. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more scalding milk.

5.With wet hands, form into six balls.

6.Chill for 15 to 30 minutes (or overnight).

7.In a pot of salted boiling water, cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

8.This makes a perfect side dish with a stew that has a rich gravy.

Note: For leftover dumplings, slice like cooked potatoes. Fry in some bacon and onion, until lightly browned and pour a whisked egg over. Delicious!

**When forming the balls, squeeze the wet bread mixture a bit to firm it up, and roll them together with a firm touch. It's sort of like making meatballs. By chilling this helps everything to binds together well.



Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)


  • 1 1/2 pounds red cabbage, very thinly sliced

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced

  • 1 large Granny Smith or other semi-tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

  • 1/4 cup salted butter 

  • 2 tablespoons red currant jam, or cherry preserves (optional)

  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 3 juniper berries

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

  • 2 tablespoons water




  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook the onions until just beginning to brown, 7-10 minutes.

  2. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Add more butter if needed.

  3. Add the apple, broth, bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries, red currant jam, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add more broth if needed.

  5. Combine the flour and water until dissolved and stir into the Rotkohl.

  6. Simmer for another minute. Add more salt, sugar and vinegar to taste.

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