December 9


Saint of the day:
Saint Juan Diego

Patron Saints of Indigenous people

Saint Juan Diego’s Story

Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church’s first saint indigenous to the Americas.

The Holy Father called the new saint “a simple, humble Indian” who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. “In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the Church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through,” John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico’s 64 indigenous groups.

First called Cuauhtlatohuac (“The eagle who speaks”), Juan Diego’s name is forever linked with Our Lady of Guadalupe because it was to him that she first appeared at Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of his story is told in connection with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. After the roses gathered in his tilma were transformed into the miraculous image of Our Lady, however, little more is said about Juan Diego.

In time he lived near the shrine constructed at Tepeyac, revered as a holy, unselfish. and compassionate catechist who taught by word and especially by example.

During his 1990 pastoral visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II confirmed the long-standing liturgical cult in honor of Juan Diego, beatifying him. Twelve years later he was proclaimed a saint.




Songs of the season:

Let Us Adore Him

Harry Connick Jr. - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 



Mexican Wedding Cookies 


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar for coating baked cookies

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces 


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  

  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth, 5 minutes.

  4. Beat in the vanilla.

  5. At low speed gradually add the flour.

  6. Mix in the pecans with a spatula.

  7. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent.

  8. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies.

  9. Place onto prepared cookie sheets.

  10. Bake for 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners' sugar.

  11. Cool on wire racks.   

Home made Marshmallows!


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

  2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

  4. With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

  5. Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares or use cookie cutters to shape them. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar.

Ground Beef Empanadas (Picadillo)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 8 ounces ground beef chuck

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup drained green pitted olives, chopped

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cup canned tomato puree or sauce

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing

  • One 1-pound package frozen puff pastry

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. Heat the oil in a heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef chuck and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

  3. Add the olives, raisins, carrots and onions and saute for just a couple minutes until softened.

  4. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature before filling the empanadas. 

  6. Grease a large baking sheet with some nonstick cooking spray.

  7. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to a 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness.

  8. With a knife, cut out 4 equal squares measuring 4 1/2-by-5 1/2-inches.

  9. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooled beef mixture to the center of the square.

  10. Brush the edge of each square with some egg wash and fold to shape into triangles.

  11. Crimp the edges with a fork.

  12. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash.

  13. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.



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