Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Polish Donuts And Lenten Preperation Equals "Pączki Day"

Pączki is pronounced puonch-key

Every month I'm a guest on Relevant Radio's daily call-in spiritual direction show "The Inner Life," hosted by Chuck Neff. Last week the producer wrote me about the topic for today's show and wondered if I wanted to talk about Lent. My first reaction was "No! We're going to have 40 days of Lent. No need to start it early." Instead, I thought it would be good to talk about Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or, as it's often called in the Polish community of Milwaukee, Paczki Day. Is it OK for Christians to have fun? Of course! Jesus had fun. Unfortunately much of our religious art makes Jesus look as though he never cracked a smile and never laughed. He appears very somber and even scarey. But this can't be the way Jesus really was. No one would want to go near Him. Certainly not the children. Yet Jesus attracted droves of people to Himself. So Jesus must have smiled, laughed, had a good time, and genuinely enjoyed life. He even described heaven in terms of a big party or wedding feast and when He participated in a feast where the wine had run out, He made more. But what about "Fat Tuesday" and all the excesses we see? The tradition of over-indulging seems to have arisen from the logic that since we're going to have to fast and pray and go to confession, now's the time to party. This isn't really the best way to enter into Lent. 
Link (here) to read the full post by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J. and his totally awesome blog, Offer it Up!


TonyD said...

Jesus attracted droves, but not because he “smiled, laughed, had a good time, and genuinely enjoyed life”. He was someone who had experienced evil, and could make recommendations about how others could avoid evil.

The world still needs such people – teachers who can carry on the message of Jesus. The Jesuits have that potential, and they are asked to become such people. If they prefer to deliver other messages, then they should not claim to be followers of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Alas! I live among Norwegian and German Lutherans who wouldn't know a paczki if they saw one.

L40 said...

Anon...tell'em to crack out the lefse and the seven layer cake the old lut'ern church ladies make...but just say nooooooooooo to the lut'fisk!!!

Joe Mroz SJ said...

Is it really on Tuesday? In my experience it is on the Thursday precedent - tłusty czwartek, or schmutziger Dienstag. Perhaps the Poles in Milwaukee have been Irishized.