Tag Archives: summer

When Louisiana’s Highway 1 was the pathway to paradise

By the last day of school, we were well on our way with plans for our summer vacation. Freedom rang while swinging from willow branches into the cool waters of the Mississippi. We fished from the sandbar, captured crawfish behind Mamere’s, and caught river shrimp during the June Rise, the second annual flood of the spring.

By mid-July, however, we were restless. That’s when Daddy packed all eight of us into his 1949 Chevrolet Coupe for a vacation at Grand Isle – a sportsman’s paradise! We were joined by most of our extended family and a few of Daddy’s coworkers. 

We followed Highway 1 — mostly gravel then — from Bayou Lafourche, LA to the Gulf of Mexico. After hours of traveling, we pulled into the Shady Rest Apartments, where the boys and men stayed in one house while the women, girls, and babies stayed in another. To us, the Shady Rest was like Buckingham Palace. There were several wood-paneled rooms with mismatched furniture and one wall-mounted window fan that blew air for 25 cents an hour. We were in the lap of luxury!

No sooner had we arrived than the boys darted to the beach for a swim. After an hour or so, the men arrived with dogwood crabbing poles, scoop nets, and bait. We brought beef tripe (the bait) with us that had been purchased from either Chiquet’s Meat Market in St. James or ordered from “Chewing Gum” Poirrier’s mobile butcher shop. We tied the bait to the crab line, carefully spacing the meat 3 feet apart. Then we took turns walking the line with the scoop net and collecting those blue jewels of the gulf in wooden hampers.

The great thing about the apartments was the outdoor screened houses, where fresh-caught seafood was cleaned and prepared. The crabs were rinsed of sand, then tossed into the boiling water that had been seasoned with the pungent aromas of Zatarain’s Crab Boil, freshcut lemons, and onions. After what seemed an eternity, the boiled crabs, corn, and potatoes were poured onto the outdoor tables that were spread with past issues of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune.

Grand Isle vacations were a family ritual that always included Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church. They were wonderfully predictable until the year my sister, Ruth, brought a few girlfriends along, creating a whole new level of excitement. My brothers and I fought to teach the girls to crab. We offered them the best bait in the bucket. Our chivalry knew no end. We even offered “our guests” the fullest crabs at the evening boil. Of all our years at Grand Isle, that particular summer truly was paradise!

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle Catholic, he supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

MICHAELA D. YORK is vice president of communications for John Folse & Company.


OVEN-BAKED GARLIC CRABS

Prep Time: 1 Hour • Yield: 4-6 Servings

Comment:

This crab recipe calls for many cloves of garlic. Once the garlic has been sautéed in the butter sauce and baked with the crabs, it becomes quite sweet. The garlic can then be spread on French bread and dipped in the butter sauce from the baking pan. Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 dozen crabs, cleaned
40 cloves garlic, sliced

1 pound melted butter
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Pour in olive oil to prevent butter from burning. Add sliced garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, green onions, parsley, and bay leaves. Stir constantly to prevent garlic from scorching (over-browned garlic will taste bitter). Season to taste with Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

Place crabs in a large casserole dish with a one-to two-inch lip and cover with garlic butter mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes, remove from oven, and serve warm with hot French bread.

When summer vacation begins in March

For Legate Kevin Kelly, Ohio’s recent coronavirus stay-at-home orders were less of an imposition and more of a joy.

Two of his eight children came home from college, joining two of their younger siblings, and overall, Kelly said, everyone liked having extra “hang-out” time. They watched movies, prayed the rosary together and on Sundays, gathered in one spot for a live-streamed Mass, something Kelly seized as an opportunity to talk about the Mass and its meaning in their lives.

Although state-enforced sheltering-in orders have been stressful for many households, for families whose lives are informed by the Catholic faith, increased togetherness has often been more blessing than blight.

Some enjoy, others not so much. “It feels a little awkward saying it, but we’ve actually enjoyed it,” said Dr. Christopher Stroud, a Legate whose household includes his mother and mother-in-law plus five children between 11 and 22. “It’s been like an extended spring break or extended Christmas vacation.” During the shutdown, they selected movies for everyone to view, played board games, and had long discussions, discovering a greater sense of closeness, interdependency, and solidarity.

Still, not everyone shares that experience. Higher rates of some kinds of domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide were reported amid the sheltering-in restrictions, according to Dr. Susan Hatters Friedman, a professor of forensic psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, writing in the New York Daily News. In addition, a FoxBusiness report said attorneys were seeing an increase in divorce inquiries with one lawyer predicting the quarantines could hasten divorces for marriages on the brink.

Greg Schlueter, who leads a family-focused ministry known as Mass Impact, said even among Catholic parents, social media postings indicated that not all took delight in having more time with their children. For him, that revealed a crisis at the heart of the crisis. “Too many of us ‘good Catholic parents’ have delegated our unsurpassed, irreplaceable appointing and anointing. Too many of us are languishing without knowing and embracing God’s vision for our marriages, families, and homes.”

Reorienting responsibility. Schlueter, a father of six, has tried looking upon the coronavirus restrictions as an occasion for families to more fully recognize and rely upon Christ, and for parents to reclaim responsibilty often consigned to churches and schools. “It’s almost as if God reached into our activity-addicted, spaz-fest culture of delegated parenthood and said, ‘Stop!’ Or rather, with regard to rediscovering and living in our God-designed nature: ‘Start!’”

Through its “I Love My Family” program, Schlueter’s ministry encourages families to dedicate weekly time to meaningful conversation and prayer, making their homes places of ever-deepening encounter with Christ.

The ministry provides a “Live IT Gathering Guide,” available free online, and can be used to discuss and pray over the Sunday Mass readings. The guide includes an outline with prayers and questions for strengthening family relationships. It is coordinated with a “Family Road Trip” radio broadcast on which several families discuss their own experiences with weekly “Live IT” meetings. “I Love My Family” also offers in-person meetings for groups of couples and families, but with those suspended during the coronavirus restrictions, some groups have met on Zoom and the ministry has aired an interactive Parental Pow-Wow on Facebook and YouTube.

Schlueter said many families who start “Live IT” gatherings in their homes previously had some practice of formal family prayer, such as the rosary, but not a way to engage in meaningful, relational encounters with each other. When they overcome the initial awkwardness, he said families often experience transformation.

Kelly noted that although his family has not incorporated “Live IT” into their prayer times, he has seen its fruit in other families and in one of his own sons, who went through a period of not relating to his faith. Through participation in a “Live IT” youth gathering, “He became really alive in his faith and learned it.”

Boosting communication. Steve Findley, whose family used “Live IT” for about six years, said their communication improved to such a degree that he can’t imagine what sheltering-in with six children from 6 to 20 would have been like without it.

His wife, Lorna, noticed very few challenges during the stay-at-home restrictions. “I think our ability to handle this and be happy in it is largely due to the amount of communication we have in our prayer life and faith. Having that focus makes all the difference.”

Their family has learned to open up and discuss their struggles through the weekly “Live IT” gatherings, which provide opportunities to affirm, seek forgiveness, and to pray with and ask for prayer from each other. Sharing and discussing a problem with the family, she said, lightens the burden for those who are struggling. “Being a bigger family, it’s always a noisy challenge because everyone wants to talk at the same time, but it’s great to be able to communicate and respect each other.” Because of the gatherings, Lorna said, “Without a doubt, our faith, our marriage, and everything across the board has grown.”

Even though she initially was uncertain about the effect that sheltering-in would have, she found the result has been something of an answer to prayer. “The way God can do good through hard things is so evident . . . Really, very quickly, the good fruit of it was abundantly obvious from the get-go.”

Schlueter said “Live IT” participants like the Findleys have embraced the coronavirus circumstances as a way to spend meaningful time together, recalibrate who they are, and go deeper into their souls, marriages, and families.

Purifying priorities. Liz Erickson, whose family is part of the “Live IT” ministry, said sheltering-in has given her and her husband, Walt, more quality time. They have been praying together more as a couple, and with their six children. This has extended to her parents, siblings, and their families, who have begun praying the rosary together on Zoom every Sunday. “That was not happening before,” she said.

Stroud, an obstetrician/gynecologist, said he has heard many stories like his own of families who are seeing the benefit of slowing down and being at home during the coronavirus restrictions. At his Legatus men’s forum recently, he said one of the questions the members considered was “what will you do differently post-pandemic?” “A lot said they were going to try to be less busy and savor going to Mass more. It was kind of a universal response and I would certainly echo that. Why did we need an international pandemic to tell people to slow down and be less scheduled?”

He sees the stay-at-home orders as a good time to learn to love people for what makes them unique. “Sometimes the things that make a family member unique can get under your skin. It’s a good time to thank God for their uniqueness, and a good time to reflect on how we have to love each other, and that it’s not always rainbows and daffodils.”

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Financial advisor-turned-custodian sings Catholic camp praises

For each of the last six summers, our family has traveled from New Jersey to the scenic Lakes region of New Hampshire. There, our daughter has attended Camp Bernadette and our sons, Camp Fatima. These camps, opening in 1953 and 1949, respectively, have enhanced the spiritual formation of our children with a simplistic joy that radiates into our home.

Driving into the camp envelops in me a nostalgic feeling of yesteryear. I’m brought back to my youth, where I see kids playing outside from sunup until sundown. The campers play on fields and ropes courses, they shoot baskets and archery, ride horses, climb rock walls, play tennis, swim, boat, and much more. They play with no ear buds, no cell phones, and no remotes in their hands. The kids talk with one another face-to-face with no blue screen in front of them. Together, away from technology and other secular evils that creep into our daily lives, campers and counselors live in community and fellowship in God’s beautiful creation. They have an opportunity to participate in Rosary Club, adoration, and Reconciliation, and they join in community sharing prayers, meals, and Mass.

In 2017, after four years of watching our children thrive as children of God in a setting reminiscent of my childhood in the ‘70s and ‘80s, where people understood our beautiful faith and were not afraid to express it, I found myself yearning to be a part of it. I reached out to executive director Michael Drumm, expressing an interest in getting more involved intimately to help fulfil the camps’ mission of providing a fun and engaging outdoor experience where campers and staff learn new skills and grow in faith, confidence, and friendship in a joyful Catholic community offering a sense of belonging for all. I was given the opportunity to volunteer in the maintenance department for two weeks.

Like anything that brings deep joy and meaning to our lives, describing the emotions I feel while volunteering at Camp Fatima each summer is difficult. Camp is a place where I see the charisms of faith, hope, and charity exuded by staff and campers alike. During Mass, prayer, and teaching, I witness a joyful participation and am filled with exultation and hope for our children and this generation.

The camps fall under the Diocese of Manchester Catholic Schools’ Office and are open to children of all faiths. Approximately 70 percent of the over 1,600 campers who attended camp in 2018 attend public schools. Camp may be the only time during the year they are purposefully anchored in a Catholic surrounding receiving doctrinal teaching and encountering our Living God in their everyday lives. Here, campers play and learn alongside practicing Catholics (campers and counselors), seminarians, their chaplain, and Sr. Bernadette.

Last summer, I spoke with one mom who said her daughter doesn’t feel comfortable in her school environment where she is made fun of for being a “church kid.” She said her daughter is not comfortable sleeping outside of her home, but that she LOVES camp and believes it should be a boarding school. Another mom said it was a place where her son started saying the rosary and now walks regularly with his Bible. Counselors and staff will tell you that it is not uncommon to see campers wearing their Fatma and Bernadette crosses (given to them on the last night of camp) months after the camping season has ended.

The seeds that are planted at camp have brought forth a harvest as well. Many campers and staff have deepened their faith, been baptized, gone through RCIA, been confirmed, and fully initiated into our Catholic faith. Some have entered seminary and become ordained priests, shepherding the many who have gone on to live out their vocations as married couples raising the future generation of our Church.

Our children have shared in the joy of an authentic Catholic community, they have made friends who embrace our shared faith, they are stronger evangelists in their everyday world. Three summers ago, when we shared that I would be volunteering at camp, our children were less than excited that I would be entering their own oasis of joy. Today, we plan with an eagerness for this shared experience where they will have fun and play, and I will be on the sidelines hammering, nailing, and painting and knowing that the Holy Spirit is alive and well at camp.

LEGATE BRIAN DEANE, Newark Chapter, is married to his high school sweetheart, Janine Butz. They live in Saddle River, New Jersey with their three children, Julianne, Kevin, and Sean. Brian is founder of Apostolic Financial Advisers LLC, and can be reached at Brian@ApostolicFa.com.