NEW FAIRFIELD – Dozens of people gathered at St. Edward the Confessor Parish to receive a Blessing of the Food on the eve of the celebration of Easter.
“For 40 days we have been preparing by works of charity, fasting and self-sacrifice, in preparation for the great feast of the Resurrection,” said Father Robert Wolfe. “This Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection is a time when all things are made new. Let us pray that the Lord will bless these Easter foods so that we may celebrate with hearts renewed on this feast of our salvation.”
Dozens of baskets of food were laid at the foot of the altar in the parish hall. The altar was adorned with Easter Lilies surrounded by a variety of white, pink and yellow flowers. It is a Slavic tradition, where baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday.
Father Wolfe blessed the Easter baskets that were filled with bread, eggs, meat and other food items. Many of the baskets were adorned with embroidered white linens, sprigs of boxwood, the typical Easter evergreen and ribbons, woven through basket handles. There was even a whimsical touch of a child, who attached a stuffed animal to one of the baskets.
“Our Lenten fasting is a reminder of our hunger and thirst for holiness, which is satisfied only by Christ who feeds and nourishes us by His Word and sacraments,” said Father Wolfe. “When we gather at our first meal of Easter may this food be a sign for us of that heavenly banquet to which the Lord calls us.”
The blessing of food on the eve of Easter is a very meaningful tradition for many in the parish.
“It’s a tradition I grew up with,” said Ella Palac, a parishioner of St. Edward the Confessor for 17 years. “Once you bless the foods, the Easter tradition begins. It’s something to look forward to after Lent.”
Father Wolfe prayed over the Easter Bread that symbolizes Christ the Living Bread to feed us on our journey through life, the Easter Cheese to teach us that Christians should have moderation in all things, the Easter Ham, Kielbasa and meats as a symbol of sacrificial animals of the Old Testament and Easter Eggs as a symbol of new life, abundance, and prosperity.
After praying over them, Father Wolfe sprinkled Holy Water over the parishioners and the baskets of food.
“This was my grandpa’s tradition because he was Slovak,” said Jennifer Marra, who attended the afternoon blessing with her family. “It makes us feel like he is with us and it makes us feel closer to him.”
At the conclusion of the blessing, Father Wolfe was thankful for the gift of homemade cheese and Kielbasa.
“May all of these foods,” Father Wolfe said,” remind us of the goodness of creation and the abundant blessings God has given to us.”