November 15, 2007  NEWSLETTER


Not too many years ago the preparations for the Christmas holidays began on the day after Thanksgiving. Now it all starts right after Halloween – and sometimes before! Everyone gets anxious and wants to get the shopping done early. It gets to be a busy time of year but it should be fun too.

Here at we are also getting ready for the Christmas season and  I want to give you a gift to help you prepare for the spiritual dimension of Christmas. We are happy to announce

A Free Gift for You


Four Free Audio Presentations to help you prepare for the celebration of the coming of God’s Son on Christmas.


Here’s The Topics:

  • I    The Life and Legend of Saint Nicholas: How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
  • II   How Our Christmas Celebration Came To Be: The History of Christmas
  • III  The Stories of Jesus’ Birth in the Gospels
  • IV  The Liturgies of Christmas: The Lessons of the Four Christmas Masses


To learn more about this free gift and the Advent Series click this link





Click here to see the new Italian Wedding Traditions and Wedding Cookie page or go to home page and click on the pages listed on the left.


Italian Hazelnut Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Here’s  a great tasting cookie that combines several traditional Italian flavors – espresso, chocolate and hazelnut. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

2  cups all-purpose flour
1  cup (packed) brown sugar
3  tablespoons cornstarch
1  tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
¾  teaspoon salt
1  cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3  cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
2  tablespoons hot water
2  ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

+ Preheat oven to 350 F – Blend flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon espresso powder and salt in processor.

+ Add butter and vanilla. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add nuts; blend until finely chopped. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Knead just until dough comes together.

+ Divide dough in half. Press each half into a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (You need two tart pans or bake one at a time)

+ Bake until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer shortbread pan to rack; cool 2 minutes. Remove pan sides. Cut each shortbread round into 12 or 16 wedges. Cool completely

+ Mix 2 tablespoons hot water and remaining 1 teaspoon espresso powder in small saucepan. Add chocolate. Stir over low heat until chocolate is smooth.

+ Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets.  (Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month).


Saints, angels, God, Jesus, and Mary are frequently invoked by Italians in their everyday speech. Such expressions are not signs of disrespect, but are part of common speech patterns. They are generally used to add emphasis to what one is saying.

Expressions invoking God and the saints will vary from region to region. While a Neapolitan will say San Gennaro, pensaci tu! (Saint Janarius, take care of us!), a Sicilian may repeat Gesu`, Giuseppe, e Maria! (Jesus, Joseph and Mary) or Bedda Madre! (Blessed Mother!).

Dio sia ringraziato or Grazie a Dio (Thanks be to God) and Dio sia lodato (God be praised) are used to express gratitude and thankfulness.

In nome di Dio (in God’s name) or Per l’amor di Dio (for the love of God) gives more force to a prayer or a request.

Se Dio vuole! Dio piacendo! Faccia Dio! Come Dio vuole! (God willing! As God wills!) expresses hope or resignation.

Dio ti assista (May God assist you), Dio sia con te (May God be with you), Dio ti guardi (May God keep you) are expressions of goodwill.

Dio ce la mandi buona, Dio ce ne guardi, Dio non voglia (God forbid) may even exorcize evil spirits.

O Dio! (O God) and Dio mio! (My God) are common forms of invocation.

To express impatience, surprise, disappointment, anger, happiness, and other strong emotions, you will hear the following: Dio, che confusione! (Oh God, what confusion!); Dio buono! (Good God!); per Dio! (For God’s sake!); Dio santo! (For God’s sake!); santo Iddio! (Holy God!); Dio, che gioia! (God, what joy!); Dio, che pena! (God, what a pain!); Gesu`, come ti trovo cambiata! (Jesus, how it’s changed!); Gesu`, che spavento! (Jesus, what a scare!); Non c’e` Cristo, non ci sono cristi indicates that there isn’t any possibility to achieve a certain goal.

Body language, voice intonation, and pitch variations accompany the use of these expressions to heighten their communicative effect.


Have a story about your Italian family? Send it to me and I will post it.  Click here to send your story

Till next time - have happy days.

Thanks much for your interest in Italian cookies and Italian traditions. Come visit us soon or send a note. 

Arrivederci  -  Dio ti benedica
Rev. Fr. Mike