It is hard for us Americans to accept that farmers in Italy use very little milk and eggs on their table. Milk is converted into cheese because there is no refrigeration and eggs are jealously kept for the sick or for traditional cakes. They produce few eggs at best, because hens in Italy are not the spoiled darlings of farmers, bulging as they do here with purina chow, but have actually to scratch for a living 'mid the refuse of the barnyard.I found myself wondering what the jovial Papa Roncalli, who was indeed raised in such humble circumstances, would make of such an observation, especially given that in a biography of John XXIII I read some years ago the author wrote, "he was known as a good fork," meaning he loved to eat!
Since sundown marks the beginning of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, formerly known as Candlemas (when candles to be used, not only for special liturgical purposes, but even at home, were blessed), below is a brief clip of Bl. John XXIII on Candlemas 1959 blessing what appear to be Paschal Candles: