I hadn’t planned this column for today, but Pope Francis’ morning address to the joint meeting of the United States Congress, followed by his moving homily during vespers (evening prayer) at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral last Thursday (September 24), sent me in another direction. Speaking of the “…many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work…,” Pope Francis said this, “They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.” Those words reminded me that I have been meaning to share this recipe for Fiori di Sicilia Mission Cake with you for a very long time.
Several years ago, during my tenure as Office Administrator for Hilton Head Island’s First Presbyterian Church, I was given approval to bake and sell cakes to the congregation for the benefit of the Outreach Ministry. The congregation was supportive (and generous), and through the efforts of the ministry, profits from the sale of more than 400 cakes were sufficient to pay the tuition for a number of “street” boys to attend school in Nairobi, Kenya. Closer to home, those funds were put to good use, too, as proceeds paid for two seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for those in need in the community.
As you already know, I bake a lot. I bake for this column, I bake for family and friends, and I bake for fun. In the years I worked for the church, just-for-fun leisure baking evolved into a fruitful mission. Experimenting with convenient boxed caked mixes, unique flavors like King Arthur Flour’s Fiori di Sicilia flavoring – and beer – was meaningful, as well as, profitable.
In the event you missed Pope Francis’ homily, he said, “Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous.”