|St. Agatha of Sicily|
by Francisco de Zurbarán
Agatha was from a family in Sicily that had a lot of power and money. But neither of those interested her. From a young age, she dedicated her life to God. She was very beautiful and men wanted to marry her, but she set herself aside for Jesus. One of the men, Quintian, thought he could force her to do what he wanted. He even had her arrested. He expected her to give up God rather than face prison, torture, and death, but she didn’t. She just prayed, giving herself to Jesus.
For centuries, people have celebrated Saint Agatha’s feast day by having bread blessed. So make sure your dinner plans include a loaf of bread (here’s a fairly easy Sicilian bread recipe, if you’re feeling adventurous), and use this blessing rite:
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Response: Who made heaven and earth.
Leader: Let us pray. Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, Who did consecrate this day with the martyrdom of the venerable Agatha, granting her the gift of healing body and soul; bless + this bread with Thy supernatural benevolence. May it be to all partakers health for body and soul, and a safe guard against illness and all inimical assaults. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, the living bread which came down from heaven, Who lives and reigns with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, eternally,
(You can sprinkle the bread with holy water at this point if you have some in the house. You should always have some in your house!)