PORTLAND — One of the most beloved traditions for Polish Catholics, dating back to the early history of Poland, will be renewed at the Easter Baskets Blessing at St. Louis Church on 279 Danforth Street in Portland on Holy Saturday, April 8 at noon. St. Louis Church, which was built by Polish immigrants in 1924, is the only Polish Catholic church in Maine.
‘Święcenie pokarmów’ means ‘Easter blessing.’ Święconka is the blessing of the Easter baskets. A priest will bless the baskets which are filled with items that will be used in Easter meals, including meat, bread, butter, salt, and eggs. Many Polish Catholics take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket and observing the creativity of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event. The baskets are often adorned with ribbons and flowers, and as is tradition, most were lined or covered with white linen cloths, some crocheted or embroidered.
Many of the items hold symbolic meanings:
A sign of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.
A symbol of the spiritual prosperity we enjoy as sons and daughters of God and also a reminder that we are salt of the earth, called to preserve the faith handed on to us and to season the world with that faith.
Indicating new life and Christ’s resurrection from the tomb.
A symbol of great joy and abundance.
A sign of generosity.
A reminder that we are called, like the first apostles, to be fishers of men.
A reminder of the bitter passion of the Lord, but it is sweetened with sugar, a celebration of the glory of his resurrection.
Candy and Sweets
Reminders to have a childlike faith and of Jesus’ sweet love for us.
In recent years, hundreds have gathered to have their baskets blessed.
A special Holy Week section includes Mass times and locations at all Maine parishes, listings of parish events, daily prayers and reflections, and many other resources. In addition, stories from many Masses and services and special messages throughout Holy Week will be posted on the diocesan website, the diocesan Facebook page, the diocesan Twitter page, the diocesan Instagram page, and on Bishop Deeley’s personal social media pages on Twitter and Instagram.