March 13 marks the first anniversary of Pope Francis as the leader of the Christian order. In an interesting side note, he has been Pope longer than two of my marriages. He gave up his home, his assets and his worldly possessions to become Pope. Come to think of it, I gave up all that after those marriages. I could have become Pope.
Anyway, it’s been rough year for the Pontiff.
He has washed his share of feet, grappled with gay rights and carefully tried to level the field concerning indiscretions by priests as well as abortion. In addition he has come face to face with issues like marriage for priests and allegations of scandal and corruption within the Vatican.
Yet as he walks the tight-rope of his papacy, he has actually kind of made being a Catholic cool, replacing the fad years ago of young Republicans. Attendance is up and the 77-year old Pontiff has millions of followers on his Twitter page. Only Kim Kardashian has more tweets in the pastoral cyberworld.
But the Pope’s popularity has soared from Manila to Mexico and he has become the People’s Pope to billions.
His everyman persona enables him to mingle with crowds, celebrate St. Valentine’s Day and even attend a Halloween costume party.
To celebrate this anniversary Pope Francis is spending it quietly. He and his wife have invited a few friends to dinner at the Red Lobster including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his wife, Jay Leno and Father Guido Sarducci. Sister Bertrille is also scheduled to fly in. It's also Pope Francis bobblehead night at Red Lobster. the first hundred customers receive a commerative Pope bobblehead.
In keeping the whole Jesus Fish thing as well as Christ feeding the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, the Holy Father has chosen the whole roasted striped bass off the menu to celebrate along with baskets of warm Cheddar Bay biscuits.
Whole Roasted Striped Bass
1 Whole Striped Bass, 6-7 Lbs. Scaled and Eviscerated
12 Red Potatoes
5 Bay Leaves
8-10 Fresh Rosemary Stalks
2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, Chopped
6 Lemons, Halved
2 Cups Chardonnay
1 Cup Garlic Olive Oil
Sea Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook potatoes in salted water for about 7-8 minutes. Do not cook until soft and done.
In a large roasting pan grease the bottom and sides with garlic oil. Place a sturdy toothpick in the mouth of the bass to prop open and generously brush both sides with oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place lemon and herbs in the cavity of the fish and arrange potatoes around the fish. Add the wine.
Bake for 40-50 minutes uncovered until fish flakes. Remove toothpick from mouth.
Serve on a platter and pour any remaining sauce over it.
Check out the slideshow and video for some highlights of the anniversary celebration.
Happy anniversary everybody.