This is less of a recipe and more of a “how-to,” but feel free to use our recipe for the pizza dough.
You will need:
1 batch of pizza dough
Shredded pizza cheese
Parmesan cheese (the sprinkle-from-a-can kind. Yes, it matters.)
A little bit of water
Preheat your oven to 425F. With your kids, divide the dough into eight separate pieces and stretch each piece into a circle. Say, “This is bread dough, which reminds us that Jesus is the Bread of Life. But just like we’re forming the dough into circle shapes, St. Joseph, as the foster father of Jesus, had to form Jesus into the good man he was called to be.”
Now ask the kids to think of ways that parents “form” their children: protect them, teach them prayers, feed them, give them clothes, take care of them when they’re sick… and then discuss how St. Joseph did all of these things for Jesus. And just like the circles of dough will break if we’re too rough with them, St. Joseph had to be gentle with Jesus. Then ask your kids, “What are some ways you think St. Joseph was gentle with Jesus?”
Then say, “One of the things St. Joseph did for Jesus was teach Him how to be a carpenter. So both St. Joseph and Jesus had wood shavings in their clothes and in their hair.” Now sprinkle the shredded pizza cheese on the center of each circle. Then as you sprinkle the centers of the circles with parmesan cheese, say, “They also had sawdust all over the place!”
Now have the children moisten the edges of each circle with fingers dipped in water. Say, “Now, we can tell from the Bible that St. Joseph must have died before Jesus began His public ministry. So Jesus had to take care of His sick daddy and then watch him die, knowing that heaven wasn’t open to him yet, knowing that the Sacrament of Baptism hadn’t been established yet. How do you think that made Jesus feel? How do you think Jesus then felt about going to His death on the cross?”
Pierce each calzone with a sharp knife and talk about how much it must have broken Jesus’ heart to see his gentle, earthly father die, knowing He would have to wait to see St. Joseph again. Then, as you fold each circle in half and pinch the edges together, talk about how St. Joseph would have been wrapped in a shroud just like Jesus was after His death, and both were placed in tombs. [At this point, put your calzones on a baking sheet and bake at 425F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped.] Allow them to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce for dipping. This next part might gross you out, so feel free to skip it, but my kids figured it out on their own without any prompting from me. Anyway, feel free to remind the kids of how the blood of Jesus covers all our sins, even the sins of St. Joseph–who was a holy guy but still an imperfect one. You can also talk about how St. Joseph is highly revered in Italy, especially Sicily, where his intercession is credited from saving the people from famine.
Speaking of famine and fasting, traditionally, in our archdiocese, the Lenten fasting rules are suspended for the Feast of St. Joseph in recognition of his special status among the Italian people of our area. Since we’re holding our Lenten challenge to those standards, we really could have had a meat meal for dinner, but much to my surprise, I didn’t really see the point. When we first started the PreVII Lenten challenge, I honestly didn’t think we could do it the whole Lent. How could I feed this picky family without all that meat? Would we give up by the third week in and run to McDonald’s for burgers and nuggets? But we’re past the Laetare Sunday midpoint of Lent, and it’s only gotten easier. I went into this thinking, “Oh, I could never do that,” and here we are, thinking that keeping this up during the rest of the year wouldn’t really be all that hard.
Some things, you just never know unless you try.