Friday, March 15, 2013

The Feast of St. Joseph

The Feast Day of St. Joseph, earthly adoptive father of Our Lord, is coming up this next Tuesday. As many know, this day will also hold the installation mass marking the day Pope Francis will take over the Roman church. This date was definitely not picked in vain as St. Joseph is also the patron saint of the Universal Church. As St. Joseph protected and defended our Savior and the Virgin Mary and looked out for their best interests, so we call on him to pray for the protection and defenses against the evil one of the Church as a whole.

B having a moment with St. Joe

St. Joseph's Day has been widely celebrated on this day since the 10th century. In many countries, it is truly a grand feast. While researching more about this day, this being our first time celebrating this feast day, I found many a site describing their table full of breads, desserts, and so forth. It's definitely an elaborate day of celebration, but since the feast day of St. Joseph almost always (always?) falls within Lent, it does not include any meat dishes. 

One of the recurring observances I found throughout others' celebrations it the St. Joseph's Altar, which is a tradition that came from Sicily. The island of Sicily was in a severe state of drought and famine. The people prayed to their patron, St. Joseph, asking him to intercede for relief. In answer to their prayers, water rained down from heaven, and to thank St. Joseph for his aid, the people prepared a table filled with a share of the foods they had harvested. After they honored St. Joseph, they then shared with those who were less fortunate. Today, this tradition is a physical showing of what God has blessed us with as well as a reminder that we are to share from the abundance with which we have been blessed.

As this is our first year of celebrating this special feast day, I'm just going to leave you with some links that I found to be helpful, informative, or all around fun to aid you in putting together your own family celebrations for St. Joseph's Day


What would a feast be without food? And food is very important to this particular day. I found so many delicious looking recipes - I'm not even sure where we will start, but here are a few that stood out:

Zeppole or Italian Donuts (photo above) - recipe from Seeded at the Table. Don't these just look scrumdiddlyumptious? Even with the recipe, I'm not sure if I could recreate, but man, they look delicious.
A variety of pastries traditional to St. Joseph's Day - from Mangia Bene Pasta, most of which I cannot pronounce, but still super tasty looking.
For the little ones (especially little boys), these Gingerbread Tools from Catholic Cuisine are definitely the winner. Tools remind us of St. Joseph's occupation as a carpenter. Another labor of love to make these that I think I shall wait a few years to when the boys are actually more help than not.

On the healthier side, there is also:
Minestrone Soup (a traditional dish on this day) and St. Joseph salad - both from Catholic Cuisine as well. We shall probably aim to make the soup in hopes of cooking at least one traditional dish.

This post on Foods for St. Joseph's Altar  - again by Catholic Cuisine (love that site!) - was by far the most informative I found. Many traditional foods are included as well as why they are used, and sometimes where it originated. There are also several recipes added at the bottom. Definitely check this one out!

St. Joseph, a friend of Mater and trains... at least in our house.


So, if you're ahead of the game and ready for it, why not try your hand at creating your very own St. Joseph's Altar (Catholic Icing)? So, so many wonderful ideas! I would say this is geared towards older than preschool age, but it's still something I look forward to doing one year in the future. I also found this Virtual St. Joseph Altar, where you can look at each item or dish adorning the altar and see it's significance in being there.
Also for older kids, and definitely late for this post, these Lilies also from Catholic Icing are a perfect pairing to the St. Joseph Novena. As a Novena is 9 days, you're going to have to save this one for next year!
Yet another for older kids, here is a St. Joseph LapBook idea, perfect to fit into your homeschooling. We'll probably try something like this in the future as well.

As all these ideas are above my littles heads (and abilities), I am going to use the information I found on St. Joseph's Altar, and we are going to make one out of construction paper. First, we'll draw/glue a cut out table onto a blank sheet of paper. I will then cut out different symbols that Dom can glue onto the table, and we'll talk about each symbol as we do so. I think this will be much more focussed for his attention span and learning level.

Here are a few books (other than the Bible of course) that are about or have sections devoted to St. Joseph:

An Alphabet of Catholic Saints by Brenda + George Nippert

Good Saint Joseph by Lawrence G. Lovasik

St. Joseph's Story by Geraldine Guagagno + illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio

In closing, here are two of my favorites in the prayers to and about St. Joseph.

O God, Who in Your ineffable providence did vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother; grant, we beseech You, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who live and reign, world without end. Amen.
Supported by the patronage of the Spouse of Your Most Holy Mother, we beseech Your clemency, O Lord, to make our hearts despise all earthly things and to love You, the true God, with perfect charity. Who live and reign, world without end. Amen.

I would love to know more about how your family honors and celebrates this esteemed Saint. Do share! Blessings on your family and may the prayers and protection of St. Joseph be with you!


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This post The Feast of St. Joseph first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 15 March 2013 

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