sadder than closing saloons to St. Patrick’s Day puke parties, is the curtailment
of St. Joseph’s Day Table feasts, the wonderful tradition of sharing food with
all who are hungry, for the second year in a row. In some areas Catholic churches are able to
offer the traditional feasts or find other ways to share, but many are unable
to do so again. Perhaps this year those
who are young, healthy, and mobile can carry the tradition to the doors of
those in need.
This is how many meals from St. Joseph's Table will be shared this year--packaged for home delivery to those isolated by the Coronavirus emergency. You don't have to be Catholic to share food and bring joy and comfort.
St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated annually on March 19. Joseph, the husband of Mary—does
that make him Jesus’s stepfather?—is
the Patron Saint of Poland, of carpenters, workers of
all kinds, and of assorted other things. In many Latin
countries it is also the occasion to
is particularly revered in Sicily where he is credited with
bringing an end to a drought and famine in the Middle Ages. Devotion to him
spread through southern Italy and was brought to the United States
by emigrants. Sicilians, who arrived in New Orleans in the late 19th Century promoted wide spread celebrations in that city. On the East
Coast, particularly in Providence,
Rhode Island, there are sometimes major
parades featuring the wearing o’ the
red—St. Joseph’s color—as more
than a subtle tweak of the Irish, who attracted a lot of attention with their little festival two days earlier.
These parades actually were shows of
political clout as the Italians muscled
the Irish out of control of city governments.
Politics aside, the main feature of the celebration is St. Joseph’s Table, a feast set out in thanks for the miracle of saving Sicily. Usually laid out buffet style and decorated with
the good Saint’s statue, lily blossoms,
and votive candles. Food includes
elaborate meatless offerings—it is Lent after all—including stuffed artichokes, pasta and fish, as well as breads, cookies, pastries, cakes and other delicacies. Fava
beans, the food St. Joseph provided to
relieve the famine, are prominently
makes the St. Joseph Table different from
other feasts is that it is supposed to be
laid out for the poor, homeless, and
oppressed. None are turned away. You don’t have to go to mass or even be Catholic. You can smell like Richard’s Wild
Irish Rose and stale piss, be covered in tattoos with nails piercing
your face. Who knows? You can even be Gay or have had an abortion. Come. Eat. Share with us.
a great holiday!