The tradition of St. Joseph’s
Table, which dates from the Middle Ages, honors St. Joseph,
the foster father of Jesus Christ and patron of the Universal Church.
At Holy Family, the annual celebration, organized entirely by parishioners,
supports the Giving Bank and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
About St. Joseph’s
In Sicily, a St. Joseph’s Table was
primarily meant for feeding the poor as a form of communal or public charity,
in thanksgiving for the end of a severe drought. Three of the poorest of the
village, dressed as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, reenact the Holy Family seeking
lodging. The family finds shelter and food at the home of the family hosting
the table. The “saints” are seated at the table and are served a substantial
meal. A statue of St. Joseph
with the baby Jesus is the centerpiece of the table. Breads, vegetables and
sweets decorate the table. Because the celebration occurs during Lent, no meat
is present. A large red fish placed on the table is a symbol of Christ, and an
olive branch is hung on the door to welcome all.
At Holy Family, St. Joseph’s Table, held in the month of March, begins with St.Joseph’s Mass on Saturday evening followed by the procession of “saints,” the blessing and viewing of the St. Joseph’s Table in the Parish Hall, and the sale of
sausage sandwiches, desserts, and refreshments. Festivities resume on Sunday
morning, with Continental Breakfast and an all-day spaghetti dinner in addition
to ongoing sales of Italian delicacies, pastries, and flowers from the table.
Volunteer Ministry Opportunities
There are many ways to become involved in the St. Joseph’s Table
celebration. In addition to helping the day of the event, chairs for
the various committees are needed: Liturgy, pasta dinner, bar, Sunday
Continental Breakfast, donations, publicity, table sales, dessert
donations and sales, sausage dinner, set-up, and clean-up.
Theresa Sabatella Shaw,
Italian Catholic Federation, Br 108,
626/403-6102 or firstname.lastname@example.org