Saint Joseph Table annually in March, along with a Saint Joseph Day Feast
Saint Leo's Church continues the tradition of the Saint Joseph Table, a tradition that originated in Sicily, Italy in the Middle Ages. Legend has it that during a severe drought, the Sicilians prayed to Saint Joseph, their patron saint for relief. When the rains came, the people rejoiced and in gratitude, prepared a special table with an assortment of foods from their harvest. These tables, or "altars," also offered traditional cookies & cakes, bread baked in symbolic Christian symbols, assorted confections, fruit, wine, fava beans, and beautiful decorations of candles, figurines and flowers. After paying homage to Saint Joseph, the food was distributed to those less fortunate and Saint Joseph's Day was born, celebrated annually in March.
During the dates for the table display, monetary donations and nonperishable food items will be accepted by visitors, then donated to the parish's effort to feed the hungry.
Our parish's St. Joseph Table, Father Bernie (our pastor), and eight residents / table volunteers were featured in a marvelous documentary film, Ringraziamenti: The Saint Joseph’s Day Table Tradition, produced by Kirsten Keppel, a videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society in Washington D.C. Keppel's film explored "The St. Joseph’s Day Table” and its significance in Italian and Italian-American culture. The film won Runner Up in the The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum, an initiative to fund films depicting and exploring the Italian American experience for the benefit of future generations. View their other Italian related winning films here.
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