St. Joseph Table
Saint Leo's Church proudly 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! In gratitude, they prepared a special table with an assortment of food from their harvest. These tables, or "altars," offered traditional cookies and 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.
According to Roman Catholic tradition, the Italian Father's Day (La Festa del Papà) is celebrated March 19th instead of in June as most countries do. Known as Saint Joseph's Day (La Festa di San Giuseppe), it is recognized as an important time to commemorate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the significant influence of fathers in our society.
During the dates for our table display, monetary donations and nonperishable food items will be accepted by visitors, and a silent auction will be available. 100% of the proceeds collected will be donated to the parish's effort to feed the hungry.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
If you need additional information or wish to volunteer in any capacity regarding the Saint Joseph Table or the Saint Joseph Feast, please contact Joe Tusa 443.949.6002.
Joe (pictured top left) and his family, Bethnai & Katie, with the help of Tina (pictured top photo) & Guido DeFranco, have blessed our community with this old-world tradition for the past five years. They say grazie tanto to the rest of the table team: Philomena Scalia, Eleanor Stein, Anna Brotto, Rob Daniels, Nancy Hayden, Rosalinda Manetta, Marco Minnie, Rosalie Ranieri, Carmella Serafini, Sue Walmsley, Tony Walmsley and the local businesses that contributed.
Our parish's Saint Joseph Table, Father Bernie Carmen, 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.