Since I am almost entirely Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is every day. His medals are worn by two of our children, his prayer is a common choice for the mornings, and his biography by Tomie dePaola is regularly plopped in my lap by a child for evening reading. Irish food and Irish music are our normal and Guinness is my Scot/Norwegian husband’s favorite drink.
But I also have one Italian grandmother (Waterford lad fell for a Latin beauty!), so when my daughter decided that St. Joseph was her favorite saint a few years ago after reading a prayer book, she requested a feast for his day on March 19. It only took a couple of minutes snooping on the history and traditional foods for my memories of the Italian side of my family to begin drooling. Minestrone? Remember that. Cream puffs and zeppoles? Remember those, too. Red wine? Yes please, and glad to be Catholic! I eased up some of the recipes to better work with my scattered brain and came up with some plans for the children to keep them spiritually and craftily busy so that the mothers can eat and visit. For the second annual St. Joseph’s Feast Day, our invitations read:
Please join us March 19 at 11am to celebrate the best of fathers and pray-ers, Saint Joseph.
We will have lunch and crafts for the children.
Please wear something RED!
Here are the ideas adopted by the Howells:
1) Use boxes under sheets to create a three-tiered table,
2) Put cream puffs and zeppoles on the top tier.
~I make these very easy cream puffs and fill them with plain whipped cream.
~For zeppoles, which are too complicated for me, I just make normal white bread dough, flatten and
twist up two-inch pieces, drop them into hot oil like doughnuts, and dust them with powdered sugar.
3) Put plates of edemame (substitute for fava beans, which are too time-consuming for me) on the
4) At the table level tier, put a crock pot of minestrone, pretzels shaped like Joseph’s staff (made by us ahead of time), and sparkling “wine.”
5) Decorate the table with paper plate lilies and candles. And probably red hearts because the kids are still thrilled with folding a paper in half, cutting a curve, and unfolding it into a heart shape (from St. Valentine’s Day and Addie’s birthday!). But we do love St. Joseph and red is the right color for the day, according to the Sicilians, who have honored him since medieval times when a famine ceased due to his intercession).
6) Have 3×5 cards, red markers, glue sticks, and small pictures of Joseph copied from the computer ready to make holy cards. In some countries, this day is also Father’s Day, so the kids can give them to their dads.
7) I’d love to say that we gather around the table and pray a litany together but it is too long for us. My daughter loves typing and choosing fonts and photos, so she types and prints off several copies to pass out.
8) Make everyone listen to Michael Card’s beautiful prayer, Joseph’s Song.
And that’s that. Takes up two days of homeschooling- one day to prepare and one day to party. Let the feasting begin!
Dear St. Joseph, thank you for loving Jesus and Mary and working so hard for them. We love you. Please pray for us this day and every day.
PrayMoreNovenas.com is beginning the St. Joseph’s novena tomorrow! Click here to join in!
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About Allison H.
Allison is a 40-something mother of seven, living in Alaska, accepted into the Church (together with her husband, thank God) in 2004. She spends her days homeschooling and packaging meat that her menfolk hunt and bring home. She cannot garden to save her life but picks wild blueberries like a champ. She has been published in an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and keeps a blog at www.northerncffamily.blogspot.com, writing about living out the Faith with children with cystic fibrosis.