Many years ago, as I was researching into devotions to San Giuseppe I came across information about an annual devotion known as the St. Joseph's Altar. I found out it was a Sicilian tradition. Being of Italiano descent, Calabrese, & growing up in an area where there were no Sicilianos, mostly Calabresi & Abruzzesi it was understandable that I had never heard of the devotion.
The devotion began in the Middle Ages as a way of giving thanks to San Giuseppe for his bringing about the end of a drought. They gathered together to celebrate & share the food they had with the poor.
The altar is set up in 3 tiers, in honor of the Holy Trinity. On the top tier is a statue of San Giuseppe surrounded by flowers, greenery & often fruit. The offerings brought range from citrus fruit (common in Sicilia) to fish but no meat since it is Lent. Pastries & other baked goods, often in symbolic shapes are also common. Additionally there are breadcrumbs to represent the sawdust from San Giuseppe's carpenter shop. Fava beans are also present because they helped prevent famine during the drought. In addition to the food offerings, people bring petitions for their needs. They also bring the names of their deceased relatives & friends, asking San Giuseppe's intercession for those who may still be in Purgatory. San Giuseppe is the patron saint of a happy death so it is only natural that God would work powerfully through him to aide those undergoing purification so they can enter into the fullness of the Beatific Vision.
You can read more about the tradition here
Still, like many of Italiano descent, I gladly welcomed it as a part of my heritage & decided to promote the devotion.
1 of those ways has been to promote the Virtual St. Joseph Altar
that I also discovered as a part of my research. This altar was 1st started by Evann Duplantier in February 1999. This year is the15th Altar to be set up.
There are 3 parts to the Virtual Altar. You can chose
from a variety of items to make a virtual offering. Newly added to the list of items is the artichoke. There are also 2 pages to make your prayer requests, 1 for your personal requests
, another for the deceased
When you are there, don't forget to pick up your virtual goodie bag
Additionally, please offer up a prayer for the prayer requests made by teh visitors as well as the deceased listed. & beyond that, please spread devotion to San Giuseppe. As the foster father of Jesus, he has a special place in Jesus' heart. He is also the patron of the Universal Church. He is right there, next to Mary making intercession for all of those who are a part of the Church. In spreading devotion to him, we are ultimately honoring Jesus & giving God the glory for what He has done through Joseph.
VIVA SAN GIUSEPPE!!!!!
Labels: St. Joseph (San Giuseppe)