DAY & TRADITIONS
& THE CHILDREN
PATRONAGE & SYMBOLS
Joseph, a man with a common touch. Quiet, giving, on the verge of mystery.
He was left with dreams and the work of his hands. Displaced, a common
worker, no name but carpenter this Joseph. Despite his humble work and
means, Joseph came from a royal lineage, descended from David, the greatest
king of Israel. We know he was a compassionate, caring man. The just
man was simply, joyfully, wholeheartedly obedient to God - in marrying
Mary, in naming Jesus, in shepherding the precious pair to Egypt, in
bringing them to Nazareth, in the undetermined number of years of quiet
faith and courage. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy
guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine
Son and Mary, Joseph's wife. He carried out this vocation with complete
fidelity until at last God called him, saying: 'Good and faithful servant,
enter into the joy of your Lord".
feast days are celebrated for Joseph:
March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
There is much we
wish we could know about Joseph - where and when he was born, how he
spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with
the most important knowledge: who he was - "a righteous man"
DAY & TRADITIONS
The principal feast day of Saint Joseph is March 19, Saint Joseph's
Day (for Joseph the Husband of Mary). Among Biblical saints, the veneration
of Saint Joseph came very late to the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX
declared him patron of the universal Church, and Pope John XXIII added
his name to the Mass canon. Some groups of Traditional Catholics reject
this addition, but most use the 1962 missal, which includes this change.
The Church also celebrates a feast day on May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
Saint Joseph's Day
always falls during Lent, and Saint Joseph's Day altars and feasts have
no meat. However, since the feast day is classed as a solemnity, the
requirement of abstinence from meat is technically abrogated, according
to Canon Law, even if it falls on a Friday. If the feast day falls on
a Sunday, the previous Saturday (March 18) is observed instead, and
if it falls during Holy Week or Easter week, it is moved to the Monday
after Low Sunday, or eight days after Easter (prior to 1970 the Tuesday
after Low Sunday was used as the alternate date).
In Spain, the day
is a version of Father's Day. In some parts of Spain it is celebrated
as Falles. In Sicily and many Italian American communities thanks are
given to Saint Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing
a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. The fava bean was the crop
which saved the population from starvation, and is a traditional part
of St. Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy
is a Saint Joseph's Day custom. In New Orleans, Louisiana, in addition
to the above traditions, some groups of Mardi Gras Indians stage their
last procession of the season, after which their costumes will be dismantled.
At Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, California, a
festival celebrates the return of migratory swallows.
the Catholic Church, Saint Joseph has always
been regarded as the family
protector. Several centuries ago, a severe
famine in Sicily caused considerable suffering and starvation. The peasant
farmers turned in prayer to Saint Joseph for help. The famine soon ended,
and in gratitude, the farmers honored Saint Joseph by filling an altar
with their most prized possession-food.
In America, the custom of the Saint Joseph's Table has become like a
giant pot luck dinner. Because Saint Joseph's Feast falls during the
Lenten season, in pre-Vatican II times the foods at the celebration
consisted of traditional meatless dishes such as fruit and vegetables,
pasta, fish and varieties for bread and pastries (all dishes are welcome
at our feast). Children are an important part of this celebration. It's
customary to have three children represent the Holy Family. The priest
blesses the food, the "Holy Family" is served first, and then
everyone enjoys the feast. A Saint Joseph's Table has been a tradition
for many years.
the St. Joseph Altar
The St. Joseph Altar is Sicilian in origin. During a terrible famine,
the people of Sicily pleaded to St. Joseph, their patron saint, for
relief. St. Joseph answered their prayers, and the famine ended. In
gratitude, they prepared a table with foods they had harvested. After
paying homage to St. Joseph, they distributed the food to the less fortunate.
The Altar is set up in three tiers, representing the Holy Trinity. A
statue of St. Joseph is placed on the top tier, usually surrounded by
flowers, greenery and fruit. No meat is prepared for the Altar. This
is probably because St. Joseph's Feast falls in the Lenten Season and
also because meat was a rarity to the Sicilian peasants. Breads, cakes
and cookies, baked in symbolic Christian shapes, are prepared for the
Altar. Pastries in the shapes of monstrances, chalices, crosses, doves,
lambs, fish, bibles, hearts, wreaths and palms adorn the tiers of the
Altar. Symbols of St. Joseph - such as lilies, staffs, sandals, ladders,
saws, hammers and nails - are also used. There is symbolism in many
of the items on the Altar. Bread crumbs represent the sawdust of St.
Joseph the Carpenter. Twelve whole fish represent the apostles. Wine
is symbolic of the Miracle at Cana. The Altar is a medium of petition
and thanksgiving. Petitions of the faithful are written on pieces of
paper and placed in baskets on the Altar. Photos of deceased relatives
& friends may decorate the Altar as well.
**Taken from the Virtual St. Joseph Altar (http://www.thankevann.com/stjoseph)
Visitors to St. Joseph Altars are given small paper bags containing
a few blessed items from the Altar. The bags usually contain a holy
card and a small medal. Various cookies or small breads may also be
in the bag.
The most interesting item found in the goodie bag is the fava bean.
In Sicily, the fava was fodder for cattle. During a great famine the
people resorted to eating them to survive. They were considered lucky
to have favas to eat, hence the fava bean is also known as a "lucky
bean." Some believe that the pantry that contains a fava bean will
never be bare. The fava, or lucky bean, serves as a token of the Altar
- a reminder of God's provisions through the intercession of St. Joseph.
**Taken from the Virtual St. Joseph Altar (http://www.thankevann.com/stjoseph)
Saint Joseph to Sell Your Home
has been traced to Saint Teresa of Avila who prayed that Saint Joseph
would intercede to obtain land for Christian converts, and encouraged
her Discalced Carmelite nuns to bury Saint Joseph medals as a symbol
of devotion, consecrating the ground in Joseph's name. Remember, also,
that Joseph was a man who knew about moving on a moment's notice (e.g.,
the flight to Egypt), and providing for a home for his family. He also
knows what it's like to have housing trouble (remember the manger? and
being turned away from the inns?), and so is likely to be sympathetic
to people with trouble getting or leaving a home.
of the method, and even over-priced "kits" that show you how
to do it are known. Each has a slightly different recipe. The following
is a distillation of the descriptions, emphasizing the common factors.
People today bury statues, usually small, inexpensive ones, instead
of medals. The size or cost of the statue doesn't matter, and has
no relation to the size or cost of the property for sale.
the statue upside down in the yard of the property you are trying
to sell. I've seen a couple of versions with it upright, but upside
down is by far the most common.
location for the burial varies, but the most common is in the front
of the property, facing the house. Some favor a particular corner,
and many recommend putting it next to the "For Sale" sign.
During the burial
ceremony, recite a short heartfelt prayer requesting Joseph's intercession
to sell your house. An example prayer would be:
of Nazareth, I beseech thee
to intercede on my behalf to help me
find a worthy buyer for my home.
I ask this in the holy name of Christ.
is the most important part: pray. Pray for Saint Joe to intervene
for you. You can find some written prayers for this part (some of
which seem to threaten Joseph if he doesn't get to work!), but prayer
from the heart, prayer that discusses your personal situation, is
much, much better.
some traditions say you should leave the statue in the ground after
the sale, others say that once the house is sold, you dig up the statue
and take it with you to the new home. The practice is very common
in Italy. Once the house is sold, Joseph is "rewarded" by
being dug up, set aright and set in a place of honor in the family's
2001, St. Joseph Parish added a unique piece of artwork to the entranceway
of the church entitled "Joseph & The Children" by world
famous sculptor Joseph Turkaly. The relief art depicts Joseph, the foster
father of Jesus, working as a carpenter with three children, one of
which is obviously Jesus as a boy. Not only does it hold particular
meaning to St. Joseph Parish because it depicts its patron saint, but
the inclusion of children represents the community's special fondness
toward its school. During a presentation on October 7, 2001, Turkaly
met with parishioners to talk about the piece and answer questions on
how it was created. During his presentation, he described the painstaking
process he went through to make this one-of-a-kind art piece.
First, he drew a sketch of the idea presented to him by Father Thomas
McCarthy (pastor of St. Joseph's Sept.
1, 1994 - July 31, 2003).
After the drawing was approved, Turkaly made a clay model. A mold was
then constructed with a process involving a thin rubber layer and several
other layers. A substance called winterstone was poured into the mold,
then allowed to cure, creating a very durable work of art that will
withstand the test of time. With the assistance of his youngest of six
sons, Tom, Turkaly then removed the outer layers to reveal the finished
product. A coating of a special material was applied to create a patina
similar to the greenish-blue color of aged copper. Then "Joseph
& The Children" was attached to a black background for its
final presentation at the parish. The piece was dedicated the weekend
of August 4/5, 2001. Mounted in the covered entranceway in an alcove
designed for the piece, "Joseph & The Children" is dedicated
to the memory of parishioner Linda Kulka, who tragically died in an
automobile accident on March 2, 1999. The brick entranceway was a project
taken on by St. Joseph's Garden Club.
Turkaly, a quiet-spoken man, has been an artist since he was a boy growing
up in Croatia. Learning his trade literally at his father's knee, the
modest craftsman feels he was born to be an artist. He is known for
his sculpture and religious painting, and has worked at the University
of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, with Ivan Mestrovic, one of Croatia's
great sculptors, creating the 18-foot bronze statue of Moses in front
of the university's library. His 9-foot figure of George Washington
stands outside a Masonic lodge in Buffalo, NY, and two 7-foot marble
statues - Our Lady of Peace and Our Lady of Bistrica - are on display
at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Other works of art he has
created are on display at the Croatian Cultural Center, at several Catholic
churches in the Cleveland area, and in public and private collections
throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Croatia and Argentina.
Turkaly was a resident artist at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills from
1969 through 1991 and has seven works of art on display there.
Joseph Turkaly died July 4, 2007, leaving his wife of 47 years, Julia,
sons Anthony, Andrew, John, Thomas, Peter, Paul, and four grandchildren.
To view examples of Turkaly's art, visit www.turkalyart.com.
HERE to view photos of the August 4/5, 2001 Dedication
and the October 7, 2001 Meet the Artist Event.
Saint Joseph, also referred to as Joseph the Betrothed and as Joseph
of Nazareth, was the foster-father of Jesus, according to the New Testament
(Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23). Not much is known of Joseph except that he
was "of the House of David" and lived in the town of Nazareth.
His date of death is unknown, though he was still living when Jesus
was 12 years old. He is the patron saint of workers and has several
He was betrothed
to Mary at the time that Mary conceived Jesus. Luke says that he lived
at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4); however, according to Matthew, it
was only after the return from Egypt that he settled in Nazareth (Matthew
2:23). He is called a "just man." He was by trade a carpenter
(Matthew 13:55). He is last mentioned in connection with the journey
to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that Joseph
died before Jesus entered on his public ministry because only Mary was
present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, and he is not described
at the crucifixion along with Mary (John 19:25). That Jesus commended
Mary to the care of John the Evangelist while he was hanging on the
cross has been interpreted to also suggest that Joseph had died by that
time, and that Joseph and Mary did not have any other children who might
care for Mary.
is described as being the brother of James, Joses, Jude, and Simon, and
several sisters (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55). A tradition at least as early
as the second century, still adopted by Eastern Orthodoxy, explains that
these "brothers and sisters" were from Joseph's marriage to
an unnamed woman, before Joseph married Mary and so making them stepbrothers
and stepsisters. Roman Catholicism has a tradition that these were cousins
of Jesus, and that Joseph was celibate.
In several forms
of Christianity, a patron saint has special affinity for a trade or
group. Patron saints can also be associated with geographical areas.
Joseph is the patron saint of various things and places (refer to list
below). Pope Pius IX proclaimed him the patron of the Universal Church
on December 8, 1870.
who fight Communism
of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
of Biloxi, Mississippi
of Buffalo, New York
of Cheyenne, Wyoming
people (in 1687 by decree
of the Croatian parliament)
of La Crosse, Wisconsin
of Louisville, Kentucky
of Manchester, New Hampshire
of Nashville, Tennessee
of San Jose, California
of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
A symbol can also
be a more or less conventional image (i.e. an icon), or a detail of
an image, or even a pattern or color: for example, the olive branch
in heraldry represents peace, the halo is a conventional symbol of sainthood
in Christian imagery and tartans are symbols of Scottish clans. The
imagery of the Christian church has various symbols associated with
To learn more about
Saint Joseph, our patron saint, visit these websites:
Encyclopedia: St. Joseph - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm
Information on the entire life of St. Joseph.
Saints Index: Joseph - http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stj01002.htm
Burying St. Joseph to sell your home and illustrated profile of the
saint, with links.
Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus -
Devotions for families, by Catherine Fournier.
Miracle of Saint Joseph - http://www.themiracleofstjoseph.org/
Very large link site which leads to other sites about the saint.
History of Joseph the Carpenter - http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-70.htm
Apocryphal. Originally in Coptic, probably composed in the fourth century.
From Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, American edition. In HTML, with notes,
at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Prayers - http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/index006.htm
Assorted prayers related to, and petitions to, St. Joseph.
Online: St. Joseph - http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4
Pious meditation on the life of St. Joseph, by Terry Matz.
Joseph - http://www.josephsaint.freeserve.co.uk/Index.HTM
Prayers, novenas, biography, devotion to the author's patron saint.
Saints: St. Joseph - http://www.cin.org/saints/stjoseph.html
Short essay, from the book "The Saints: A Concise Biographical
Dictionary," edited by John Coulson. Illustrated.
Joseph, Husband of Our Lady - http://www.bulin.com/stjoe/
A life of the saint, prayers, links. Information on the Italian celebration
of his feast day, including recipes.
Custos - http://www.cin.org/jp2ency/guardian.html
Guardian of the Redeemer. Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II,
on St. Joseph, promulgated 15 August, 1989. All in one file. 61K.
Guardian of Our Lord - http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/03/19.html
Profile with prayer in traditional and contemporary language.
Pluries - http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13jos.htm
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, on devotion to St. Joseph, promulgated
on August 15, 1889.
Virtual St. Joseph Altar - http://politickles.com/thankevann/stjoseph/
An online, interactive altar in the tradition of the Sicilian St. Joseph
altars of New Orleans. Includes brief history of the Altar and St. Joseph
Joseph's Site - http://stjose.tripod.com/eng/index.html
Devotional site, including prayers, hymns, poems, and other devotions.
Available in English and Spanish.
Role Model for Today's Father - http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/JOEROLE.TXT
Article by Billy Stainsby.
Joseph, Foster Father of the Lord - http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/JOSEPH2.htm
From the book "Lives of Saints," published by John J. Crawley.
Joseph: A Theological Introduction - http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/THEOINTR.htm
Long article by Michael D. Griffin on St. Joseph's role in salvation
history, and on devotion to him.
Encyclopedia, The Free Encyclopedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_the_Betrothed
Other Saint Links: