Updated: Mar 16, 2021
The Solemnity of St. Joseph is not just a typical feast day but is elevated even beyond that in importance. Couple that with it being the year of St. Joseph and we've got ourselves a reason to really go all out! There are many traditions that can be done, so I am going to list out some of my favorites for this specific Solemnity and for the year. From there you can choose a few or even adapt some for the needs of your own family. My family's Italian culture is something that we like to continue and there is so much to be shared so I will dive in to that as well. This is really a beautiful opportunity for us to increase our devotion to St. Joseph and not only celebrate him today, but seek a relationship. There are so many graces in store for us by imitating his virtue as protector of the Church and families.
St. Joseph in a Nutshell
Most chaste spouse of Mary.
Foster father of Jesus.
Descended from the line of David.
Feast day is March 19
Patron saint of basically...everything
On two different occasions an angel appears to him in a dream.
He was tasked with protecting the holy family.
He is only mentioned in the Gospels.
Referred to as a righteous man.
La Festa Di San Giuseppe
La Festa Di San Giuseppe or the Feast of St. Joseph is celebrated all over Italy, but has a more pronounced sense of festivity in the region of Sicily. The Sicilians consider him to be their patron saint because as the story goes, he was credited with saving them from a drought. They prayed for his intercession and promised that if he would bring rain, then they would be devoted in honoring him. St. Joseph came through, and when the drought ended they were able to grow their crops again. The harvest came and the Sicilian people kept their vow and prepared a great feast for him.
The traditional St. Joseph's Table or Altar stems from this story and is a beautiful sight for bread lovers. Sicilians still take pride in their tables, which you may see displayed in homes, churches, and even some Italian cafes. Typically this table will be placed in an area for all to see and partake in. They will set their table nicely with a cloth and fill it with gifts of food and religious significance as a sign of thanks to the saint that saved them. Take a look at the list of the many traditional items you could put on your St. Joseph table! Of course, don't forget to adorn it with a statue or image of this reverenced saint.
Home made bread in the shape of carpenter's tools, sandals, crosses, etc.
Selection of fish (However, St. Joseph's Solemnity this year will fall on a Friday so you can eat meat. Traditionally speaking, because it is within the Lenten season, you should serve fish.)
St. Joseph's Sfingi or Zeppole, which to some Italian regions is not the same thing.
Fava beans, which is said to be one of the spared crops so it is there for good luck and abundance.
This table is meant to be shared, so invite friends and family to contribute to the table and delight in it together!
St. Joseph Traditions for All Families on the Solemnity or Throughout the Year!
Practice the St. Joseph's Seven Sundays Devotion. https://yearofstjoseph.org/devotions/
Take a trip to a St. Joseph parish in your area.
St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio!
Partake in the Consecration to St. Joseph. Many parishes are hosting them this year, see if yours will be.
Build something today, even if it's small, start a project in honor of his work as a carpenter.
Put out lilies near your home altar or on your dinner table.
Do a St. Joseph craft like make paper lilies, create your own St. Joseph prayer card, color an image of him, or modge podge an image of St. Joseph to a piece of wood.
Take a family portrait to place in your home in honor of the holy family.
Pray together as a family that we can emulate the Holy Family in virtue and deep love for God.
Eat meat today! St. Joseph’s feast day ranks as a solemnity which is the highest of feast days. When a solemnity falls on a Friday you can eat meat because of its significance and celebratory status! Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Pick a virtue of St. Joseph to work on throughout the year.
Read a book about St. Joseph.
Image: Catholic Company
"I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of [St. Joseph] which he has failed to grant… To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succour us in some of our necessities, but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succours us in them all…”
(Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila)
Take comfort and courage in the words of St. Teresa of Avila, who looked to St. Joseph in her times of need. One last thing, as a small reflection from my Ignatian Spiritual Exercises daily retreat. A few months ago, the readings for that week were focused on the Holy Family. They were the usual Scripture passages that we delve into around Christmas time. I honestly expected to enter into a deeper relationship with Mary, which I have been working on for some time now. To my surprise as I read and sat in contemplative silence, St. Joseph tapped on my shoulder and showed me his experience. The Holy Spirit pressed on my heart to not just ask for St. Joseph's intercession sometimes, but to really know him. I reflected deeply on what it was like for him when Mary accepted God's will. It was a intense prayer encounter to imagine myself standing next to him as Mary told him that she was with child. I considered the emotions and thoughts he must have had as he was looking forward to marrying a devoted young woman and having a family. Even more so what he must have feared would happen to them in this situation. Joseph's fiat shouldn't go without great recognition! All that he anticipated was changed under very difficult circumstances, yet he accepts God's will having no idea what was to come. He takes Mary as his wife and Jesus as his child and protects them with his entire being, despite the difficult emotions he may have had. Just when it seems he stuck in yet another challenging position as a husband and father, God is right there to guide. God is faithful and abounding in grace to the yes that Joseph gives to him with each and every sacrificial act of love. Joseph isn't a man of many words in the Bible, but his actions speak louder than what could be said. He is gentle, loving, courageous, pure, and strong! All the virtues that we desire to be as spouses and as faithful followers of God. I left that time of contemplation feeling a much deeper understanding for who St. Joseph is, and how God loves us as a spouse and father. We see that love carried out in the life of Joseph and what a great blessing for you and me. I hope to be graced with more time like that throughout the year that is dedicated to him. There is nothing that I want more than to live out my vocation as he did!
Prayers for you all and if you try out some of these ideas, share them with me + follow along on Facebook @HisGirlSunday!