Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feast of Saint Joseph

The Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated on March 19th. Saint Joseph, foster-father of Jesus and the husband of the Virgin Mother, is a patron saint of families and children. Here are some ideas for celebrating this feast day with your family. Prayer
Pray the Prayer to Saint Joseph
Prayer to St. Joseph O glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble and charitable mind, and perfect resignation in the Divine Will. Be my guide, father and model through life that I may merit to die as thou didst, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
Continue or start the Novena to St. Joseph Reading & Learning

Good Saint Joseph by Lawrence Lovasik Read your children this book about the legend of the swallows - "las golondrinas" - returning to the Mission of Capistrano on St. Joseph's Day

The Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi Bold

Crafts & Activities Color this or one of other Saint Joseph coloring pages

Create a mini 3d Virtual St. Joseph's Altar like the one pictured above by completing instructions included on the pdf download from the Virtual St. Joseph Altar.

Honor Fathers by making dad breakfast, cards, or a cake for when he gets home from work. Take father and child photos.

Jessica made some wonderful Saint Joseph Memory Match Playing Cards with various images of saint Joseph that you can print out here and here. Food

Italians have celebrated this feast day since the Middle Ages since it was believed that prayers to St. Joseph saved Sicily from a major drought. Italians have traditionally worn red on this feast day and created a big altar called a "St. Joseph's Table" (like the one pictured above from the Virtual Saint Joseph Altar) adorned with St. Joseph statues, flowers, candles, breads, traditional foods for the day:
pasta with breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust on St. Joseph's floor from his work as a carpenter)
Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs)
fava beans (which was one of few food plants to survive the drought)
"decorative" breads (in the shape of a cross, staff, the shape of carpenter's tools)
There are recipes for many of these items at the Virtual St. Joseph Altar and at Catholic Cuisine. Since we are still in newborn mode with limited fancy cooking, we will be having a some simple spaghetti with breadcrumbs on top. I'll probably also get a roll of Pillsbury dough and mold it into the shape of a staff and brush it with butter and garlic. For dessert, I'll probably buy some cream puffs from our local bakery or at the grocery store. I'll try to remember to take pictures this year.

Make homemade pretzels and teach your children the history of pretzels and their association with Lent and St. Joseph's feast day (one of many recipes below). They can say the below pretzel prayer to reinforce the significance of prayer and fasting during. The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns. Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day which usually falls within Lent. "According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. Because these breads were shaped into the form of crossed arms, they were called bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms." From this word, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since mutated to the familiar word pretzel." (from CERC). Pretzel Prayer Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless these little breads. Each time we eat them, may we be reminded of the special season of prayer and fasting that we are keeping. May they remind us of our need to come closer to you in prayer. May they remind us of those in need. Keep your loving arms around us, O Father, to protect us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Soft, Hot Pretzel Recipe (from Women for Faith & Family) Combine in a mixing bowl: 1 cup warm water 1 package (1 1/2 T) active dry yeast 1 tsp sugar Add and beat at least 3 minutes: 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour 2 Tbsp soft butter 1/2 tsp Tbsp sugar Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness. Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large non aluminum kettle, prepare a boiling solution of 4 cups water 5 tsp baking soda With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6 inch pretzels) Make St. Joseph cream puffs (Sfinge di San Giuseppe). Use this recipe at Catholic Cuisine.


Anonymous said...

i needed some help with this, since my religous youth group was doing st. joseph's table all march. this was perfect! hi, peaches! :]

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