Monday, March 20

St. Joseph's Day is a grand feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick's Day.

After Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar ("la tavola di San Giuse" or "St. Joseph's Table") is laden with food contributed by everyone (note that all these St. Joseph celebrations might take place on the nearest, most convenient weekend). Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph's floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered "lucky" because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed.

The table -- which is always blessed by a priest -- will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity. The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph's staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for "luck"; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions.

The cry "Viva la tavola di San Giuse!" begins the feasting and is heard throughout the day. When the eating is done, the St. Joseph's altar is smashed, and then three children dressed as the Holy Family will knock on three doors, asking for shelter. They will be refused at the first two, and welcomed at the third, in memory of the Holy Family's seeking of hospitality just before Christ was born. This re-enactment is called "Tupa Tupa," meaning "Knock Knock." The day ends with each participant taking home a bag that might be filled with bread, fruit, pastries, cookies, a medal of St. Joseph, a Holy Card and/or a blessed fava bean. Keep your "lucky bean," and let it remind you to pray to St. Joseph. (The Litany of St. Joseph would be most appropriate!)

- FishEaters.com


Saturday, March 25 beginning with 8:30 am Mass
Star of the Sea Parish
4420 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
(415) 751-0450

"Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, awaits us: to bless us, to listen to us and to speak to our hearts in the silence of our visit. There is nothing in our lives – whether issues of work, health, vocation, family and beyond – that Our Lord does not wish us to bring to Him.

It is for this reason that Star of the Sea Church is establishing an Adoration Chapel, which will provide twenty four hour Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a beacon of grace for ourselves and for our beloved city."

Program (Note: These are changes from last week's bulletin which listed events taking place in the morning)


The Office of Development of the Archdiocese of San Francisco announces its Spring Series of Personal Planning Seminars. Topics at these seminars include end-of-life bioethical decisions, funeral and burial planning, and estate planning. When it comes to these topics, many people do not know where to begin. Because of this, a great number of people die without having had the opportunity to make funeral and estate plans. And when it comes to making good ethical decisions about medical care, many people just don’t know where to receive good advice. All parishioners are welcome to attend any workshop. The workshops are free, but please register to attend. Dates and locations are:

For reservations or information, contact Fr. Anthony Giampietro, 415-614-5580, Development@SFArch.org