Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Joseph's Day Dinner - This Sunday at Grotto

The Sunday closest to St. Joseph's Day, which is Tuesday, is when Assumption Grotto holds it's annual St. Joseph's Day Dinner, put on by the generosity of the Romano family.  So, for this Sunday only, Fr. Perrone has moved the Traditional Latin Mass to the Noon time slot, and the 9:30 AM Mass will likely be a Latin Novus Ordo.  The choir moves with the TLM.

If you have never come to this annual dinner, you may enjoy the afternoon.  Because it takes place in Lent, and began well before reforms of Vatican II, this festive meal remains meatless (yet quite satisfying).  My understanding is that prior to Vatican II abstinence wasn't just for Fridays, but throughout Lent.   There is a write-up in Wikipedia explaining some of the various customs observed by different nationalities.   Here is what it has for Italy (since ours his hosted by Italians).

ItalyIn Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron Saint, and many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to St. Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. 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 St. Joseph's Day custom. In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat a Neopolitan pastry known as a Zeppole (created in 1840 by Don Pasquale Pinatauro in Napoli) on St. Joseph's Day.[5][6] 
Upon a typical St. Joseph's Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity.[6][7] 
On the Sicilian island of Lipari, The St. Joseph legend is modified somewhat, and says that sailors returning from the mainland encountered a fierce storm that threatened to sink their boat. They prayed to St. Joseph for deliverance, and when they were saved, they swore to honor the saint each year on his feast day. The Liparian ritual is somewhat changed, in that meat is allowed at the feast.

At Assumption Grotto, the meal is free, but a free-will donation is appreciated.  It is also first-come/first-serve basis.  If you come late, you have no guarantee of getting in.  As many years as I have been going, I've not seen anyone turned away (but there is always a first time, if it reaches capacity).

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