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North End St. Joseph Society to honor its patron on CatholicTV


Pope Francis shows the sleeping posture of a statue of St. Joseph he keeps on his desk while giving a talk during a meeting with families in Manila, Philippines, January 2015. CNS photo/Paul Haring

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"I would like to tell you something very personal," Pope Francis told participants in a family conference in January 2015. "I like St. Joseph very much. He is a strong man of silence. On my desk I have a statue of St. Joseph sleeping. While sleeping he looks after the Church. Yes, he can do it! We know that. When I have a problem or a difficulty, I write on a piece of paper and I put it under his statue so he can dream about it. This means please pray to St. Joseph for this problem."

On Saturday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m., the St. Joseph's Society can be seen nationally on the CatholicTV Network attending Mass celebrated by Father Robert Reed. The Mass begins a series of events marking the feast day of St. Joseph on March 19.

The officers of the St. Joseph Society recently donated a replica of the "Sleeping Saint Joseph" to the Catholic Television Station's chapel. The offering at the Mass will also include loaves of "St. Joseph's bread" stemming from a centuries-old Sicilian tradition which is faithfully observed even today by the St. Joseph Society.

It was in 1925 that the St. Joseph Society in Boston's North End was organized by Italian immigrants from the Riesi area of Caltanissetta, Sicily. Today, along with other advocates of St. Joseph, the Society marks March 19 by preparing "Tavole di San Giuseppe" or "Tables of Saint Joseph." The custom traces back to a time when a severe and lengthy drought in Sicily threatened the crops and would have brought certain famine. So the villagers marched to church and pleaded to St. Joseph for intercession with God -- and the skies opened and life-saving rain poured down. Ever since, the grateful Sicilians give thanks each year with a Table of St. Joseph which is filled with meatless dishes, soups, desserts, and delicious breads baked in shapes of a staff, carpenter's tools, the cross, and animals. The table is blessed by a priest and then the food is shared by those attending.

The statue of the sleeping St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family, holds special meaning since Scripture tells us that it was in moments of rest that God revealed his will to him through an angel at three different times. A limited number of the sleeping St. Joseph statuettes are available by calling 781-641-1188 or e-mailing venicea@aol.com for details.

St. Joseph is the protector of the family and the patron of workers as well as those looking for work.

Frank Mazzaglia is a member of the St. Joseph's Society.

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