Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church celebrated St. Joseph’s Day today.
The church set up a traditional St. Joseph’s Altar, served the meatless spaghetti dinner, and hosted a mass followed by the Tupa Tupa Ritual, which is a re-enactment of the journey to Bethlehem.
Italian treats and pastries were served to visitors most of the day Tuesday.
“The altar goes back to a time in Sicily, which is a small island off the coast of Italy, when there was a famine,” said Fr. Michael Russo. “And so the Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph, they have a special devotion to him. After the famine ended, through his intercession, they erected these elaborate tables and placed on them their most cherished possession, which at the time was food, and gave it away to those who had suffered in the famine. We repeat this tradition every year on the feast of St. Joseph, and give away the food to anyone who comes to visit us.”
Russo said Sicily has a special connection to our area.
“Well this is a special day, particularly for those of Sicilian heritage, and there are plenty of Sicilians in south Louisiana because there was a direct line between the port of the city of Palermo, Sicily to New Orleans,” said Fr. Michael Russo. “Many came to our area to work on the sugar cane plantations, and so this day is a special day to remember our Sicilian ancestors and all that they taught us about love of God, love of church and love of family.”