19 March: A beautiful hymn to St. Joseph, a Roman procession, and more

It’s the Feast of the wonderful St. Joseph!  In his Litany we invoke him under beautiful titles, including Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying and, my favorite, Terror of demons.

Happy Name Day, Pope Benedict!

As I write, The Great Roman™ Fabrizio is texting me photos of the procession in the streets of Roman for St. Joseph.

A few shots in almost real time…


Thanks to the Great Roman™!

Back in 2009 I made a PODCAzT about the hymn sung in the Liturgy of Hours in honor of St. Joseph.

Check it out!

I drilled into a beautiful Gregorian chant hymn to St. Joseph in the Liturgia Horarum, the Liturgy of the Hours.

The hymn is Te, Ioseph celebrent and it is in the Liber Hymnarius for 1st and 2nd Vespers for the Feast of St. Joseph.

Also we listened to an indulgenced prayer written by Pope Leo XIII, Ad Te Ioseph.

Finally, we hear St. Bernardine of Siena (+1444) preach on our Patron of the Universal Church who is Patron of the dying.

Buy a Liber Hymnarius!  US HERE UK HERE

UPDATE on the procession!

More images are flowing in.


At Holy Innocents in Manhattan, my friends have built a St. Joseph Table.





An interesting thing happened while I was updating this post.  At a certain point none of the images of St. Joseph would upload.  They just froze.  I tried other images, not a problem.  So, a quick prayer or two and badda bing… up they went.   Terror daemonum… ora pro nobis.


Kudos to the folks at Holy Innocents… who are also busy with Rosaries in front of the big-business abortion-for-profit Planned Parenthood.

IMG_0259 IMG_0265


MEANWHILE… back in Rome… the procession comes to a conclusion.


The auxiliary bishop blesses the crowd

Back into church for Mass.

The Great Roman™ says that they were reminded to pray also for the Pope Emeritus.

This is what I wrote for The Catholic Herald about St. Joseph Tables.  It should be in the present number of the magazine:

19 March is the feast of the glorious St Joseph, earthly father of Our Savior, Spouse and chaste Guardian of the Virgin Mary. Among his titles in the Litany in his honor we sing Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the Sick, Patron of the Dying, Terror of Demons, Protector of the Church. Many customs adorn his feast day to which we, like “las golondrinas”, the swallows of Capistrano of song, would be happy and wise to return. St Joseph is a formidable intercessor, upon whose help I have several times relied in time of dire need.

Speaking of customs for this feast, one of the most beautiful is the building of a St Joseph Table. During the Middle Ages there occurred a terrible drought in Sicily. The people turned to Joseph for succor. They’re prayers were answered, for as I mentioned he is a powerful intercessor. In their gratitude the people distributed food to the poor. Can you get more Catholic than that? Ever since, it is the custom among Italians, especially Sicilians, to build a table in three-levels in honor of the Trinity with a statue of the Saint at it’s summit. The tables are loaded with customary Lent-appropriate foods (Joseph’s feast is always during Lent), the priest blesses them, and the less-fortunate especially are invited to partake. The Table includes breads baked in shapes like chalices and carpenter’s tools, 12 different fish for the 12 Apostles, lilies for purity and pineapples to symbolize hospitality.   I’m not clear about the pineapple thing, but they are delicious. You might also see lots of breadcrumbs scattered about, because they look like sawdust. There is a traditional pasta dish “di San Giuse” with breadcrumbs rather than grated cheese. When we Catholics were serious about our identity and the Lenten fast, we didn’t eat cheese during Lent.

Of Joseph, St Bernardine of Siena (d 1444) preached:

If the whole Church is in the debt of the Virgin Mary, since, through her, it was able to receive the Christ, surely after her, it also owes to Joseph special thanks and veneration. … Therefore be mindful of us, blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with Him Whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favour of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the mother of Him Who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.

You should subscribe to the online, full edition of The Catholic Herald.  In it there are many things which are not on the website.


More from Rome.  You’ll love this.

The Great Roman™ texts:

The bishop invited all – in the name of St Joseph – to receive in the mouth and NOT in the hands to avoid risks of falling particles!!

It is a wonderful feast day.



And Frittelle di San Giuseppe!

And it wouldn’t be a festa without…


Meanwhile, back in NYC at Holy Innocents, Father is blessing the zeppoli!


It looks he is using his phone for the text of the blessing, and I’ll wager that he is using the “Ad omnia“.  In it, you get to say “creaturas istas” without naming them.  Figuring out a Latin term for zeppoli isn’t easy.  The etymology of the word is difficult.  In late Latin there is a form zippulae which isn’t very satisfying but will do in a pinch.  It stands for a cake of dough and honey.  It might come from cippus which is like a shive or wedge. It might come from serpula which has to do with the serpentine shape some of them have when fried.  I also saw a word frictilia, which I doubt but which is fun.


Meanwhile… back in Rome…

Bigné di San Giuseppe!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    Those are lovely photos Fr. Z. Thank you. I especially like the St. Joseph’s table.

  2. cda_sister says:

    Wonderful pictures,Fr. What an awesome celebration of dear St Joseph. The St Joseph Table is beautiful. We hope to maybe start this tradition at our parish next year.Joseph is a patron name among the men in my family. I pray it continues.

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A philologist could tell us whether you can get from Latin ‘cepa’, Italian ‘cippola’ to ‘zeppola’ (as somewhat krumuomorphic in appearance?).

  4. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The Epistle of Barnabas refers to man as “earth suffering”and explicates Exodus 33:3 as referring to Our Lord as “Earth” (6:8-10), so all those floodlights and fireworks seem part of a good ‘Earth Hour’ celebration on the feast of His Step-father.

  5. acardnal says:

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos from NYC and Roma!

    I read in a book of meditations today that the tradition of blessing bread in the shape of a St Joseph’s staff or his beard started when there was a drought in Sicily during the Middle Ages. So they prayed to St Joseph and the rain came! One traditional belief that come of this is that if one keeps St Joseph’s bread in the home, they will never starve.

  6. Mariana2 says:

    I’m green with envy (in the sense of wanting this for myself, not of not wanting others to have it) at all this. As a convert, a member of a tiny Catholic parish in a Lutheran country, I had never even heard of a St. Joseph Table.

  7. The statue pictured in the procession is wonderful depicting St Joseph presenting the child Jesus, one hand holding the orb and the other hand raised in blessing. Wish this statue version was more popular.
    Thank you for posting these nice pictures – a way to emulate the honor of the much-forgotten but mighty St. Joseph. What a contrast to the green chaos for St Patrick.

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