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Food: New Traditions

Liturgical living is one of my passions.

I want my Catholic faith to be a part of the daily rhythm of my family life. I strive to honor special feasts and seasons in the Catholic Church with my family and often will use food as the means to celebrate these moments. Food is a simple, but intentional way that I can bridge our daily life with the life of the Church.

When the Church feasts, I want us to feast. When the Church fasts, I want us to fast.

God willing, I will finish a 44-day consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph on March 19, 2020. March 19 also happens to be the day the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph. I wanted to do something a little extra special this year to honor both my consecration and the Solemnity of St. Joseph, a very important saint for our family.

Our home parish is St. Joseph. The first year we lived here, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the parish constructed a beautiful altar in honor of St. Joseph and organized a potluck to celebrate our patron saint. I was completely unfamiliar with this tradition so decided to research its origins.

The tradition of St. Joseph altars can be traced back to Sicily.

The people of Sicily sought to invoke the intercession of St. Joseph as they faced famine. When their prayers were answered, they desired to thank him for his help and so each year on his feast day (March 19) they would create beautiful altars filled with food. They would then feast, and give all remaining food to the poor.

This year sounds like the perfect year for me to attempt my first at home St. Joseph altar. Now, our altar will be nowhere near as elaborate as the one we first encountered in our parish, but I do want to try and create one this year for our family to honor the unique way St. Joseph has interceded for us and led us closer to the heart of Jesus.

The internet overwhelmed me with ideas and instructions on what I “must” include, but my plan is to start simple and build upon it each year.

I will include my plan (formulated from many different blog posts and websites) for our family St. Joseph altar below. My goal this year is to keep it very simple, while still honoring a family favorite saint in a new way!  I hope you will join me in this living liturgically challenge, and please share pictures of your St. Joseph altar on March 19!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Pohlmeier Family St. Joseph Altar

3 tiers:  Three tiers to symbolize the Holy Trinity. I plan to use two boxes stacked on top of a table to orchestrate this look.

Statue of St. Joseph:  You could use a statue or a picture, but I plan to put a statue on the top tier of our altar.

Candles:  I plan to use votive candles on the various levels of the altar.

Fresh Fruit:  Honestly whatever is in the refrigerator at the time.

Breads/Pastries:  Donuts, a loaf of bread, muffins. (You can find some especially neat things if you step outside of your cultural comfort zone and visit a European and Latin American bakery.)

12 Fish:  To symbolize the 12 apostles I will be using 12 Swedish Fish scattered around the tiers.

Basket:  A basket filled with our thanksgivings and prayer intentions

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Erin Pohlmeier

Erin is a Northern-born, Southern-living professional teacher on an indefinite sabbatical to raise 6 (for now) children and is currently a deacon's-wife-in-training. She manages life, faith, and her family's annual goal of hiking 100 miles.

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