Our 2012 St. Joseph’s Altar

by | Mar 20, 2012 | St. Joseph | 13 comments

The St. Joseph Altar is an old tradition from Sicily.  You can click here to read an explanation of how the tradition started.  There are three tiers to the altar, representing the Trinity and the three members of the Holy Family; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Usually a statue or picture of St. Joseph is placed on the top tier.

I had been so pre-occupied planning for all the various events we had scheduled over the weekend that I really hadn’t put any thought into celebrating St. Joseph’s Day this year, other than picking up a package of fig newtons and some cream puffs during my last grocery shopping trip.  Thankfully everything just fell into place and the kids set up and decorated the altar, while I started preparing the food.   It was such a nice evening, though we all missed Daddy, and wished he could be home to enjoy our special meal in honor of St. Joseph, patron of Fathers.

We didn’t include all of the Foods for St. Joseph’s Altar on our own family altar this year, but here are some pictures and descriptions of the foods that we did enjoy for our dinner and St. Joseph’s Day celebration today.

.: Traditional Breads in Symbolic Shapes :.

The breads found on the St. Joseph altar are usually shaped as all sorts of symbols.  The Lily, Ladder, Hammer, Nail, Saw, Sandals, Cane or Staff, are all symbols for St. Joseph.   Other symbols include the cross, palm, grapes, wreaths, and twists for Our Lord.   

For these I just defrosted a bag of frozen dinner rolls and the kids had so much fun shaping symbols with the dough.

.: Symbolic Fig Filled Pastries :.

Usually these shaped Pastries are inedible and symbolize the monstrance, chalice, cross, dove, lambs, fish, bible, hearts, etc.

We purchased a package of Fig Newtons and made some quick and easy “bibles” to add to our St. Joseph Altar.   Behind the cookies is a beautiful holy card that one of the “Uncle Fathers” gave the boys,  while visiting us following a retreat he gave for the Carmelites in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.  The Carmelites made this holy card, as well as some lovely St. Therese holy cards he brought for the girls, by using dried rose petals from their convent to frame the images of the saints.   The back of this particular card reads:

However many saints you have as your intercessors, be especially devoted to Saint Joseph, who can obtain a great deal from God.  
.: Mudica (Breadcrumbs) and Pasta :.

Breadcrumbs represent St. Joseph the Carpenter’s sawdust and are served over pasta.

We made my Mom’s/Grandmother’s Garlic Spaghetti, topping it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
.: Twelve Whole Fish :.

The twelve fish represent the twelve apostles or the miracle of loaves and fishes.

I had a package of Breaded Cod in the freezer which we included for our St. Joseph’s Day fish. 
.: Wine and Fruit :.

This is a reminder of the vineyards and orchards of Sicily.

We didn’t exactly have wine, but my kids were more than happy that I finally let them have the bottles of Sparkling Cider and Peach Grape Spritzer that have been chilling in the fridge.  Captain also filled up a basket with some fruit and a vase with some chocolate lilies, which also symbolize St. Joseph.

.: Traditional Italian Treats :.

Sfinge di San Giuseppe (Cream Puffs of St. Joseph) 

These were picked up at the store…

Frittelle di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Fritters)

.:  Enjoying the Feast :.

March 19th is also exactly 3 months since this sweet little one arrived!

St. Joseph, Pillar of families, Pray for us!


  1. Anonymous

    There is a new book (I just ordered just released called St.Josephs Table Cook Book ….in case you wish to look at it – buffalo heritage. com and meanwhile, your table is absolutely a beautiful tribute to St. Joseph! What a great job the children all did – Congratulations to all on such a wonderful honor to our beloved St. Joseph on his feast day. PJ

  2. Lori

    Beautiful work everybody!

  3. Joene

    Jessica, so beautiful! It makes my heart happy to share in your joy!
    God Bless you, Joene

  4. Evann

    Your altar is beautiful, Jessica! As is your family! Thanks so much for sharing your altar in the St. Joseph Altar blog fest. Viva San Giuseppe!

  5. Cay Gibson

    Lovely! And such fun for the kids! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Charlotte (WaltzingM)

    Everything looks great! Especially that 3 month old little love! Happy Feast of St. Joseph! Happy Catholic Father's Day to your hubby!

  7. fadfd

    It all looked so good Jessica!

  8. Anonymous

    Fabulous! What a great idea to use frozen dinner roll dough to make symbolic bread shapes! So smart! May I ask where you got the variety of coloring pages? There are some unique ones there. Everything is beautiful!

  9. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you for letting me know about that book, PJ! I would love to eventually add it to our collection. Hope you are doing well! You remain in our prayers! 🙂

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! We've used the frozen dinner roll dough in the past and it really makes the process super quick and easy. And doesn't leave hardly any mess to clean up afterwards. 🙂

    Let's see… Only one of the coloring pages was newly colored this year. The kids grabbed all the ones they had saved in their art boxes to display. From left to right : St. Joseph by Waltzing Matilda, St. Joseph from Fenestrae Fidei, St. Joseph from Catholic Artworks CD, St. Joseph from the Virtual St. Joseph Altar, and St. Joseph from the Alphabet of Saints Teachers Helper/Catholic Artworks CD.

    Hope that helps!

  11. Anonymous

    This is so lovely Jessica! I am so jealous! I haven't been able to do squat lately but nurse sick kids. Looks like so much fun!

  12. Tammy

    What an amazing alter and thank you for sharing the explanations!

  13. Anonymous

    That DOES help! You're incredible. I really didn't expect a response and there it was! Pinning the links. May St. Joseph continue to bless you! Viva San Giuseppe!


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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