Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Celebrating St. Joseph: A Look Back as We Look Forward

Now that I have St. Patrick's Day planned for my crew for this year, I have begun thinking about what we might do for St. Joseph's feast day.  As I do, I realize that, just as I had neglected to share our St. Patrick food, fun, and faith-inspired activities in 2014 and 2015 until yesterday, I also never shared about our 2014 and 2015 St. Joseph activities until now.

A St. Joseph's Tea and Playdate in 2015

Last year, we were blessed to have friends come over for a St. Joseph's Day tea and Playdate the day before St. Joseph's Day.  In fact, we were super blessed that they were only free the day before St. Joseph's since a belly bug hit on the actual St. Joseph's feast day, so there was very little celebrating that day - just lots of praying, sleeping, cuddling, and cleaning up.

The day before St. Joseph's Day, however, was full of fun, faith, and feasting!

Before our friends arrived, we prepared a 3-tier table and, on it among other things, placed our traditional "St. Joseph flowering staff", which caused the kids to exercise their virtue of self-ctonrol as they wanted to badly to dig into it.  (When they finally did dig in, it was gone in seconds!)

We also added other traditional St. Joseph altar foods -- or ones inspired by them. Then, once our friends arrived, we added their yummy delights to the table.  It was a perfect feast for us!

Among my children's favorite foods on the table were the gluten-free, casein-free tortillas, that, when paired with kitchen scissors provided an easy DIY alternative to the traditional breads eaten on St. Joseph's Day.

Of course, the day was not all feasting.  It was faith-based reading, praying, and fun, too!


I took out many of our construction-themed toys in honor of St. Joseph, the carpenter.  How fun it was to see the children's teamwork in putting some of them together and playing with others.


The children also decided to draw images of staffs flowering with lilies, in honor of the legend that St. Joseph's staff flowered when he was selected as a suitor for Mary.  We used their drawings to decorate a wall by our St. Joseph's Altar table.

Along the same flowering staff idea was a fun craft - making pencil top paper plate lilies.  

Most of the children (and adults) got quite into lily-making, but some opted to continue construction play.


I loved how the children moved fluidly from one activity to another enjoying one another's company while focusing on play and handwork that reminded them of facts and stories of St. Joseph.


Their concentration was evident as they enjoyed  activities.


It was sweet to see how the fruit of some of their activities (coloring and paper lilies) added to our St. Joseph feast table along with the literal fruit.

It was also funny to see them act out St. Joseph and Our Lady's journey through Bethlehem, which they did before we chowed down.  It was a truly lovely St. Joseph's Day Playdate and "Tea", celebrated with friends, fun, and feasting.

A Simple St. Joseph's Breakfast in 2014

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 St. Joseph's Day fell on a rather busy day for us in 2014, so we simply enjoyed a breakfast and extra prayers before heading out for the day and, later, read a favorite St. Joseph storybook, Joseph's Story.

Our annual "flowering staff", made with almond horn cookies, greens, and pear slices took center stage on our table.  Extra almond horns, pear slices, and greens rounded out our breakfast and the children's favorite treat drink - chocolate Silk milk - made the morning for them.

Before eating, a printable St. Joseph prayer card helped us pray. Unfortunately, I cannot recall nor find a specific link for the card, so if you recognize it, please do let me know so I can offer credit where credit is due.

I do recall, however, that among typical prayers for St. Joseph's intercession, we added special prayers.  Just a couple days prior, we had laid my niece to rest.  Sorrow still hung heavy despite the smiles we captured in the few snapshots we took on the morning of St. Joseph's feast day.

Those smiles meant so much to me, though.  For exa,ple, after looking at the image on the prayer card, Nina realized that an almond horn cookie could make a halo over her head much like Saint Joseph is often depicted with a halo about his.  "Sainting herself", she became a silly, happy little girl, and in the midst of the tough week that it was, her bright smile was a balm for my soul.

Find More Ideas

If you'd like more ideas for celebrating St. Joseph, including lots of links to free resources, be sure to see our Host a St. Joseph Tea and Playdate post.

I'd love to hear about your favorite St. Joseph read alouds, recipes, resources, and traditions.  Please share about them in a comment.  Links are welcome!


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