Monday, March 19, 2012

Seeing Red

Red is the color of the day and  if you are Italian, you would be celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Joseph. Following on the heels of Saint Patrick's Day it is observed by fewer people and not quite as well known but an important day never the less.

But why do Italians hold St Joseph in such high regard since he obviously was not Italian but rather Judean?  It all goes back to to the middle ages when there was a very severe drought in Sicily.  The people of Sicily, being very religious, turned to St Joseph as the father figure of Jesus and known as Joseph the Worker and asked him in prayer to end the drought.  The people promised that if he would do as they asked - they would have a giant feast in honor of him saving them from the drought.  St Joseph answered their prayers and the people of Sicily kept their word.  They prepared such a large feast that everyone was invited - rich and poor alike.  It is this kindness that continues to this day.  In many parishes food baskets are brought to the parish church for blessing before beginning the feast.  This is how March 19th became such a special day to the Italians. 
If you have ever visited Italy you would experience this generosity which continues to this day. When I had the opportunity to visit my aunts and cousins in Italy - we were treated like royalty. It was a great experience.  Italians are also known for being very passionate about life which may explain the custom of very animated conversation and hand gestures.  As the conversion rises to a peak you will notice many red faced people as each tries to speak their own piece.  

Would that all of us would become red faced as we share our love for Jesus and His Holy Church as we proclaim His message of reconciliation and forgiveness.  

Deacon Dale