Tag Archives: Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project

It’s a Wrap ~ Viva San Giuseppe!

Saint Joseph Feast ©Kim Smith 2014 -2Nina and Frank Groppo

Yesterday, March 19th, The Feast of San Giuseppe was celebrated in Siciliain-American homes throughout Gloucester. Filming concluded last night for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Saint Joseph Feast ©kim Smith 2014

I arrived shortly after 9:00 am to the Groppo home, already packed full of friends and family prepping and cooking and organizing the house to accomadate the multitudes expected. For fear of missing any wonderful moments, I was sorry to leave even briefly, but I needed to pick up the exquisite Sicilian cassata cake created by Maria, Nina, and Domenic at Caffe Sicilia.

Sicilian cassata cake ©Kim Smith 2014.Sicilian Cassata Cake

Saint Joseph Feast -©Kim Smith 2014. -6 JPGReturning to the Groppos ~ After days of preparation, cooking was in high gear, with enormous pots of Saint Joseph sauce simmering, vats of oil bubbling, and everyone working at their jobs. One of the most amazing aspects of the Groppo feast preparations is that no one person is giving orders; everybody just knows what to do and does their job perfectly!

At 11:30 guests began to arrive, and arrive they did! Literally hundreds of friends and family poured through the Groppo’s welcoming  doors throughout the day.

Saint Joseph Pasta ©Kim Smith 2014After the extraordinary feast–extraordinary for the variety of, and deliciousness of, traditional Sicilian dishes, a feast for several hundred guests, I should add–many stayed for the afternoon; for conversation, coffee, desert, more wine, and tidyng the house for the next wave of family and friends, which began to arrive at 4:30.

The most beautiful of all prayer services was held at 5:00, where at the conclusion everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, holding hands, singing, and praying. Nina gave a most heartfelt speech of thanksgiving and then everyone embraced. The loving spirit of Saint Joseph, and the love and kindness of family and friends sharing a tradition together, was felt by all. And then we ate again, the second feast of the day!

Saint Joseph Feast  -2©Kim Smith 2014.

Filming at the Groppo Family’s Saint Joseph Feast was simply beyond wonderful and I have a trunk full of memories I will treasure all my life. My most heartfelt thanks to Nina and Frank Groppo, and to their their extended Family and Friends for more than just allowing filming during their cherished Feast of Saint Joseph preparations, novena, and feast day, but for for making me feel welcome and completely at home! The thing is, they make everyone feel that way. Many come to the Groppo’s Feast straight away from work, fisherman and marine railway workers eat alongside businessmen in suits, and all are welcome at the Groppo table.

Words cannot accurately express my gratitude and appreciation to all the families that participated in the filming of Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph community film project. My sincerest hope is that the film will hold stories and moments for all to treasure.

Saint Joseph Feast ©Kim Smith 2014-5I think the most challenging part of the upcoming editing is going to be in following the documentary’s screenplay, which I wrote several years ago, about the history and significance of the traditions, while weaving together everyone’s stories, and including all the priceless, spontaneous moments captured on film.

This post is a little hurried and I would like to write more, but it is my son’s 21st Birthday celebration tonight. Time for birthday dinner cooking to get underway. Viva San Giuseppe!!!

Saint Joseph Feast Pasta ©Kim Smith 2014.

Updates will be added periodically to the film’s website: Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project

Making Saint Joseph Altar Bread

Saint Joseph Altar Bread ©Kim Smith 2014Saint Joseph Altar Bread

Groppo Family Saint Joseph Day Pasta

Filming continues for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph community film project, today at the beautifully warm and welcoming home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Many Hands Helping Feast of Saint Joseph Groppo Family ©Kim Smith 2014Many Helping Hands

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Groppo Family and Friends. I could not have felt more welcomed. Your kindness and good-heartedness reflects the true spirit of the Feast of Saint Joseph tradition.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph © Kim Smith 2014I arrived at Nina and Frank’s home early this morning, just as Groppo friends and family were beginning to stream through the door, with everyone carrying armfuls of breakfast treats. The first order of business was starting several batches of homemade ricotta cooking on the stove. After filming the ricotta-making, I headed to the garage where the men were getting set up for making pasta. They had prepared the dough the night before and were spreading white cloths on the tables and setting out many hand pasta cranks.

Homemade Ricotta

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph  11 © Kim Smith 2014All morning more and more friends arrived to lend a helping hand. There were perhaps 50-75 people there in the kitchen and in the garage, and all working at super high speed shaping, rolling, flouring, cranking, stacking, and cooking. Mid-morning and it was time to take a break. Nina and her crew fed the entire pasta-making team steaming bowls of the most amazingly delicious fresh ricotta. I had never had freshly made ricotta and after observing how it is made, I would love to give it a try.

Frank Groppo Feast of Saint Joseph © Kim Smith 2014

PASTA Feast of Saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014Towering Tiers of Fresh Pasta

One of the tables that Frank and his crew had set up in the garage was for drying the pasta. As batches of pasta were rolled, cut, and floured, they spread the pasta on the tables to dry. The first batches quickly filled the tabletop. The men then placed wooden blocks on the table and retuned from the shed with a new tabletop to stack on top of the first, covered that with a fresh white cloth, and spread the next batch of pasta. This happened eight times, to total a tower of pasta nine tiers high. Extraordinary!!!

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph  -14 © Kim Smith 2014

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -6 © Kim Smith 2014

After all pasta-making was done, amidst much dancing and merry-making, it was time to eat again! Frank and his crew cooked pasta in the garage, while Nina and her team prepared a large stockpot filled with sauce, which she had made from her homegrown harvest of tomatoes. Everyone crowded around the stove for beautiful aromatic bowls of pasta and red sauce, topped with freshly grated cheese.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -7 © Kim Smith 2014JPG

Enzo Groppo Feast of Saint Joseph © Kim Smith 2014

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph © Kim Smith 2014How I wish editing wasn’t so time consuming and that I could share in a flash all the great footage captured today! Stay tuned for more to come.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -3 © Kim Smith 2014JPG

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph  -4© Kim Smith 2014

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -5 © Kim Smith 2014

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph  -4© Kim Smith 2014 -12Everyone Lends a Hand

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Joe Virgilio Making the Saint Joseph Rolls

Joe Virgilio ©Kim Smith 2014 -2.This morning we continued filming for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project; today at Virgilio’s! So many thanks to Joe Virgilio for taking time from his busy, busy work day running the bakery.

Joe Virgilio ©Kim Smith 2014We talked a bit about the history of Virgilio’s, founded in 1934, and at its current location since the 1950’s. At that time, Virgilios was not only a bakery, but a full grocery store as well (before there were supermarkets) and you could purchase goods such as whole chickens and sausages.

Joe Virgilio St. Joseph Bread ©Kim Smith 2014

The Virgilios began making St. Joseph rolls in the early 1950s, specifically for the Feast of Saint Joseph and today, they make them year round. Back then, there were so many families that celebrated the Saint Joseph traditions that even as young kids, Joe and all his cousins had to hurry to the bakery after school to help their grandfather fill the St. Joseph roll orders. Now the bread is made with state of the art equipment but in his grandfather’s day it was all made by hand. Joe smiled thinking about how his grandfather would love today’s mixing and baking machines. I went home with a camera-full of stories and bag full of Joe’s bread, both generous, and much-appreciated gifts.

Virgilio’s Saint Joseph rolls are super yummy plain, with a touch of butter, or olive oil, and are even more super delicious made into one of their world-famous sandwiches!

Virgilio's ©Kim Smith 2014

In case you missed the Virgilio’s Phantom Gourmet episode, here it is:

As did Maria, Nina, and Domenic from Caffe Sicilia, Joe took time from his tremendously full work day to allow time for filming and sharing his stories. We’re so blessed to have these fabulous and welcoming bakeries/grocerias in our community. Next week, filming at Sclafani’s is scheduled!

Addendum ~ Al Bezanson writes in the comment section (see below):

“As a side note, did you know about the tradition of delivering donated fresh (sometimes warm) Virgilio’s bread to schooners as they arrive for the Labor Day Schooner Festival? When you get around schooner people you may hear them talking about the need to have extra butter aboard in Gloucester. This is a very big deal in fending off other ports that are vying for schooners that same weekend. Thanks Joe and the high speed Ramsey/Nesta delivery guys!”

THANK YOU AL for your always super helpful comments. This is information about Joe’s generosity that we would never have know without you sharing!

Virgilio's ©Kim Smith 2014-2