Tag Archives: Viva San Giuseppe

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

Viva San Giuseppe! From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Virginia McKinnon shared her Saint Joseph story last year on GMG. She emailed it to me last night and I thought it would again be a treat to read it on this Saint Joseph’s Day eve.st-joseph-picture0001_thumb

I remember as a child in the 1930’s my neighbor in Gould Ct., Maria Parisi, we affection called “Zia Marrica”  would come to my home with her laundry basket. My Mom would take her little religious statutes from our China cabinet and wrap then carefully and fill her basket, also visiting other homes in the neighborhood, Zia Marrica would set up a very beautiful ornate alter in her home with candles, fresh flowers, a large statue of St. Joseph with many statutes of saints in honor of  St. Joseph. The feast day is celebrated on March 19th every year. Zia Marrica would hold open house for nine days, also inviting the children to recite the rosary and sing the traditional Italian hymns for the novena.  I loved listening to the stories she would tell us of the saints.

Our Pastor Father Kiley went to the superintendent of school and requested the children of Sicilian heritage, be allowed to be dismissed early from school on St. Joseph’s Day to participate in the festivities. I remember going to Zia Marrica’s home. I would sit very quietly as the reenactment  began. The players were orphans. A man representing St. Joseph, a women for Our Blessed Mother and a child for Jesus. The man would knock door three times, requesting food and shelter for his family, during his flight to Egypt. On the third request she would open the door and we would all shout “Viva San Giuseppe, Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” and greet the honored guest very affectionately. When they were seated Zia Marrica would first wash their feet, using a basin of water and towel. The table was filled with all  kinds of delicious food. Three dishes of each food. She spent most of the week cooking and neighbors also brought in food. I remember the honored guest were seated at the table.  All us children sat on the floor and we brought our own spoons. As the honored guest  tasted each dish, the food was passed down for us to enjoy. The first course was the traditional St. Joseph’s pasta.  Homemade pasta with a sauce made of chick peas, fava beans, cauliflower, and fennel. We all took a taste of the food passing the dishing around. In Sicily fava beans were believed to save the people in poor villages from famine, during a drought. They prayed for the intersession of St. Joseph to save them. Fava beans are always kept as a symbol of never being hungry again.

This year I have been  participating in the St. Joseph Novena at my friend, MaryAnn Orlando, home. We  recite the rosary first in English then St. Joseph’s rosary in Italian. We sing the traditional Italian hymns. Shouting “Viva San Giuseppe, and Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” after every hymn. We enjoy a social time and Italian desserts. I asked Mary Ann why she observed this saint’s day. She replied she has continued this custom down from her mother and grandmother.  She stated many people give thanks to St. Joseph for his intercession in answer to prayers and they relate many miracles through the intercession of St. Joseph. She stated her granddaughter was born with spinal bifida and look at that beautiful 13 year old serving people and bouncing with energy and happiness.

Also she stated her nephew was not expected to survive and awoke from a coma, as prayers were being said for him. Her altar is so beautiful. Our prayers are so sincere, I enjoy all the Italian hymns. I remember sitting with my mother and grandmother singing these hymns.  Many homes of Sicilian heritage in Gloucester host this feast every year.

Our parish priest visits each home blessing the altar, flour for making bread and pasta, oranges and lemons.  On the eve of St. Joseph’s day many people will visit for the blessing. A little bag with an orange for sweetness, a lemon for bitterness and a little loaf of bread for sustenance of life. On St. Joseph’s Day a bountiful buffet banquet with  traditional delicious Sicilian food  and wonderful pastry is offered. Each home has open house. All are welcome to attend. My friends, Grace Brancaleone and Katie Fontana also invite me to her homes every year to share in St. Joseph’s Day. I feel our Sicilian community is so blessed and fortunate to continue this wonderful custom.  This custom is celebrated all over this country and also in many parts of the world by people of Sicilian heritage.

Viva San Giuseppe!

virginia0001_thumb

Viva San Giuseppe

An important and wonderful tradition that is continuing and being passed on to the younger generation.

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Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

Viva San Giuseppe!

St. Joseph Trolley Party ©Kim Smith 2013

St. Joseph Trolley Party

Click photos to view larger.

A huge heartfelt thanks to All the Gloucester Families Helping with the San Giuseppe Film Project. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A special thank you to Sefatia for organizing the trolley, and for being the best most spectacular hostess for the St. Joseph trolley. Traveling from home to home, she knows by heart, and explains in great detail, each of the family’s alar traditions and stories. She also manages to keep the trolley gang together (all 50 or so). Thanks to Sefatia, no one was left behind!

Thanks to Mayor Kirk for sharing in the St. Joseph trolley and festivities. Gloucester is so blessed to have the BEST Mayor ever!

Thanks to CATA and Ed Sallah for donating the trolley. Ed is an amazing driver and was so considerate towards each and every member of our exuberant party.

Ciaramitaro Family and Friends St. Joseph 2013

A special thanks to Felicia and her family and friends. Felicia is the first to say she could not have done it without her dear husband Barry, her mom Pat, son BJ, daughter Amanda, her beautiful aunts and gamatis, and all her friends and family, working alongside her, from sunrise until the well past the midnight hour. 

Felicia Ciaramitaro and friends ©Kim Smith 2013

Felicia and Her Best Gamatis ~ Le migliori amiche*

A very special thank you to Joey for inviting me to participate in his family’s St. Joseph festivities last year, which planted the seed for the St. Joseph film project. 

Photos of each of the families interviewed coming this week. 

* Thanks to Paul Frontiero for the correct spelling of best girlfriends.

“Viva San Giuseppe” From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

“Viva San Giuseppe”      

St. Joseph Picture0001                                               
I remember as a child in the 1930’s my neighbor in Gould Ct., Maria Parisi, we affection called “Zia Marrica”  would come to my home with her laundry basket. My Mom would take her little religious statutes from our China cabinet and wrap then carefully and fill her basket, also visiting other homes in the neighborhood, Zia Marrica would set up a very beautiful ornate alter in her home with candles, fresh flowers, a large statue of St. Joseph with many statutes of saints in honor of  St. Joseph. The feast day is celebrated on March 19th every year. Zia Marrica would hold open house for nine days, also inviting the children to recite the rosary and sing the traditional Italian hymns for the novena.  I loved listening to the stories she would tell us of the saints.

Our Pastor Father Kiley went to the superintendent of school and requested the children of Sicilian heritage, be allowed to be dismissed early from school on St. Joseph’s Day to participate in the festivities. I remember going to Zia Marrica’s home. I would sit very quietly as the reenactment  began. The players were orphans. A man representing St. Joseph, a women for Our Blessed Mother and a child for Jesus. The man would knock door three times, requesting food and shelter for his family, during his flight to Egypt. On the third request she would open the door and we would all shout “Viva San Giuseppe, Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” and greet the honored guest very affectionately. When they were seated Zia Marrica would first wash their feet, using a basin of water and towel. The table was filled with all  kinds of delicious food. Three dishes of each food. She spent most of the week cooking and neighbors also brought in food. I remember the honored guest were seated at the table.  All us children sat on the floor and we brought our own spoons. As the honored guest  tasted each dish, the food was passed down for us to enjoy. The first course was the traditional St. Joseph’s pasta.  Homemade pasta with a sauce made of chick peas, fava beans, cauliflower, and fennel. We all took a taste of the food passing the dishing around. In Sicily fava beans were believed to save the people in poor villages from famine, during a drought. They prayed for the intersession of St. Joseph to save them. Fava beans are always kept as a symbol of never being hungry again.

This year I have been  participating in the St. Joseph Novena at my friend, MaryAnn Orlando, home. We  recite the rosary first in English then St. Joseph’s rosary in Italian. We sing the traditional Italian hymns. Shouting “Viva San Giuseppe, and Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” after every hymn. We enjoy a social time and Italian desserts. I asked Mary Ann why she observed this saint’s day. She replied she has continued this custom down from her mother and grandmother.  She stated many people give thanks to St. Joseph for his intercession in answer to prayers and they relate many miracles through the intercession of St. Joseph. She stated her granddaughter was born with spinal bifida and look at that beautiful 13 year old serving people and bouncing with energy and happiness.

Also she stated her nephew was not expected to survive and awoke from a coma, as prayers were being said for him. Her altar is so beautiful. Our prayers are so sincere, I enjoy all the Italian hymns. I remember sitting with my mother and grandmother singing these hymns.  Many homes of Sicilian heritage in Gloucester host this feast every year.

Our parish priest visits each home blessing the altar, flour for making bread and pasta, oranges and lemons.  On the eve of St. Joseph’s day many people will visit for the blessing. A little bag with an orange for sweetness, a lemon for bitterness and a little loaf of bread for sustenance of life. On St. Joseph’s Day a bountiful buffet banquet with  traditional delicious Sicilian food  and wonderful pastry is offered. Each home has open house. All are welcome to attend. My friends, Grace Brancaleone and Katie Fontana also invite me to her homes every year to share in St. Joseph’s Day. I feel our Sicilian community is so blessed and fortunate to continue this wonderful custom.  This custom is celebrated all over this country and also in many parts of the world by people of Sicilian heritage. 

Viva San Giuseppe! 

Virginia0001           

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon                March 2013                        

St. Joseph Novena with the Orlando Family

So many thanks to the Orlando Family for again opening their home and hearts.

Joe, Maryann, and Grandma Orlando

The singing and prayers are beautiful. We recorded an entirely different selection of songs (compared to the previous evening), followed by a delicious and lovely spread of homemade pastries and cakes, with much laughing and joke telling in the family’s kitchen.

Rosalie and Maryann

Maryann’s Sister Vickie

Felicia’s Viva San Giuseppe Bread

Vintage angel figurine

To read the extensive GMG coverage and see Joey’s videos from last year’s Novenas, go to the GMG search box and type in Novena.