Tag Archives: Feast of Saint Joseph


Beginning in the early 1900s, the American Father’s Day was brought to Italy, a sort of reverse sharing of holidays! Fittingly, in Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day.

Maria Cannova Gloucester Feast of Saint Joseph blessing children -5 Kim Smith 2016Three Generations of Cannovas, Maria’s son Leo, Giliano Mari, and Grandfather

Saint Joseph Gloucester gropp feast Kim Smith 2016

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim SmithFather and Daughter Domeic and Maria making Zeppole at Caffe Sicilia

Groppo Feast of saint Joseph Gloucester Kim Smith 2016Kensie and Grandfather Tony


Caffe Sicilia’s sea of zeppoles, and sfinci, too!

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic sfinci Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim SmithSfinci

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole -2 Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim Smith .JPGZeppole in progress 

So many thanks to Maria, Nina, and Domenic for their continued help with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. 

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim Smith

Live Saint Joseph sfinci making with Caffe Sicilia's Nina – part one

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

About ready to eat one of these amazing puffs of yumminess – Maria and Nina's sfinci at Caffe Sicilia!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on




Artists-in-the-Kitchen Maria Cracchiolo, and her parents Domenic and Nina Damico, demonstrate how to create beautiful bread in shapes symbolic of Saint Joseph and inspired by nature. Watch as Maria, Nina, and Domenic artfully shape angels, a carpenter’s saw, San Giuseppe scroll, Saint Joseph sun, snails, flowers, butterflies, grapes, and more.
As you will hear Maria’s story unfold (while deftly shaping the dough), her family’s tradition of making the Saint Joseph altar bread began several years ago, for a very heartfelt reason. In 2010, her young daughter was facing a very serious operation. Maria had never made the special Saint Joseph altar bread, but decided that year to make it her devotion to Saint Joseph. Maria taught herself how to shape the bread, finding inspiration in old photos of altars, and also from images, which she found online, of bread made in Sicily. Maria lived in Italy for five years, attending art school and studying fashion design. When I write “Artists-in-the Kitchen” you’ll see why after viewing the video.

Both of Maria’s parents, Nina and Domenic, were born in Sicily and grew up celebrating the Feast of San Giuseppe in the Sicilian tradition of feeding the poor and orphaned, and welcoming all who came to their table. Thank you Maria, Domenic, and Nina for graciously welcoming me into your Caffe Sicilia’s kitchen!

Saint Joseph Bread is available by special order at Caffe Sicilia. Call to place your order at (978) 283-2345.

Many thanks to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken for the suggestion to contact Maria and her family to interview for Gloucester’ Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project.


Joe Virgilio Makes Saint Joseph Rolls is a wonderful addition to Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. So many thanks to Joe for taking time from his busy work day to allow filming! Highlights include Joe sharing stories about the early days working alongside his grandfather and cousins, when the thousands of rolls needed for Saint Joseph’s Day were made by hand.

To order your Saint Joseph rolls call 978-283-5295 or stop by. Store hours are from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Originally posted 2014.


To learn more about Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film and the real story about how the project evolved, please go to the film’s website and click on the About the Film link and the Director’s Statement link. For periodic updates about the film, you can keep in touch on the blog page of the film’s website or friend me on Facebook.

The hands that teach

Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo -10 Kim Smith Designs 2016The gentle hands that teach

If you would like to learn more about Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film and the real story about how the project evolved, please go to the film’s website and click on the About the Film link and the Director’s Statement link. For periodic updates about the film, you can keep in touch on the blog page of the film’s website or friend me on Facebook.



The Best Day!

Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo Kim Smith Designs 2016Nina and daughter Enza

From beginning to end, the pasta-making team is well cared for. When you arrive, Nina and friends have fresh bread baking in the oven and large vats of homemade ricotta steaming on the stove top. The friendships, the fun and conversation, and especially enjoyable is observing how greatly the children love to participate. From the oldest grannies to the teens, tweens, toddlers, and everyone in-between, making pasta with friends and family makes for a simply wonderful day!

Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo Kim Smith Designs -6 2016Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo Kim Smith Designs -5 2016DSCF8091Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo 17 Kim Smith Designs 2016Tower of Pasta Power!

Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo -28 Kim Smith Designs 2016Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo -19 Kim Smith Designs 2016Feast of Saint Joseph Gloucester Groppo -20Kim Smith Designs 2016Resident Photo Bomber Leo

If you would like to learn more about Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film and the accurate account of how the project evolved, please go to the film’s website and click on the About the Film link and the Director’s Statement link. For periodic updates about the film, you can keep in touch on the blog page of the film’s website or friend me on Facebook.


Read more


 copy-st-joe-header-final-saturatedGloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project

Filming continues, with great joy, appreciation, and thanks to all the families for their continued help. Dislocating my elbow this past winter set me back a bit in the editing department, however, every cloud has a silver lining. We have filmed additional scenes and are adding more daily. I recently invested in a second hard drive for the film and now all the footage from the past several years is thankfully backed up and in one safe place.

First and foremost, my deepest gratitude and most heartfelt thanks goes to the Groppo Family and Friends, who for the past several years have included me and my camera in every aspect of their Feast of Saint Joseph Novena and preparations.

Tremendous thanks goes to Maria Cracchiolo and Joe Virgilio for allowing filming of their Saint Joseph bread and pastry making. Thank you to Mayor Romeo Theken for her suggestion to get in touch with both Joe and Maria.

Again, I would like to thank all the families who granted interviews and took the time to share their beautiful stories and traditions. Special thanks to Felicia Ciaramitaro and Mayor Theken for their introductions and help organizing the interviews during the project’s earliest beginnings.

I think an additional thanks is owed Sefatia for her wisdom in organizing the trolley tour of Gloucester’s Family altars, which allowed for a window into this world of deep devotion and community spirit.

If you would like to learn more about the film and how the project evolved, please go to the film’s website and click on the About the Film link and the Director’s Statement link. For periodic updates about the film, you can keep in touch on the blog page of the film’s website or friend me on Facebook.

San Giuseppe

Rick and I had such a wonderful time at Felicia’s on San Giuseppe March 19, 2015. What a great tradition being passed down to future generations, thank you Felicia. Here are a few photos from a wonderful day.

Viva Mariposa!



Yesterday while preparing bread for our Feast of ST. Joseph, my BFF Dee Noble creatively shaped a Mariposa “String Of Pearls” inspired “Viva St. Joseph Bread” for the altar when I was in the other room fixing a second batch of bread dough. She knows my love for all things Mariposa and thought our altar needed a special Mariposa touch!

2015 altar bread st joseph 1

This year’s Altar Breads

st joe altar bread 2015 2

st joe altar bread 2015 3

The big question late last night…
How many men does it take to put the Mariposa away?”


BFF Dee, directing the men during the massive team effort to tidy the house after last nights feast!

Family friend and GMG Contributor Donna Ardizzoni was in the kitchen with us all day photographing the process of preparing dishes served at last night’s traditional St. Joseph Feast. Look for her Photo gallery tomorrow afternoon!


Donna Thank you for everything! Yesterday was so much fun! My kitchen is always filled with laughter when your in it!


James and I look forward to selecting photos from your gallery for cookbook #3!  

Sista’s Favorite Kitchen Gadget Of The Week


It’s all About The St. Joseph Pasta this weekend!

pasta machine 2

Yesterday I picked up an extra hand crank pasta machine at Marshalls for only $24.99! There was no way I was leaving the store with that fabulous bargain in hand! One can never have enough pasta machine when annually making this amount of Sista Felicia’s St Joseph Semolina Pasta!

pasta machine  5 post

The cutting mechanisms on this Norpro Pasta Machine appears to be sharp enough to cut clean edges…I’ll keep you all posted during the live Stream broadcast how it preforms  throughout the day!


pasta dry 8

pasta dry 7

 St. Barry’s Drying Rack In Use

pasta dry 6

For Sista Felicia’s Homemade St. Joseph Semolina Pasta Recipe… click recipe video link below, filmed and produced by Giani Gallo from Gallo Productions.

Every Sicilian family makes their homemade St. Joseph Pasta slightly different. Some use eggs, some use white flour, some use semolina, and others use a combination of both.  The combination of ingredients and the pasta’s thickness really determines both the taste, and texture of the final traditional pasta dish. The St. Joseph “Goranza” is traditionally made with Cauliflower, fava beans, chick peas, and fennel frauns.  Some Sicilian families add several kinds of beans and some add the stalks and bulb of the anise.  Like all Italian and Sicilian recipes ….each family has their own twist.  Many make this pasta extremely thick and heavy, similar to the texture of wall paper paste, I do not. Over the years I have developed this pasta recipe and mastered the technique of making it.  If you’re looking for a pasta recipe that’s tender, light, and delicious, my Sista Felicia’s Semolina Pasta is for you!  Even The Mayor of Gloucester “Sefatia Giambanco Romeo Theken” gives it a two thumbs up, and looks forward to taking a 5 lb. bag home each year.  

 This Saturday we will be live streaming, Patsa Making Day! Preparations for the feast are in full swing at this time. My rosary ladies, close friends and family are geared up to gather in my kitchen for this weekend’s pasta event! On Saturday, all 130 lbs. of semolina pasta will be hand crafted, and set to dry on a large drying rack, creatively constructed by my husband St. Barry!  The hand crafted pasta will be served with our families “Goranza” Recipe passed down by my Uncle Michele and Aunt Vincie Millitiello. Our traditional “Goranza,” in english,“ sauce,” made with fava beans, cauliflower, chick peas, and fresh fennel furan, will be served on March nineteenth the official Feast Day Of  St. Joseph. The large pots of “Goranza will rest side by side with a large pot of “Sunday Sugu” minus the meat ingredients, for those who have not yet acquired a taste or appreciations for the  unique flovor of this pasta dish, but would still like to enjoy the hand crafted and blessed pasta. . Growing up I can vividly remember a long line of people waiting with containers in hand during my Uncle Mike and Aunt Vincie’s St. Joseph Feast Day.  A line from her stove in the kitchen went through the house, out the front door and down the street 2 city blocks.  People waited hours to get a potion of blessed pasta.  For the past few years I decided to take that tradition one step further, and send my family and guest home with a bag of dried pasta, and  small container of St. Joseph Goranza, so they can prepare and enjoy it one more time at home.  It has become the grand finally of our feast day.  Everyone waits in line for their opportunity to digs into the giant containers of stored pasta.  Each fills a plastic bag up with homemade dried pasta, and heads to the kitchen to pick up their container of Goranza by the stove top.  This new tradition is another “Gift Of Gold” that I hope to pass on to the next generation!  


Making Limoncello with Friends and Nina Groppo’s Cucuzza

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph -2 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Left to right, front: Nina Groppo and Kathy Pratl; back: Jane Beddus and Catherine Gunn

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014

Kathy Pratl limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014 copyThis past weekend filming continued on the Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. Nina and Frank Groppo serve the most wonderful homemade limoncello during the Feast and we decided back in March to include limoncello-making in the story of how Saint Joseph’s special day is celebrated in Gloucester. Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane not only graciously agreed to allow filming, but also included me in the preparations and you’ll see what fun we had in the forthcoming film!

Kathy Pratl cucuzza limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

While at the Groppo’s garden you can’t help but notice their amazing crop of cucuzza (pronounced ku-koz-za, also goo-gootz), hanging from their handmade arbor. Cucuzza is an Italian squash that from what I understand, in English, means something like “super long squash.” A single squash can grow ten inches in one day!

For our first of several limoncello-making days, Nina created a beautiful lunch. She served cucuzza soup, made from both the fruit and the leaves. It was fabulous and delicious and like no other soup I had sampled before. She also baked wonderfully fresh hake filets and prepared a lovely tomato salad, with heirloom tomatoes from her garden.

Nina described how she hand pollinates the fruit ~ Each plant produces male and female flowers. She explains that it is easy to identify the female flowers as they have a small swollen fruit (ovary) on the stem, just behind the flowers. She plucks the male flowers off the vine and gently brushes together the male’s anther and female’s stigma, the flower’s reproduction parts, which insures good pollination. By removing the male flowers from the vine, you are not eliminating any potential fruit because the male flowers don’t bear fruit.

Cucuzza Groppo ©kim Smith 2014

I have been planning an arbor for my garden patio for sometime and after seeing and tasting the Groppo’s fabulous cucuzza, I am not waiting any longer to build one!

Thank you dear Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane for your continuing help with the 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

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!


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