In the past hour, as I prepare for this evenings Novena, Saints continue to find their way to our St. Joseph Altar today in pairs. My girlfriend Kerrie Callahan Donahue just stopped by to gift two St. Patrick statues to our alter, as gifts from her Irish family. As Kerrie was placing the beautiful green and blue statues on the altar the door bell rang. To my surprise stood Sebastian Lovasco with a matching St. Joseph Statue to the one I purchased this morning at Second Glance thrift Shop. After reading my morning GMG post Sebastian went looking for the matching St Joseph statue he knew he had in his families collection, to gift to our family knowing it would keep with the old altar tradition of displaying everything in pairs! I’m truly speechless. If you look closely at the altar you will notice many of My Aunt Vincie and Uncle Mike’s antique paired statues and figurine that once adorned their altar for over 35 years. Our 2015 altar continues to come together magically in pairs, just as it did generations ago!
Thank you Sebastian and Kerrie for the gorgeous additions to the Ciaramitaro Family 2015 St. Joseph Altar!
Sebastian McDonald Just stopped by to gift antique statues that once adorned the St. Joseph Altar of his deceased grandmother, Ida Lovasco. Sabastian shared his beautiful St. Joseph childhood memories with me while he unwrapped the precious figurines. We broke into song together as we looked through the delicate pages of an original copy of the pray/song booklet used annually for over fifty years at the Lovasco Family altar on Addison Street here in Gloucester. I’m honored to have pieces of another families St. Joseph Altar displayed on this year altar. I personally would like to thank Sabastian and the Lovasco family for their special gift! Our family with cherish them forever!
Today I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support by family and friends. Three years ago this altar was constructed after a vivid dream. I woke my husband St. Barry from a sound sleep, to share my dream after having it six nights in a row. On that sixth night he handed me a piece of paper and pen and asked me to draw what I had dreamed. He glanced at my sketched drawing and said ” My Love, you only have 3 saint statues, that altar looks large, what are you going to fill it with?” I replayed, “I’m not worried about filling it, I have faith that the saints will find their way to this altar. Within the next 24 hours literally dozens of saints arrived at my doorstep, and fo the past 3 years they continue to find their way. Feeling truly blessed and honored. The vibe felt each night praying in front of this altar is amazingly powerful.
Dolores Sheehan & son John Sheehan
Tonight Dolores Sheehan granddaughter of the late Francis Linquata will have the honor of placing her grandmother antique candelabras onto the top tier of our families altar this evening, during our official kickoff to 2015 Feast Of St. Joseph, and 10 rosary. The heirloom pieces were once displayed on the Linquata family’s St. Anthony Altar for over 70 years. Last year Dolores was brought to tears with happy memories of attending her grandmother prayers services in front of their families’ shrine after attending one of my rosaries. After the tears were wiped and stories of novenas past were told around the dining room table during coffee time preceding that night’s rosary, Dolores pulled me aside to tell me that she had been storing her grandmother antique candelabras for several years waiting to find a special place for them to be once again displayed. Dolores then stated that, the special place she was looking for was our families’ altar. After a long teary-eyed embrace, I accepted Dolores precious gift and we began planning their début for this year’s St. Joseph Altar. A few weeks ago Dolores invited my brother Joey and I over to her home and graciously gifted them to be displayed on the top tier of my family’s St. Joseph altar this year. In keeping with my Aunt Vincie & uncle Mike Militello’s tradition of adding one extra night to the traditional 9 day novena/rosary,( just in case you need to miss a night you still can fulfill your 10 day commitment/devotion,) we will be kicking off the 2015 Feast Of St, Joseph by once again extending an invitation to all other families who host a St. Joseph Altar, to join us tonight for the first rosary of the season. The rosary tonight will be led by my dear friend Rosalie Orlando Foti. Tonight’s services will begin at 7:00 pm in front of our family’s altar. ALL Host Families are welcome to attend. The gathering of families at one altar the past two years has been a wonderful experience for all who attended. Our Family is looking forward to seeing many altar hosting families in attendance tonight.
Dolores Sheehan Writes~ Linquata family in the 40’s celebrating St, Josephs at 55r Main St (now the Dogbar Parking Lot).
Sista Felicia Writes~ I personally would like to thank Dolores and the Linquata family, for entrusting me and my family with your precious family heirlooms. I’m deeply touched by your kindness and our family is honored to have a pieces of The Linquata Family history on the altar this year. Through years of friendships, and business the Linquata and Ciaramitaro families have shared a connection that has tightly been intertwined for generations. It’s only fitting that the linquata family be represented on the highest tier of our altar!
Feeling blessed to have the best girlfriends and family!
Yesterday aunt Gina Ciaramitaro, cousin Mary Marcantonio, BFF Dee Noble, and friends, Andrea Randazza Carlson, Kerrie Callahan Donahue, Christie Guarrasi DaSilva, Andrea Butler Bridget Mathews, all stopped by to help set up the altar, and dinning room tables for this years St. Jpseph Rosary. Ladies thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did yesterday! I can’t believe the altar is ready and the tables are set! I love our tradition of spending the day together, preparing for the nine day rosary, and especially love, our traditional Virgilio’s St. Joseph Sandwiches lunch around the dinning room table and afternoon Cappuccino break reminasing about past years. We make an incredible team! I’m looking forward to building more memories together this year!
Thank you all
The 2015 altar is officially under construction! Yesterday, St. Barry assembled our families St. Joseph Altar, while my dear friend Tanya Frost and carefully removed dozens of Saints and Statues from the “vidina,”China cabinet, for their annual bath, polishing, and inspection for repairs, in preparation of todays traditional decorating the altar gathering at my home with friends and family!
A special thank you to “My Love” St. Barry, for all his help, love, and support.
Thank you for helping yesterday Tanya Frost. You saved me many hours of doing it alone.
Frances and Ann Margaret Ferrante adorn their year-round shrine/St. Joseph Altar for the holiday season with fresh Red Pointsettia Plants.
Taking down the altar is just as much a tradition as assembling it. My mother Pat, daughter Amanda, neighbor Deanna, and my “Tea Friends” Dee Noble Andrea Butler, Christie Guarrasi DaSilva, deconstructed this years altar in record time. I can not be more grateful for all they do each year after the crowds are gone, the celebration is over, and the dust has officially settled. The festivities may be over but the to do list of putting the house back together is far from over! Without ever having to ask, they take it upon themselves to coordinate a time to meet at my house to break down the altar, table settings, and serving stations. Deconstructing the altar is a not an easy task. Rearranging my year round mini altar, restocking dozens of statues back into the vitrine cabinet, and carefully covering borrowed statues in bubble wrap for safe transport back to Mr. Philip Perry’s home is a daunting task. Every item in, on and around the altar is packed away safely for next year. Prayer book, candle holders, rosary beads, prayer cards, and music Each must be stored properly and systemically so that next years assembly runs smoothly. I’m so incredibly lucky to have an amazing group of women put my house back together by leading their helping hands.
Thank you all<3
Now that the hard work is over, this morning I took a much needed break and enjoyed a slice of Ricotta Pie I made yesterday and cup of espresso while writing some personal thank you notes to friends and family.
For my Ricotta Pie Recipe see page #222 in “Gifts of Gold In A Sicilian Kitchen With Sista Felicia; Harvest” Cookbook!
Lastly in my thanks for the Saint Joseph film project assistance goes to the beautiful Ciaramitaro-Mohan Family. Felicia and I have been working on this project together since its inception and I can only say that she is the most talented, sweetest, funnest (and funniest), smartest, and best organized friend and partner in a project that anyone could ever hope for.
Her home is always filled to the brim with family and friends, light, laughter, and love. To Felicia, Barry, Pat, Amanda, BJ, Joey, all Ciaramitaro cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and best friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your beautiful Saint Joseph novena and feast. I hope you will find as much joy in, as I have found in the making of, the Feast of Saint Joseph film. xo
Felicia and Christie
Amanda and Felicia
Many, many thanks and our deepest appreciation to the Frank and Nina Groppo Family for agreeing to be interviewed and for allowing us to film their beautiful St. Joseph celebrations. While interviewing and during the feast, their wonderful home was overflowing with family and friends, joy and grace. Thank you Groppo Family and Friends!
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this – we appreciate yours and everyone’s devotion and faith to Saint Joseph.
We hope to continue with this devotion and tradition for as long as Saint Joseph and the good Lord give us the strength to do it and send us the help to do it – not just for us but for all that join in this beautiful tradition of faith, whether for just one day or for the full Novena!!
Left to right back row: Vincenza Ferrara, Kathy Pratl, and Francesco Groppo.
Left to right front row: Eleonora D’Angelo, Angela Sanfilippo, Agata Groppo, Fina Briguglio, and Maria Sanfilippo.
and Nina “Crocetta” Groppo sitting on Agata’s lap.
Click portrait to view full size image.
With much thanks and appreciation to Grace Brancaleone and Family for sharing thier stories and traditions for the St. Joseph film project.
Front Row ~ Grace, Rosanne, Phyllis, and Grace; Back Row ~ Caleb, Cameron, Heather, Aaron, Paul, and Jim
Many, many thanks to the Carl and Marie Silva Family for sharing their story about the origins of their altar, family traditions and celebrations for the St. Joseph Film Project. As are all the altars, Marie’s is beautiful, and I especially love the added touch of the vine covered trellis.
Back row left to right ~ Lily, Linda, Carl, Marie, Jennifer, and Eric; front row Sylvia and Luke. Click image to view larger.
With thanks and much appreciation to Mary, Connie, Roy, and Onofrio Joseph for sharing their traditions and stories of celebrations past and present for the St. Joseph Day film project.
Left to right: Onofrio Joseph Russo, Connie Orlando, Mary Russo, and Roy Milone
Our deepest thanks and appreciation to Frances and Ann Margaret Ferrante and friends for welcoming us to film and photograph an interview with their exquisite St. Joseph altar.
Frances and Ann Margaret Ferrante
Zina Saputo and Felicia
Ferrante St. Joseph Altar
Niño, Oldest Son Pietro, and Maria Cannova with their beautiful altar.
After giving the interview for the St. Joseph film project, Niño gave Felicia the lovely poster of St. Joseph for her altar. He also gave both Felicia and I each a salted and seasoned salmon. Niño travels to Alaska to work on salmon fishing boats. He suggested serving the salmon with fresh lemon, and I did, and it was delicious!! Thank you Canovva Family for your beautiful gifts and warm hospitality.
Niño’s Gift of Salmon
Kathleen and John Scola share their beautiful family altar with the St. Joseph film project.
Kathleen showing an old newspaper clipping about St. Joseph bread and pasta, featuring her father, nicknamed Vito the Baker, because of his exceptional bakery and bread store, which was located in the building where Valentinos is located.