This week, a St. Joseph Altar was created in the Technology Center foyer for the Dominican community. Food donations for the altar were contributed by alumnae who assisted in creating the altar. The food will be donated to the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the neighborhood Peace Center that serves people of all ages. The center’s services include job readiness, senior meals, and computer training. Dominican students mentor and tutor children in the Peace Center’s After-School program.
The altar was built in three tiers to represent the Holy Trinity. Breads, cakes and other confections represented different religious icons and symbols. Cakes were in the shape of the Pascal Lamb and the Holy Bible. The staff symbol harkened to the legend of St. Joseph’s walking stick with blooms of lilies. Circular shapes symbolized Everlasting Love, a cross for the Crucifixion of Christ, and a heart for the Love of the Virgin Mary. There were also the traditional Sicilian confections, Cuccidatae. Made from a simple recipe of pastry dough with sweetened fig filling, these decorative breads featured intricate carvings.
Baskets of fresh fruit represented Fullness of Life and Resurrection; Redfish – the Bounty from the Sea. Clusters of palm branches in vases represented Christian Martyrdom and Victory of Death. The altar also was adorned with statues of other saints, candles and photographs of deceased loved ones. In a frame by the altar were the names of deceased sisters from the Dominican community, the earliest entry from 1867.
Pope Francis proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021. His Apostolic Letter, Patris corde, (“With a Father’s Heart”), marks the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. Archbishop Gregory Aymond proclaimed 2021 the “Year of the Eucharist and St. Joseph.” The yearlong celebration includes invoking the intercession of St. Joseph to bring Catholics closer to Jesus in the Eucharist.