St. Joseph adopted my husband and I, years ago when we were just dating. In the first few months of meeting, I learned my now husband was of an Italian Catholic background, although not Catholic at the time, and Joseph was their family name. When March 19th arrived, 6 months after meeting him, I couldn’t help but celebrate. Especially, since St. Joseph’s Day has a longstanding Italian tradition.
In the beginning, my husband’s faith went as far as helping his dad with music ministry at their protestant church. So, the feast day started out very small, just as a way to show my appreciation for this new family in my life. The first year I made minestrone and put it in mason jars to be delivered to my then boyfriend, his father and grandfather – all named Joseph. I also added a note explaining a little bit about St. Joseph’s Day, since feast days are unfamiliar to non-Catholics.
Over the next year, and years to come, I saw in the three of them, many of the same and wonderful qualities that St. Joseph possessed. The following years, I began adding a handmade card with a note telling each of them how they reminded me of St. Joseph and how they each lived their lives as St. Joseph did. Not only did the reflection give me immense respect and appreciation for these men, but it also helped me to come to know this wonderful saint we continue to celebrate.
When my husband and I got married, the tradition continued, but instead of delivering the minestrone we invited my husband's family, all the Joes, over for an actual feast. We now have fresh minestrone, Pan de San Giuseppe, and a St. Joseph's day dessert of some sort. Each still get a handmade card with new things to learn about our family patron and how they live as he did.
We have been celebrating St. Joseph’s March 19th feast for 11 years now, 5 dating and 6 married. In the years we have been celebrating, St. Joseph has blessed us with his wisdom and intersession over the years: my husband converted to the faith a little over 3 years ago and truly exemplifies the vocation of fatherhood; it has given our family commonality to talk faith and religion with our non-Catholic family members; our offer on our first home was accepted on St. Joseph’s feast day an hour before we were to celebrate the feast; twice we learned we were pregnant on this feast day; and above all, St. Joseph never fails to lead us towards Christ in many other ways throughout the year.
As each feast comes, we add one new thing, such as a St. Joseph's lantern, a new food specific to the feast day, we will learn something new, try a novena, and more. We love the unity and ecumenism that this feast has brought to our family over the years. It has been so fruitful and one of my favorite days to celebrate. St. Joseph, pray for us!
Carlin Tesoro is a life-long Catholic who resides in San Diego, California. Graduating from California State University, Fullerton, Carlin became an art teacher when she returned home to San Diego. She now stays at home with her two young children, expecting her third in the fall. Carlin and her husband are active in their parish’s RCIA program and love celebrating their faith with friends and family, by example of the saints.