***DUE TO COVID 19 - THE ST JOSEPH'S ALTAR HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE. AS SOON AS WE KNOW MORE INFORMATION ON THE PANDEMIC WE WILL SET A NEW DATE FOR THE ALTAR. GOD BLESS.***
Jacob Zumo & Fr Bayhi will host this years St. Joseph’s Altar at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Zachary.
One of the most colorful traditions of the Catholic Church is the honoring of St. Joseph on his Feast Day. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Zachary will host a St. Joseph’s Altar at noon on Sunday March 22 in the Parish Activity Center, 4826 Main Street (Lee Street entrance).
Pastor, Father Jeffery Bayhi will bless the altar at noon and immediately following there will be Lenten Meal prepared by various ministries of St. John’s. The design and construction of the altar will be under the direction of Jacob Zumo, a local artist known for his religious and sacred art and who has strong ties to the Sicilian tradition.
Continuing the example set by the Sicilians of long ago, the St. Joseph Altar is the result of efforts from many parishioners. It is a parish wide effort to build, decorate, gather, prepare and serve food. The combined ministries of St John’s work together to create this local event.
According to legend, St. Joseph who is the patron saint of Sicily saved the people from the effects of a devastating drought and famine in the Middle Ages. Because of answered prayers, the altar was started and is an annual event. Following tradition of early altars, there will be a tableau of the Holy Family.
St. Joseph Altars came to Louisiana in the early 1800’s when people from Western Sicily immigrated to the state and many Catholic churches prepare one annually. Altar breads in various religious shapes will be displayed and represent some part of the legend. Palm leaves symbolize the Blessed Mother. The crook and ladder signify St. Joseph and the cross represents Christ’s passion and death. The breads are sometimes dried, toasted with sugar and sprinkled atop spaghetti. The crumbs are symbolic of St. Joseph’s sawdust.
According to legend, it is “lucky” to visit a St. Joseph Altar. During the Sicilian famine, people were reduced to eating fava beans, a food normally fed to the animals. Therefore, a single fava bean is given to each altar participant. The bean, when carried in one’s pocket, will prevent “going broke.”
In addition to the symbolic foods, the altar will feature donated baked goods, fruit, wine, fish and bread to be shared by those attending. Each attendee will receive a gift of cookies, St. Joseph bread, a prayer card, and, last but certainly not least, a fava bean!
There will be a display of photos of parishioners serving in the military and memorial candles honoring loved ones. Altar candles will be available for purchase for $11.00 each on www.jzumo.com or purchase can be arranged by calling the church office at 225-654-5778. Special intentions can be added to the candles at time of purchase.
The St. Joseph’s Altar is a great showcase of food, tradition, and a magnificent community gesture of charity and faith. Please call the Parish Office at 225-654-5778 for more information.