The St. Joseph Altar Tradition Continues at St. Ambrose Church on The Hill

Sunday, March 18, 2018, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm

Once again, this year, St. Ambrose Church on The Hill will celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph by setting the traditional St. Joseph Altar on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The St. Joseph Altar Committee has been very busy with all the preparations necessary for another successful altar.  The Committee has added several new people who have joined the St. Joseph Altar Committee. See photo below of the Committee. Sitting: Linda Traina, Anne Danter, Domenica Allen, Toni Pagano, Suzie Fragale, Loretta April. Standing: Louisa Cottone, Marie Wohlert, Vicki, Calcaterra, MaryAlice Neri, Becky Towers, Sue Favazza, Frances Regalia, Rosemary Parentin. The preparations for the St. Joseph Altar at St. Ambrose Church are astounding and the contributions of the committee, volunteers, businesses, and the community are most generous.

At its last meeting the Committee reviewed the schedule for the week leading up to March 18 and discussed all the activities that bring the altar to life. The committee has decided that this year’s altar will offer more of the most popular items that people ask for and sell those items at a more reasonable price. “We want everyone to be able to take home something from the altar,” said, Marie Wohlert, Co-Chairperson. Among the items being offered are arancini (rice balls), stuffed artichokes, breaded eggplant and plenty of cuccidatti (fig filling cookies), giuggiulena (sesame) cookies and pignolata (round dough balls deep fried and smothered in honey.  All these are traditional foods are prepared  for the Feast of St. Joseph in towns all across Italy. You will also find the traditional St. Joseph bread offered by several bakeries on The Hill. Of course, there will be plenty of baked goods donated by parishioners and friends.

Once again, there will be an altar set up in the school gym, as well as the main altar in the school cafeteria. “We hope this will accommodate the popularity of this event,” said MaryAlice Neri, Co-Chairperson. There will be food served in the gym and the cafeteria. Last year this event served lunch to over 500 people. Admission is free but a freewill donation is asked when going through the food line.

As you may know, Monsignor Polizzi started the Altar in 1971. He wanted to make sure that the tradition of setting up an altar to honor St. Joseph on his feast day would be preserved and continued. He decided the best way to do this would be to bring the celebration to the church.

Every year the committee honors a special group of people (or person), who have shown service and commitment to the parish and the community. This year’s honorees are The Past Chairpersons of the St. Joseph Altar. This year’s Co-Chairs, MaryAlice Neri and Marie Wohlert, have contacted all past Chairpersons (unfortunately, some have passed away over the years). This special group of women will be honored at the 11:00 mass on Sunday, March 18, 2018.

Before mass students from St. Ambrose will perform the Tupa Tupa (knock knock) play, which depicts the Holy Family searching for a place to stay. After mass, Monsignor Bommarito will lead a procession carrying a statue of St. Joseph and followed by The Honorees and guests to the school cafeteria. He will bless the Main Altar and the altar upstairs in the gym. All guests are welcomed to the food line (cafeteria and gym) after 12:30 pm and sample the many items donated by local restaurants and chefs (freewill donation accepted).

Guests will have plenty of time to purchase the items on the Altars. All proceeds from the St. Joseph Altar are donated to St. Ambrose School for tuition assistance for children in need.

Many volunteers are needed to make this event come to life, during the preparation week and the day of the event. Please look in the church bulletin for volunteer information for the St Joseph Altar. If you are interested in helping out, please contact:  Loretta April at 314-550-4059. Thank you for considering to help with this wonderful annual tradition at St. Ambrose Church.

The Committee encourages donations from local restaurants and businesses to be shared with guests attending the event.  If you know of a food service business who would like to donate a bowl of salad, pan of pasta, tray of sandwiches, or any other food items, please contact Loretta April at 314-550-4059.

Any individual who would like to donate baked goods or other homemade items to the St. Joseph Altar, bring your donation to the St. Ambrose school cafeteria on Saturday, March 17, 2018, between 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

St. Ambrose Parish and The St. Joseph Altar Committee look forward to sharing this wonderful tradition with the community. All are welcome to another successful St. Joseph Altar on March 18, 2018.

Loretta Vitale April

St. Joseph Altar Committee Member

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