Visit local St. Joseph’s altars this weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2011



LAPLACE – With the feast of St. Joseph coming up Saturday churches and other facilities in the River Parishes will begin celebrating with traditional St. Joseph’s altars Friday.

In LaPlace, Ascension of Our Lord Church, 1900 Greenwood Drive, will bless its altar at 9:15 a.m. Friday following the 8:30 a.m. Mass. Public viewing will continue until noon. It will re-open later that evening from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a Stations of the Cross ceremony at 7. On Saturday, there will be a morning viewing from 10 a.m. to noon and an evening viewing from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the 4 p.m. mass. The altar closes Sunday with a viewing from 8:30 a.m. to noon during the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses.

In Vacherie, St. Joseph Plantation Home, 3535 Louisiana Highway 18, honors its Italian heritage with an altar in the downstairs parlor of the home on Saturday. Viewing times are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admittance to the altar is free and complete tours of the home will also be available. The home is also offering free tours this week to any visitors named Joseph or Josephine.

According to the home’s website, the plantation at one time employed more that 100 Italian immigrants who spoke no English and mainly worked in the fields in the early 1900s. Many of the immigrants stayed at the home to work for a number of years and had a profound impact on the cultural history of the home.

In Norco, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church will present an altar at the home of Tony and Clara Perret, at 211 Mary St. The altar will be open for viewing Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The church will also hold a blessing and a mass at 11 a.m. Saturday.

A typical New Orleans-style St. Joseph’s altar usually features three tiers representing the trinity, with a statue of St. Joseph presiding over the top level. Candles, flowers, prayer beads and an assortment of food fill out the remaining levels. All food, if not sold for the benefit of the church, is typically donated to charity once the altar is dismantled.