St. Joseph’s altars being held this weekend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2012

By robin shannon


LAPLACE – With the feast day of St. Joseph coming up on Monday, Catholic churches within the Archdiocese of New Orleans, including several in the River Parishes, will begin celebrating with traditional St. Joseph’s Altars this weekend.

In LaPlace, Ascension of Our Lord Church, 1900 Greenwood Drive, began presenting its St. Joseph’s altar Friday morning in the church’s Don Bosco Hall. Viewings continue today, with 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. The Ladies Altar Society will be selling cookies and other items.

In Edgard, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Ladies Altar Society is presenting an altar at the church’s community center, at 2349 Louisiana Highway 18. Viewings will be held today from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Lutcher, the Catholic Daughters of America, the Court St. Joseph of Lutcher, Gramercy and Paulina and Court St. Michael of Convent will present an altar at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1905 W. Main St., Lutcher. Viewings are today from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon.

In Norco, Clara and Tony Perret will present their family’s 27th annual St. Joseph’s Altar in their home at 211 Mary St. The altar will be open for viewing on Sunday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Monday, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In Luling, St. Anthony Church is working with St. Mark Church in Ama to present an altar at the St. Anthony Community Activities Building at 234 Angus Drive. The blessing will be Sunday at noon, followed by a spaghetti dinner. Viewing will continue until 4 p.m. Viewing will continue Monday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with lunch served at 11 a.m. The Luling Living Center, 1125 Paul Maillard Road, will also have an altar Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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.

The tradition originated in the early 1800s in Sicily, when farmers suffering through a drought prayed to St. Joseph for relief. It was carried on by Sicilian immigrants who settled in New Orleans in the 19th century.