We love celebrating Mary in our house! She is my constant intercessor and role model for what a loving, patient mother should be. I know I fail at this everyday raising my own children, but I feel the graces from her when I need it most, which is why I have such a strong devotion to her for my family. She is truly our spiritual mother!
Being that it’s May, a month devoted to Mary, I really wanted to honor her this year with a May Crowning. The boys are at a great age to get involved in this beautiful tradition.
My husband bought me a gorgeous Mary statue for Mother’s Day this year. So this became the perfect opportunity to start our May Crowning tradition.
Our boys loved participating and we recited the Hail Mary as they crowned her.
Below are the supplies and instructions I used to make our own floral crown for Mary.
Hope you enjoy celebrating this beautiful tradition in your own home.
Our household was filled with excitement as we anxiously awaited to see who our new Pope would be! Even more exciting is that he took the name Francis, as that is Eli’s favorite saint. We love his humility and how he asked for everyone’s blessings upon him. Very touching and heartwarming! VIVA LA PAPA!
I found this informative article on our local diocesan’s website. I’ve always loved this tradition, but never really knew the history behind it.
Centuries ago, Sicily, the big island off the southern tip of Italy, suffered a drought and famine. No rain fell and the crops that fed both people and livestock withered and died. Sicilians turned in prayer to their patron saint, San Giuseppe, St. Joseph, for relief.
The drought continued. Wheat stalks dried up and cracked beneath farmers’ feet as they trudged through barren fields. Drifting dust and brown, shriveled vines were all that remained of what had been rows of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Still, the people prayed to St. Joseph for help.
Finally, the clouds opened, pouring desperately needed rain, and all of Sicily rejoiced. After the harvest, to show their gratitude, they prepared a table with special foods to honor St. Joseph and to share with the poor. After thanking and honoring the saint, they distributed the food to those in need.
That first St. Joseph Table set up in Sicily was small, but as time went by, the tables grew larger, more ornate, beautiful and bountiful. And the tradition continues today in parishes throughout Italy and America. After the tables are decorated, they are blessed by the parish priest, and the parish and larger community is invited to come see the table and share a meal.
A St. Joseph’s Table is usually a three-tiered display representing the Holy Trinity. A statue of St. Joseph is placed at the top tier. A special smaller table, set for the Holy Family, is placed at the front. The tables are filled with displays of food, flowers, candles and “zepolla”. Dispensing food to those in need is an important part of the tradition.
Many symbols can be found on a St. Joseph’s Table. Bread crumbs on pasta represent saw dust on the floor of St. Joseph the carpenter’s workshop. White lilies symbolize transformation and purity. Breads may be baked in the shapes of carpenter’s tools, canes or chalices. Wine recalls both the miracle at Cana and, with bread, the Last Supper. Pineapples on the table symbolize hospitality and 12 fish represent the 12 apostles.
Red clothing is traditional, worn to symbolize charity and strength.
Blessed fava beans are often given out at St. Joseph’s Tables. Once considered cattle feed, fava beans survived the Sicilian drought, sustained the people, and saved them from starvation. It is believed that if these beans are carried in a coin purse all year, one is never without resources. Blessed, dried beans are also kept in the pantry, so there will always be food in the home.
The breads, cookies and pastries decorating the tables are later sold to raise funds for the sponsoring parish or for charity. A traditional spaghetti or pasta Milanese (fish sauce) dinner is often hosted.
Sicilian immigrants introduced St. Joseph’s Tables to this country; today Catholics of many nationalities honor St. Joseph. He is a patron of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, honored in many parishes with a St. Joseph Table and pasta dinner.
Centuries after the first St. Joseph Table was prepared in gratitude for rain, the tradition continues, reminding us to share with people in need.