SPRING LAKE — Joseph’s Delicatessen on Warren Avenue celebrated St. Joseph’s Day on Friday, March 19, honoring the patron saint of Sicily and father of Jesus.
“For Sicilians, St. Joseph’s Day is huge,” said Joe Valentino, who has owned the deli since 1984 with his wife Joyce. “Other than Christmas day this is the biggest day of the year.”
He added that the island of Sicily typically shuts down to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph — La Festa di San Giuseppe, in Italian — with food, music and fireworks. On Friday, the deli also paused its usual business to honor St. Joseph, as it does every year.
The Rev. Monsignor Ed Arnister, of the Church of St. Rose in Belmar, attended the feast to bless the celebration table and all those in attendance.
“In the Middle Ages, in Italy, there was a famine; they were in a pandemic like we are,” the Rev. Arnister said, adding that the Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph to help them and put an end to the famine. “By praying to St. Joseph they were spared much death and destruction.”
“We pray today that he will bless us and help us to be healthy and to put an end to the pandemic that we’re in,” he said.
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