NEW ORLEANS – In anticipation of the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19, parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans are busy making final preparations for the traditional St. Joseph’s Altars.
Work on the beautiful altars begins as early as January with cookie baking and organizing donations from the community all in a “labor of love” to honor St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, for his prayerful intercession and his saintly example.
The altars are traditionally erected in the shape of a cross, representing Jesus’ sacrifice, with three tiers, representing the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are decorated with fresh fruit, breads in various shapes representing Jesus, St. Joseph and other saints, cookies, cakes, and fish, but no meat signifying that the solemnity occurs during the Lenten season. The food collected for the altars is donated to the poor and many parishes host a free meal for the community to build fellowship and provide a welcoming space.
The tradition of the St. Joseph’s Altar came to New Orleans with the Sicilian immigrants. The tradition was born out of an experience of famine on the island. The people prayed through the intercession of St. Joseph for food and those prayers were answered. After the harvest, the people built the altar in his honor to give thanks for St. Joseph’s intercessory prayers on their behalf.
The following is an alphabetical listing of St. Joseph’s Altars in the area. Please note there are some altars opening as early as March 14 this year.
Archbishop Chapelle High School, 8800 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, March 18, noon-8 p.m. Blessing of the Altar at noon, Rosary at 7 p.m., March 19, 9: a.m.-4 p.m.; Tupa Tupa at noon followed by Pasta Milanese lunch in the cafeteria.
Ascension of Our Lord, 1900 Greenwood Dr., LaPlace (Piovan Hall): March 19, altar blessing after 8:30 a.m. school Mass with viewing until 8 p.m.; March 20, viewing opens from 6-8 p.m. with Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. March 21, viewing from 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (Mass at 4 p.m.) March 22, viewing from 8 a.m.-noon. (8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Masses). Italian cookies, baked goods, wine, candles, medals, rosaries and holy cards available for a donation. Altar proceeds will be sent to Saltillo, Mexico missions in honor of deceased founding pastor, Father Benny Piovan.
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Church, 3037 Dauphine St., New Orleans (parish hall): March 18, viewing 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; March 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., noon blessing, then meals served.
Brother Martin High School, 4401 Elysian Field Ave., New Orleans (James B. Branton Chapel):
March 18, opening Mass 7:25 a.m. followed by blessing. Public viewing March 18-19, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. www.brothermartin.com. Donations go to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Missions in the U.S. and around the world.
Cabrini High School, 1400 Moss St., New Orleans: March 19, blessing and Tupa Tupa at 9 a.m. with viewing until 7 p.m. in the chapel, and dinner served at 5 p.m. in the Esplanade courtyard.
De La Salle High School, 5300 St. Charles Ave. (school lobby), New Orleans: March 19, viewing 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Blessing at 9 a.m. “Tupa Tupa” Holy Family playlet, rosary at 11:30 a.m.
Divine Mercy Parish, 4337 Sal Lentini Pkwy., Kenner, Altar will be erected in the Narthex of Church on March 18, 6-8 p.m., March 19, 9 a.m. Mass (blessing and Tupa Tupa), then open for viewing 10:30 a.m. with Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by the parish school, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Home and School Association in parish Community Center from 5:30-7 p.m.
Good Shepherd Parish/St. Stephen’s Church, 1025 Napoleon Avenue, New Orleans, March 19, viewing of the altar will begin after Mass and blessing at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Food will be served starting at 11:30 a.m.
Holy Cross School, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, Administration Bldg (first floor). Open to public 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mass at 9:10 a.m. in the Student Center, blessing after school liturgy. No meals.
Immaculate Conception Church, 130 Baronne St., New Orleans (Lenes Hall): March 18, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; March 19, 8 a.m.-noon, with altar blessing and lunch for the needy at 12:30 p.m.
Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave., University Ministry, New Orleans, March 19, St. Joseph’s Altar will be set up in the Danna Student Center in the Starbucks lobby. Blessing at 12:30 p.m. with public viewing until 4 p.m.
Mary, Queen of Peace, 1501 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville LA 70471
March 21, 2020, 5 to 8:30 p.m., Parish Center, with a meal served in the school cafeteria.
Metairie Manor, 4929 York Street, Metairie, March 18-19 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., St Joseph’s Altar senior residents construct an elaborate altar to honor St. Joseph
Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 501 Holy Trinity Dr., Covington, March 19, blessing of the altar at 9:30 a.m., Feeding of the Holy Family at 10 a.m. Altar opens and meals served to the public at 11:00 a.m.
Notre Dame Seminary, 2901 S Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, March 19, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, New Orleans (St. Jude Hall, Basin Street), March 19, blessing by Father Tony Rigoli, pastor, at 7:30 a.m. after 7 a.m. Mass, viewing until 4:30 p.m. Tupa Tupa at 11:30 a.m. Meals after noon Mass.
Our Lady of Lourdes, 345 Westchester Blvd., Slidell, March 14, altar will be open from 12-6 p.m., in Our Lady of Lourdes School Gymnasium.
Our Lady of the Angels, 6851 River Rd., Waggaman (church hall): March 19, public viewing, and fantastic, meatless meals, including catfish will be served from noon to 6 p.m. Bags of cookies will be distributed.
Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1835 St. Roch Ave., New Orleans, March 19-21 from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
March 19, blessing at 10 a.m., Mass of Feast of St. Joseph, 6 p.m.; reopens March 20-21;
Closes March 22 with 10 a.m. Mass.
St. Angela Merici Parish, 901 Beverly Garden Dr. (Kern Center across Pomona Street): Public viewing March 18, 6-8:30 p.m. with candlelight rosary at 7 p.m. March 19, viewing from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with traditional Italian meal served 11:15 a.m.-7 p.m.
St. Anthony of Padua, 234 Angus Drive, Luling, March 19, viewing from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Blessing of altar at 11 a.m., with meals served from 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
St. Anselm, 306 St. Mary St., Madisonville (Weseman Center): March 14, blessing at 5 p.m., with public viewing and meals served on March 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1210 Gov. Nicholls Street, New Orleans, March 19, viewing of the altar at 11 a.m., blessing at noon, followed by a meal in the garden courtyard near the Tomb of the Unknown Slave Monument.
St. Benilde School, 1801 Division Street, Metairie, March 19, viewing from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Please enter at the school entrance. The altar will be in the St. Benilde School Teen Center. Annual St. Joseph Altar for more than ten years.
St. Catherine of Siena, 1643 Metairie Road (behind the church), Metairie
March 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A traditional meatless meal will be served in the school cafeteria from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
St Charles Borromeo St Joseph Altar Society, Destrehan, March 19, 5th annual altar opens after 8:15 a.m. Mass; viewing 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., blessing at 7 p.m. Meatless meals served from 2-7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Cookies available for a donation.
St. Cletus Catholic Church, 3600 Claire Avenue, Gretna, March 18, 6:30 p.m. blessing followed by rosary and viewing until 8:30 p.m. March 19, open to public at 11:30 a.m. Food will be served until 6:30 p.m. or until we run out
St. Dominic, 775 Harrison Ave., New Orleans: St. Dominic Rosary Altar Society hosting. March 17, blessing after 4 p.m. vigil Mass. Open for public viewing March 18, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; March 19, 8:30 a.m. to noon. Geri Landry, (504)288-0320, firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Altar at home of Talamo Family, 6122 Patton Street New Orleans, LA
March 18, 5:30-7 p.m.; March 19, 1-5 p.m.
St. Francis Villa Assisted Living, 10411 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, March 19, viewing 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Altar blessing and reenactment of the Holy Family’s search for lodging at 10 a.m.; meals served to the public from 1:30-4 p.m., 20th annual St. Joseph Altar created by chef Dwayne Hyman. Residents help bake bread and cookies and assemble keepsake bags given to altar visitors. The altar’s bounty is distributed to the needy in New Orleans when it is taken down.
St. Francis Xavier St. Joseph Altar Society, 444 Metairie Road, Metairie, One of the largest Altars on the East Bank! March 18, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; March 19, 8 a.m. Mass followed by Tupa Tupa in school auditorium and viewing 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.; public meal from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, 5029 Louisa St., New Orleans: Public viewing March 19-20, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Altar will be blessed March 19 at 9 a.m. The food from the altar will be donated to a local homeless shelter.
St. Genevieve Parish Family, 58203 Hwy. 433, Slidell, March 19: A votive mass of St. Joseph will begin at 10 a.m. followed by the blessing of the altar. Public viewing will start at 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
St. Gertrude, 17292 Hwy. 631, Des Allemands (Father Mac Community Center): Sponsored by Ladies Altar Society, friends. March 15, 10:30 a.m. blessing, meals served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Viewing continues until 2 p.m.
St. Jane de Chantal Parish, 72040 Maple Street, Abita Springs (St. Jane Hall), March 18, Blessing at 6 p.m., viewing until 7:30 p.m.; March 19, viewing noon-5 p.m. with meals served until food runs out.
St. Joan of Arc, 529 E. 5th St., LaPlace, March 18-19: March 18, Blessing of the Altar at 7 p.m.; March 19, open for viewing at 8 a.m., Feeding of the Saints at 10:30 a.m.; meatless meal served from noon to 8 p.m.
St. John of the Cross, 61030 Brier Lake Drive, Lacombe, March 14, viewing after 5 p.m. Mass.
March 15, viewing after 8:30 a.m. Mass. Open to public noon-5 p.m. with blessing after 10 a.m. Mass and light meal served beginning at noon.
St. Joseph, 1802 Tulane Ave., New Orleans: March 19, altar will be open for viewing from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in church, with St. Joseph Feast Day Mass and blessing at noon. Spaghetti dinners will be served in the Rebuild Center immediately following the Mass. Donations received will benefit various organizations in need.
St. Joseph Church & Shrine, Gretna (Gym at 7th & Newton Sts.), March 18, 6:30 p.m. Rosary & Prayer Service; view altar until 7:30 p.m., March 19, St. Joseph Day Mass, 10 a.m., Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, celebrant. Food served and altar viewing from noon-6 p.m.
St. Joseph the Worker, 455 Ames Blvd., Marrero: March 19, Mass at 9 a.m. with a procession from the church to the hall immediately following Mass. The altar blessing, viewing and feeding will follow the procession from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Food will be served until it runs out.) Altar in honor of deceased parishioners Herman and Bernice Green. Edible food remaining will be donated to the Ozanam Inn. http://www.stjworker.com
St. Luke the Evangelist, March 19, St. Joseph Mass at 10 a.m. in church followed by a procession to the St. Joseph altar for a blessing in the Family Life Center, then lunch. Altar is open to 2 p.m.
March 19. Preview on March 18, 5-7 p.m. Family Life Center, 910 Cross Gates Blvd., Slidell.
St. Patrick Church, Port Sulphur, March 15, altar viewing from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m., meal following the blessing
St. Patrick’s Church, 724 Camp Street, New Orleans (Reynolds Hall in courtyard)
March 19, viewing 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Father Garrett O’Brien, pastor, will bless the altar immediately after 11:30 a.m. Mass.
St. Paul the Apostle, 6828 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans: March 19, blessing at 8 a.m. with public viewing until 5:30 p.m. Meals served at noon.
St. Pius X Mission, 8154 Barataria Blvd., Crown Point: March 18, altar blessing at 5 p.m.; March 19, viewing and meals served from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
St. Raymond & St. Leo The Great Catholic Church, 2916 Paris Ave., New Orleans, March 19, after 8 a.m. Mass until 5 p.m.; March 21, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.; March 22, noon-5 p.m., Blessing of the altar will take place during the 8 a.m. on March 19. The St. Joseph Meal Celebration will take place at noon March 22.
Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, 66192 St. Mary Dr., Pearl River, March 19, Blessing of the Altar by Father Travis J. Clark will begin at 11 a.m. followed by Tupa Tupa (children representing Mary, Joseph, and the Saints). Meals served to the public from noon to 4 p.m.