Faith & Life



By Cathi Douglas     4/13/2021

When Pope Francis announced that 2021 is The Year of St. Joseph, he explained his reasons in an Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde: 

“Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” the Holy Father writes. “Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.” 

We honor St. Joseph by participating in the many activities offered throughout the Diocese of Orange and at various local parishes during this year honoring St. Joseph. Catholic families and individuals also will find myriad ideas for crafts, activities, prayers, and novenas online. 

In “The Catholic Family Handbook,” the Rev. George A. Kelly notes that children can be taught to emulate St. Joseph “for his sense of duty, which impelled him to take such loving care of the Blessed Virgin and the Infant Child. 

“Because St. Joseph was a humble carpenter, he is regarded as the patron saint of workers everywhere; and the fact that his trade was not highly regarded by worldly men should teach us that it is more important to develop the spiritual qualities which he exemplified than to strive for material success.” 

Thus, suggestions for crafts, projects, and other activities emphasize St. Joseph’s work as a carpenter, his status as the patron saint of Italy, and his dedication to the Holy Family. offers these ideas for family activities: 

  • Create a St. Joseph’s altar. The site offers suggestions for creating a simple or elaborate altar.
  • Wear red. Red is the color of Italy and thus a fitting way to honor St. Joseph.
  • Celebrate with traditional food. Meatless meals appropriate for Lenten celebrations include traditional foods such as lava beans, fancy breads in symbolic shapes, pasta, breads decorated with figs, wine, Italian pastries, and various fruits.
  • Collect food for the less fortunate. Many parishes and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as well as the Cantlay and Second Harvest food banks, collect and/or deliver food to the poor. 
  • Bake zeppole. These are the famous pastries traditionally eaten on St. Joseph’s feast day. Filled with cream and featuring ricotta cheese, zeppole are topped with a red cherry. You can find a recipe at


St. Joseph’s patronage for various places and causes are fodder for other creative drawings and crafts. He is the patron saint of the Catholic Church, unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, travelers, carpenters, and realtors, as well as the patron of Canada, Croatia, Korea, Zapotlan, and Vietnam. 

In celebrating St. Joseph, families may want to contemplate these thoughts from St. Alphonso Liguori: 


“Go, then to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you; 

Go to Joseph, and obey him as Jesus and Mary obeyed him; 

Go to Joseph, and speak to him as they spoke to him; 

Go to Joseph, and consult him as they consulted him; 

Go to Joseph, and honor him as they honored him; 

Go to Joseph, and be grateful to him as they were grateful to him; 

Go to Joseph, and love him, as they love him still.”