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Today is the feast day of St. Joseph — an especially big day for Italian-Americans. But many celebrations are being canceled due to coronavirus.
Traditionally, Italian parishes bless and distribute bread. They also construct ornate altars to St. Joseph, laden with statues, flowers, candles and pastries.
The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, when the people of Sicily prayed to St. Joseph during a famine, and the famine came to an end.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph the patron saint of the Universal Church.
In today's current crisis, many Catholics are looking to Saint Joseph's intercession to help renew the Church.
Last year, photos went viral of a St. Joseph Day procession at a traditional parish in Detroit.
But this year, owing to a ban on public rituals imposed by Abp. Allen Vigneron, the day of prayer has been postponed to May 1st, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
In recent months, Fr. Donald Calloway authored a book for total consecration of one's self to St. Joseph, and the book is selling like mad — some vendors having a hard time keeping it in stock as Catholics are wanting to become more devoted to the foster-father of Jesus.
At a time when many clergy seem willing to abandon their flock, faithful Catholics look to St. Joseph — the pillar of families and the terror of demons — to be their spiritual father.