The Feast of St. Joseph is a deep-rooted Italian tradition — honoring Joseph, husband to the virgin Mary and earthly father to Jesus — that takes place annually on March 19. March 19, fittingly, is also the day that Italy celebrates Father's Day.
This year, members and staff of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Weatherford joined in on the tradition, hosting nine days of prayer in which congregants could drop off food and nonperishable items in honor of St. Joseph.
"St. Joseph is like the patron saint of families and the foster father of Jesus," Father Mike O’Sullivan, pastor of St. Stephen, said. "For us, it's simply an artistic expression of the love that we have for our ancestors, and everytime we give, it's a blessing."
In following the tradition, St. Stephen recently put up a new statue of St. Joseph, and baskets and boxes of bread, sugar, canned goods and more were placed among the steps in front of it.
The church is planning on donating all of the items — as well as some monetary donations the church has received — to the Center of Hope.
O'Sullivan said in honoring St. Joseph, it's important to remember the qualities he possessed.
"He was a man of silence," he said. "It's something we can all remember — preach the gospel always and, when necessary, use words."