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New Orleans, La., Mar 19, 2018 / 03:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic culture is everywhere in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is the city’s defining celebration. The city’s cathedral is one of its most well-known landmarks. And in the days leading to March 19, the people of New Orleans take up a Catholic tradition that began in the Middle Ages - they build “St. Joseph altars.”
This year, nearly 60 New Orleans Catholic schools and parishes have constructed devotional altars, as an expression of gratitude to St. Joseph, and as a labor of love for parishioners, friends, and neighbors.
St - Joseph - Altar - People - Sicily
"The original [St. Joseph’s] altar was built by the people of Sicily in thanks for his prayers to bring an end to their famine," said Sarah McDonald, communications director of Archdiocese of New Orleans.
"Today, they are considered a labor of love. As you are supposed to be working on the altar you are praying to St. Joseph to bless your family and to hear your intentions and pass them on," she told CNA.
Tradition - Sicily - St - Joseph - Intercession
The tradition began in Sicily, where St. Joseph's intercession is said to have helped the island through a severe famine almost 1,000 years ago. According to legend, people thanked St. Joseph for his prayers by building prayer altars, on which they placed food, pastries, flowers, wine, and, especially, fava beans.
The beans, which are said to pair well with Chianti, were the first crop Sicilians are said to have grown once their drought ended.
Altars - Custom - Sicily
The altars became a custom in Sicily....
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