The St. Joseph Altar at St. Mary’s Dominican High School drew students, alumnae and visitors during its viewing on campus in celebration of the Feast of St. Joseph. Students gathered around the altar during a morning blessing by Father Joseph Palermo.
The altar, built in three tiers to represent the Holy Trinity, was adorned with breads, cakes and other confections representing different religious icons and symbols. Cakes took the shape of the Pascal lamb and the Holy Bible. There were Sicilian confections, called cuccidatae, made from a simple recipe of pastry dough with sweetened fig filling and containing intricate carvings. The staff symbol harkened to the legend of St. Joseph’s walking stick with blooms of lilies. Circular shapes symbolized everlasting love, a cross for the crucifixion of Christ, and a heart for the love of the Virgin Mary.
Baskets of fresh fruit represented fullness of life and resurrection; redfish – the bounty from the sea; clusters of palm branches in vases represented Christian martyrdom and victory of death. Statues of other saints, candles and photographs of deceased loved ones were also part of the altar. In a frame were the names of deceased Dominican sisters – the earliest entry from 1867. Dominican donated the food and monetary donations to a local charity.