St. Joseph's Day Altar set for March 20 at Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Donaldsonville

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
In a file photo, a St. Joseph's altar is blessed by Fr. Andre Melancon of St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Houma.

The St. Joseph's Day Altar will return to Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Donaldsonville the weekend of March 19-20.

The tradition of constructing elaborate altars to honor St. Joseph has been an annual event throughout the greater New Orleans area. It began in the late 1800s when Sicilian immigrants settled in south Louisiana.

Cookies, cakes and breads are common decorations for the altars. Fava beans, or “lucky beans,” are also associated with St. Joseph because they sustained Sicilians throughout famine.

Andrew "Banana" LeBlanc said preparations are underway for the event.

A procession will be at 4 p.m. March 19 at Ascension of Our Lord. The following day, March 20, Fr. Matthew Dupre will bless the altar at 10 a.m. at the St. Francis Church Hal, and the traditional spaghetti lunch will be served after the ritual of residents representing Saints. Food will be served at 11 a.m.

Candles will be for sale, and members can pay their annual dues.