St. Joseph Altar For Beginners

I have a confession to make. Before this year, I didn't even really know what a St. Joseph Altar was. And I've never seen one in real life, nor had my own. (Part of me starting this blog was to encourage my own self to get more into the "Catholic Stuff" ;-) So I'm typing this post for beginners like me! Here's our completed altar:

What's with the weird "stair shape"? Well, St. Joseph Altars are generally in 3 'steps'. This symbolizes the trinity and also the holy family. I made mine by stacking boxes and covering it with a white rag:

What goes on top? St. Joseph of course! We only have such nice St. Joseph statues and pictures because he's my husband's confirmation saint, so they were presents. You can use any picture of St. Joseph- even a holy card. And don't tell me you don't have a St. Joseph statue because I KNOW you have a nativity set! Lol! It's also ok to put the entire holy family up there. If your nativity set is all packed away, check out my printable nativity and have your kids color the holy family today :-)

Ok, what else do I put on the altar? Traditionally you put bread, fancy pastries, fish, lilies, roses, candles, wine, all kinds of fruit, fava beans, and symbols of St. Joseph (like sawdust) on your altar. To learn more, check out this post at Catholic Cuisine.

How did this start? Once there was a famine in Sicily, and the people prayed to St. Joseph for relief. Their prayers were answered, and they made an altar and brought their bountiful food to offer. Then they distributed the food to the less fortunate. So it's also traditional to donate the food from your altar :-) You can read more about this history here.

What are 'fava beans'? They were food for cattle, but everyone was considered lucky to have them to eat during times of famine. Check out the "Fava" bean craft we made!

Like our "fancy pastries"? They're  made from fig newtons. See the post on how to make them yourself here!

Here are some more of my posts you might be interested in today:

PS. Couldn't help myself but to draw attention to this. Can you believe I had a bottle of wine with Mary and Jesus on it to put on our altar? Lucky! :-)

Don't forget to check out everyone's altars at
the St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest 2010! :-)
And you can link yours through the end of the month!

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  1. LOL, Liebfraumilch! I've had that before :)

    Love the altar!

  2. Sweet, Lacy. A nice bit of icing. : ) I'll see ya over at Evann's!

  3. Congratulations on your very first St. Joseph Altar - it is beautiful! Still love those fig newtons, Lacy! Thanks for participating in the blog fest and for all your mentions.
    Viva San Giuseppe!

  4. Lacy, you're killing me. Seriously, I was so sad I didn't have a St. Joseph for my altar. BUT, duh, I have a nativity :D Thanks for all the great ideas - I'll be posting mine after my husband comes home. I'm already trying to keep the kids out of everything. They're literally climbing counters trying to get to the sweets :/

  5. Lacy, thanks for your comments. Thanks for the idea on the fig bars, they came out ok. The reason I mentioned about non Catholic readers on my post is because I was away from Catholic church for four years. I have lots of friends that are not Catholic. Lots of amazing Christian friends, some who are protestant. I returned to the Catholic faith two years ago, and since then I have been learning so much, that I never knew before. Thanks to all you.

  6. Great job! I love the simplicity of your altar.
    Pax - Lena

  7. Your altar turned out lovely, Lacy!

    Your statue of St. Joseph is beautiful. I noticed when putting ours together today, that we do not have a very nice statue of St. Joseph (it's very old and chipped) and I wasn't willing to pull out the nativity set. lol!

    Also, the fig symbol cookies you made turned out cute! I came up with something similar last week for my little flowers meeting, decorating Fig Newtons with a bit of frosting to symbolize Bibles/Books. They were so easy and turned out so cute!

    Happy Feast of St. Joseph!

  8. Wonderful!! I'll have to revisit this again for next year. Also, please stop by my blog for a Sunshine Award!

    Your blog rocks!

  9. Wonderful to see this! I just wrote a post called St. Joseph: The Greatest of All Earthly Fathers. He really does deserve these altars to honor him! He's help me through some tough times. What a wonderful saint!!

    God bless you for doing this Link up, Lacy.

  10. What great ideas. Your altar looks great! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. This is a great post. I love the information that you give on St. Joseph and all the details. The fig newtons are a new "must" in our family! Momma loves fig newtons and has little other reason to get them!

    Thanks for the note on 4Real, It's nice to have all these pictures...

  12. What a neat thing-I had no idea!!! Ours will probably be just as simple-and am happy to see simple ones!


Thanks for your comments! They're the icing on my cake ;-)