Many former parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Anthony’s will take part in a St. Joseph’s Table celebration after the 4:30 Saturday Mass on March 15 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall.

About 350 former St. Anthony’s and St. Joseph’s parishioners have joined St. Mary’s and are helping to plan the traditional Italian festivities at the Saxton Street Church, said the Rev. Gary Kibler, St. Mary’s pastor.

St. Anthony’s and St. Joseph’s parishes have merged with St. Patrick’s at a new parish, All Saints. St. Mary’s is appealing the merger which was mandated by the Diocese of Buffalo.

On Feb. 3, Bishop Edward Kmiec issued a formal promulgation to close St. Mary’s Church. On Feb. 9, Philip Gray, a canon church lawyer who represents the parishioners, sent a formal appeal document. St. Mary’s asked the bishop to suspend the closing of St. Mary’s while the appeal is being considered.

“The bishop has been very kind,” Kibler said. “It is our prerogative to appeal and we won’t close until the appeal is settled.”

If there is no change, the appeal document will be sent to the Vatican for further review. The review could take months or years.

“We maintain our full respect for the bishop as the successor of the apostles in our local church,” a parish newsletter stated. “Any erosion of this respect would be destructive to the essential unity of the Church.”

St. Joseph’s Table celebration will take place on the eve of Palm Sunday. Blessed palms will be distributed at the weekend Masses.

The St. Joseph's Table tradition was brought to the United States by Sicilian immigrants. The Feast of St. Joseph is March 19.

Centuries ago, the people of Sicily experienced a severe drought and great famine. They prayed to St. Joseph to intercede with God on their behalf and their prayers were answered with rain and a bountiful harvest.

The Table includes the altar with an image of Saint Joseph, flowers, candles, fruit and bread as well as a meal of meatless dishes. The ritual meal is done in fulfillment of a promise made to St. Joseph for his assistance in a time of family or personal crises.

Trending Video

Recommended for you