March 27, 2009
La Tavola di San Giuseppe (The Table
of St. Joseph) Held at Queens and Staten Island
On Sunday, March 22, St. John’s University’s Italian Cultural
Center hosted a celebration of “La Tavola di San Giuseppe”
(The Table of St. Joseph) on the University’s Queens campus.
The afternoon began with a mass of thanksgiving celebrated at St.
Thomas More Church. Following the mass, the guests gathered
in Council Hall for an afternoon filled with ethnic pride,
delicious foods and desserts. Adding to the festivities were
strolling musicians playing the guitar and mandolin while
serenading the guests with the beautiful sounds of famous Italian
melodies and song.
Joining the group this year were members of the St. John’s McCallen
Society who were welcomed by Professor Joan D’Andrea, Executive
Director of the Italian Cultural Center (ICC). Also attending was
ICC Advisory Board member, Dr. Andrew Bartilucci and his wife,
Tri M. Duong, C.M. blessed the St. Joseph’s Table and all who
joined in the festivities. Joseph Sciame, Vice President for
Community Relations at St. John’s and a member of the ICC Advisory
Board, also welcomed the group on behalf of Lou Carnesecca, Chair
of the ICC Board and, University President, Rev. Donald J.
Sciame highlighted the long-standing traditions of La Tavola
di San Giuseppe; a tradition that calls for a religious
service in honor of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church,
to show appreciation and thanksgiving for the many favors the Saint
has bestowed on the people. With the poor as invited guests, the
people will choose a special room in the house and display a
variety of foods to highlight their thankfulness for a favor
granted. As the tradition was carried to the Americas, it became
the custom to ask for donations to assist the poor. The funds
raised at this year’s luncheon are to be used for the St. Vincent
DePaul Parish in Philadelphia.
On March 19, St. John’s Staten Island Campus festivities were held.
They were coordinated by Theresa Cantarella, Director of Financial
Services and a member of the Italian Cultural Center Staten Island
Programming and Planning Committee. Again, the event began
with a brief welcome and a discussion of the traditional
celebration of the Table of St. Joseph.
Professor D’Andrea commented on her appreciation of the
University’s efforts to promote and support such traditions. Other
activities planned by the ICC throughout the year, include:
displays in the month of October, coincidental to the celebration
of Italian Heritage and Culture Month nationally, Italian American
experience lectures and symposia, the famed Valletutti Lecture and
the awarding of scholarships to worthy candidate students to study
in the summer, fall and spring study abroad program at the Rome
campus of the St. John’s University.
For more information about the Italian Cultural Society, please
contact Professor D’Andrea at email@example.com.