Two saints’ days interrupt our lenten fasting with festivity–St. Patrick on March 17 and St. Joseph on March 19.  It is customary to eat fish on both days, maybe to remind us that it is still Lent and maybe as a symbol for Christ.  The first letters of the Greek words for”Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior” spell the Greek word for fish, ichthus.

St. Patrick’s true fans start his day with Mass–then fill it with bagpipes and dancing, parades and wearing the shamrocks he used when he talked about the Holy Trinity to the people who were preparing for baptism at Easter.

Green is worn this day to welcome springtime.  Long ago, people wore green on Holy Thursday for the same reason.  That was the day that people who were separated from the church because of their sins were united once again in time for Easter.

St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father, is the patron of foster families.  A special custom on his solemnity is a “St. Joseph’s Table.” A large table is set beautifully with linens and dishes. A picture or statue of Joseph is placed at the head of the table with its own place setting.  The family or community of neighbors prepares and serves the best lenten meatless foods to poor, lonely and hungry people in honor of St. Joseph.

On a smaller scale, families can prepare a special meal and invite just one or two people who need the food, the welcome and the companionship.