A record number of parishioners and guests emptied the traditional annual St. Joseph Table at St. Bede the Venerable Roman Catholic Church in March. A table laden with “goodies” was sold after the Saturday vigil and regular Sunday masses were sold totally out.
The Table contained donated pasta dishes, tomato sauces, homebaked cakes, biscotti and other goods baked or cooked by members of the parish and donated by local La Cañada and nearby stores. At the end of the Sunday 11 a.m. Mass, the Table was laid bare except for the decorations.
“We were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm of parishioners and guests for our traditional fundraising event. Proceeds will all go to support the charities we support here in the parish and throughout the country,” said Branch President Mark Mannarelli. “It was overwhelming to think about how people came out to support the work of our branch of the Italian Catholic Federation. We really appreciate their support for a great cause.”
Attendance at the 11 a.m. Mass was significantly better than in years past, reported Branch Orator Al Restivo.
An old fashioned Italian style procession was led by Raul Aceveda, a native of Cuba, carrying the ICF banner, followed by newest members Jenny and Andrew Meli and their young children Nora, 3, and Sebastian, 5, who rolled down a Table bearing flowers and a statue of St. Joseph preceding members of the 50 member parish organization. Father Albert Bahhuth, the celebrant of the Mass, followed. Father Albert is the vicar general of the archdiocese of Los Angeles who is in residence at St. Bede. Members of the choir led by Dr. Tony Lupica provided accompaniment for the Mass.
The St. Joseph Table is an annual event in many Los Angeles parishes that have branches of the Italian Catholic Federation. The tradition of the Table began in Sicily where each year people gathered at a special church service dedicated to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, and patron Saint of Italy, to donate food for the poor. Today the organization provides for the poor and others in need by donating proceeds from the event.
The St. Bede branch, like others in Southern California, is composed of people from many races and nationalities. The only prerequisite for membership is that the person is a Catholic or the spouse of a Catholic. Currently ICF supports charities such as research for a cure for Cooley’s anemia, a disease that kills children from Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and Asia. The research is currently based at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles.
Additionally, the St. Bede branch provides scholarships and other parish charities. In the past it has also contributed to Wounded Warriors and other charities.
Information for membership can be obtained by calling (818) 952-1969. The branch is seeking to encourage young parents to join, along with their children to help in work focused on young people.