An oasis in the desert.
A Solemnity (read: "It's as big as a Sunday!")
Celebrate today the earthly foster father of Jesus.
I find nothing sweeter to my imagination than to see the celestial little Jesus in the arms of this great saint, calling him father a thousand and a thousand times in his childlike language, and with a heart all full of childlike love.
~~ St. Francis de Sales,
from The Mystical Flora of St. Francis de Sales
Though we have always celebrated St. Joseph's day (by "always" I really mean, "Since I became Catholic," and "I'll jump on any legitimate feast day,") I've not paid much attention to the Italian traditions that go hand-in-hand with this Solemnity. But, one of the priests in our parish grew up with Sicilian traditions, and he's been sharing them with us, inspiring me to do more with St. Joseph's day than to simply feast on the things from which I've been fasting.
More information on traditional St. Joseph celebrations can be found at Catholic Culture and Catholic Cuisine.
On a more serious note, I always say prayers of thanksgiving on this day for the intercession of St. Joseph, which has been an enormous blessing for our family.
I believe he prayed for us through Atticus's conversion, through miscarriages, through doubts and fears about more miscarriages (which can lead to fears of being open to life) and for the spiritual growth of our domestic church.
My beloved St. Joseph is the model husband and father ... giving of himself completely, pouring himself out in body and spirit, offering a total self-donation for his wife and foster-son. May he hear our prayers and cries for intercession, and may he intercede before the throne of God for our family, for all fathers, and for all who call on him with love and faith in the Savior whom he raised, and especially today for many fathers who are seeking work in these difficult economic times.
One of my favorite prayers for the intercession of St. Joseph:
Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great,
so strong, so prompt, before the Throne of God,
I place before you, all my interest and desires.
Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful
intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son,
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most
loving of Fathers.
Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you,
and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach
while he reposes near your heart. Press Him in my
name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him
to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls --
Pray for us.
(Image above is Georges de La Tour's "Christ in the Carpenter's Shop", 1645)