St. Joseph’s Day

St. Joseph’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Joseph, is the feast day for St. Joseph – which falls on March 19th each year. Saint Joseph is believed by Christians to have been the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the step-father of Jesus Christ.  In Poland and Canada, it is a Patronal Feast Day and is Father’s Day in some Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain. In Switzerland, it is a public holiday.

History of St. Joseph’s Day

On some Western calendars, St. Joseph’s Day was clearly marked on March 19th by the 10th century. By the late 15th century, the custom was adopted by Rome. In 1570, Pope St. Pius V extended its use to the entire Roman Rite. From the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century, a feast day had been established to honor St. Joseph as the spouse of the Virgin Mary. It was originally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday after Easter but was eventually moved to the Wednesday before and re-titled The Solemnity of Saint Joseph. However, this celebration was abolished by Pope Pius XII in 1955.

St. Joseph’s Day Customs & Traditions

St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated all over the world. In Sicily, participants usually wear red and build what is known as “St. Joseph’s Table.” This table is often decorated with flowers and candles, and people place wine and foods on it that are considered lucky. Some of these lucky foods include fava beans, lemons, and foods that contain sawdust. All of these foods have symbolic meanings. Fava beans were the only things that survived a drought during the Middle Ages in Italy – which is why it is considered lucky. Breadcrumbs are worked into the recipes of the dishes because St. Joseph was a carpenter and the breadcrumbs represent sawdust. Some people place fish and seafood on the altar as well. However, what is not placed on St. Joseph’s Table is any dish which contains meat. That’s because this holiday occurs during Lent.

In Sicily, it is also believed that if a woman manages to sneak a lemon off of St. Joseph’s Table on this day, then she have better luck finding a husband. It is also customary for people to wear red on this day and to indulge themselves with doughnuts and crème puffs. In Italy, Spain and Portugal, St. Joseph’s Day is Father’s Day.

Since New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States was a major port of entry for Sicilian immigrants during the late 1800s and has a large Sicilian population, this holiday is celebrated by the whole city. On St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph’s Tables are built both for the public and by private individuals. These altars are then filled with a variety of different food – just like the celebrations in Sicily – however, these foods usually have somewhat of a Cajun twist to them. Afterward, all of the food is then usually donated to the poor. New Orleans also has a variety of parades and marching bands performing on the streets during this day.

In Switzerland, it is a public holiday in some of the cantons. The cantons which observe this day include Valais, Schwyz, Uri, Ticino, and Nidwalden. On these days, banks and schools are usually closed but many businesses may still be open. While this holiday was traditionally popular in Switzerland, it has begun to lose much of that popularity over the last several years and fewer people are observing it in this country.

St. Joseph’s Day is also traditionally celebrated in many other American communities, particularly those who have large Italian populations. This includes cities such as New York, Syracuse, Buffalo, Jersey City, Chicago, Gloucester, Providence, Kansas City and St. Louis. In Providence, some people will wear red clothing on this day – much in the same way that people will wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

In parts of New England and the Midwest, American with Polish ancestry will often celebrate this holiday as an imieniny. Known as Dzien Swietego Jozefa, Polish-American parishes will hold St. Joseph’s Tables in solidarity with the Italian parishes. Since this holiday falls on Lent, no meat is served on these altars.


Russia says it has successfully tested advanced hypersonic missile

Radina Gigova

(CNN)Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested one of the “invincible” missiles that President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month could deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed and pierce US defenses.

“A MiG-31 fighter crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a combat training launch of a hypersonic missile of the Kinzhal high-precision air missile system in the designated area,” the ministry said in statement Saturday.
“The hypersonic missile confirmed its technical operational performance and timing data of the Kinzhal missile system,” the statement said.
The Russian Defense Ministry has released what it described as footage of the Kinzhal launch. The video appears to show a military jet carrying a missile. Some parts of the missile are blurred.
The weapon, designed to eliminate targets on the ground and at sea, hit its assigned target at a training ground, the ministry said, and described the launch as “normal.”
Russian military personnel have been trained to carry out day and nighttime flights with the weapon in any weather conditions, the ministry said.
The ministry said that, due to the high flight characteristics of the MiG-31 aircraft and advanced high-maneuverable hypersonic technology, “the Kinzhal has no analogues in the world” — a claim US officials have downplayed as “election rhetoric” ahead of Russia’s presidential vote on March 18.

Russian Aerospace Forces conduct a training launch of Kinzhal hypersonic missile

In an annual address to the Russian Parliament, Putin said Russia had developed a new, nuclear-capable cruise missile with “unlimited” range that is able to elude air defense systems. He also said Russia had developed an “invincible” missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.
“Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” said Putin. “Listen now.”

Putin touts new nuclear-powered missile

Putin touts new nuclear-powered missile 01:38
Talking to reporters while en route to Oman on Sunday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed skepticism at Russia’s claims of having developed such high-tech missiles, saying such technology is “still years away.”
“I saw no change to the Russian military capability, and each of these systems he (Putin) is talking about that are still years away, I did not see them changing the military balance,” said Mattis. “They did not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture.”
While Putin may have been boasting about Russia’s resurgent military might in order to bolster his image as a strong leader at home and on the global stage, Mattis said the show of force is still against Russia’s own interests.
“Let me talk about the end state. How many years away they are, how much money they want to put into this arms race that they are creating with themselves,” said Mattis.
“At the end of the day, they can sink all that money in; it does not change my strategic calculation,” he said. “I just assumed it would all happen at great expense to the Russian people. It does not change anything.”

Target in Putin's nuke video looks like Florida

Target in Putin’s nuke video looks like Florida 02:25
A US official with knowledge of the latest Russian military assessment also expressed doubt to CNN that the weapons Putin described were even close to being operational. If Russia ever attacked the United States, it would be met with overwhelming force, said the source.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said department officials watched Putin’s address and the weapons presentation, which featured an animation of a nuclear strike against the United States.
“That’s certainly something that we did not enjoy watching,” she said. “We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry has launched a web page seeking the public’s help with naming its new arsenal.

Trump rips officers over Florida shooting: ‘I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon’


WASHINGTON — While urging governors to work with him on new school safety measures, President Trump again attacked officers Monday for not entering a Florida high school building and somehow engaging a gunman who killed 17 people with a military-style rifle.

“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too,” Trump told a group of state governors gathered at the White House for talks on multiple issues.

More: Calls for action in wake of Florida school shooting, but prospects in Congress uncertain

Trump singled out a sheriff’s deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and described the lack of action by him and others during the Feb. 14 shooting as “frankly, disgusting.” But he also added that “you don’t know” how anyone would react until they’re tested.

President Donald Trump says the armed officer who didn’t stop the gunman responsible for last week’s Florida massacre was either a “coward” or “didn’t react properly under pressure.” He made the comments as he departed for the CPAC conference. (Feb. 23) AP

Asked if Trump has had firearms training himself, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “I don’t think that was the point he was making; he was saying that he would be a leader and would want to take a courageous action.”

Former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, who resigned following his suspension by Sheriff Scott Israel, said his actions have been misreported.// (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({ google_ad_client: “ca-pub-7719868662790518”, enable_page_level_ads: true });

According to a statement issued by his lawyer, Peterson thought the shots were coming from outside any school building, and he followed training that says “in the event of outdoor gunfire, one is to seek cover and assess the situation” and communicate with other law enforcement officers.

“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” the statement said.

Response being investigated

Peterson’s response and the larger actions of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department regarding the Parkland massacre are being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at the request of GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who attended the session with Trump Monday.

“I think the right thing is to go through a very transparent, thorough process of investigation. Let’s the facts out there. Then the right decision will be made,” Scott said in an interview after the session, adding that Peterson’s decision not to confront the shooter was “horrible.”

While berating local law enforcement, Trump also outlined a gun control and school safety program that includes expanded background checks, eliminating “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones, and emphasizing mental health issues, and arming “highly trained” teachers and school officials.

“We have to take steps to harden our schools so that they’re less vulnerable to attack,” Trump said.

Yet it’s unclear what, if anything, Congress will do; Republican congressional leaders have not said how they plan to address the gun issue, given an array of opinions on the subject.

And Trump and his aides are still working on the specifics of his proposals, the main goal of meetings Monday with the governors and more talks later this week with officials on all sides of the gun issue. Trump “is committed to ensuring the safety of our schools and communities,” Sanders said, “and he wants to hear ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.”

Some of Trump’s ideas have drawn opposition, including governors who questioned the proposal to give teachers guns.

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“We need a little less tweeting, a little more listening,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, during a discussion about arming teachers.

Throughout the day, White House officials and governors caucused on a number of items in which they can work together. In addition  to gun control, topics included health care, agriculture policy, workforce development, and infrastructure.

As part of his outreach on the gun issue, Trump told the governors that over the weekend he had lunch with prominent National Rifle Association officials, including Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox.

The NRA opposes a proposal Trump made last week, increasing the age limit for purchase of semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 — an idea Trump did not mention during his chat with the governors.

While telling the governors “don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side,” Trump said, “sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight them.”

Sanders said Trump still supports “the concept” of an age increase for rifles, but is working on the details of this and other school safety plans.

As for background checks, Trump said he is looking for ways to make it harder  for mentally ill people to be able to obtain guns.

Trump plans to meet Wednesday with members of Congress from both parties, Sanders said, “to discuss different pieces of legislation, and what they can do, moving forward.”

Contributing: Ledyard King, USA TODAY