Devotion Still Strong Amid Coronavirus Crisis on St. Joseph’s Day

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Coronavirus, Crux, Faith, Feast, Feast Day, Inspiration, Queens, NY, St. Joseph Feast Day

By Tim Harfmann

Michael Addeo Jr. has a strong devotion to Saint Joseph, head of the Holy Family and patron of fathers.

March 19 marks the Feast of Saint Joseph, usually celebrated with prayer, Italian food and pastries.

“To me, it’s almost like Christmas Day,” said Michael.

For more than three decades, he would honor the saint by loading up his truck with pastries and going door-to-door, delivering sweet treats to family and friends.

His checklist of people has grown over the years. Michael started with 35. Now, it’s over 100.

“It makes people know that I care about them, and just to make people happy,” he said.

But because of the virus crisis, he’s celebrating from his office supply store in Ridgewood, Queens.

Michael mailed handwritten notes with prayer cards and other religious articles inside.

“If they got a card during these times, it would actually give them a little bit of faith and strength to know that we’re all in it together, and no matter what we will come back stronger, bigger and better,” he said.

Michael orders his desserts from Circo’s Pastry Shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

But this year, there wasn’t the usual rush —  many customers are taking precautions.

Anthony Pierdipino said his shop makes 2,000 pastries on this feast day. But this year, they made only about half.

Anthony described the situation as “a little nerve wracking.”

“Everybody’s a little worried,” he explained. “We’re trying to stay on top of sanitizing and staying as safe as possible.”

Yet, customers are trickling in.

“I know people are home right now and staying indoors, but this gives them a sense of normalcy and celebrating the tradition together with the family,” said Anthony.

Dominican Sister Eva Mazzetta, who stopped by to order eight pastries, said her day’s not complete without them.

“My family was born in Sicily, Italy, and every single year we celebrate with prayers, but also coming to Circo’s,” said Sr. Mazzetta.

It’s a feast day celebration unlike any other, with a devotion growing ever stronger.