Breaking Bread

Each year area residents gather for food, fellowship and devotion to St. Joseph at Holy Apostles of St. John Church of Jamestown for an annual spaghetti dinner.

The church will host its annual St. Joseph Table spaghetti dinner with traditional Italian bread and cookies on Sunday from noon until 4:30 in Fr. Billerio Hall. The price of admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children.

According to Sally DePetro, the event has been held for longer than she can remember. She said that it has been held each year since she was a child, and she is 83. The event is held each year to celebrate the life of St. Joseph, and in recognition of the feast day of St. Joseph which is Tuesday.

“St. Joseph’s Table started in Sicily many years ago when there was a drought,” said DePetro. “The people prayed to St. Joseph and then the rains came. So, they promised, ‘If you send rain, dear God, we will have a St. Joseph’s Table for the poor.’ And, that’s what they did. People should come for devotion to St. Joseph, food, fellowship and thanksgiving.”

DePetro, who is the chairwoman of the bread baking, said that she and the other workers made the bread in all shapes and sizes. Some examples of the shapes include a cross, a staff and a crown. The bread is made by using a traditional from-scratch Italian recipe, and some of the loaves are topped with sesame seeds. All of the bread is blessed before it is made available for sale.

“It’s a recipe that I got from one of the older women when I was young,” said DePetro.

More than 10 area women, aged 65 and above, have worked on baking bread and cookies for the event. On Thursday, Genie DeMarco, DePetro, Josie Marino, Tina Russo and Mary Ferraro, Angie Loverme, Rosemary Carlson, Diane Purtell, Sarah LaMantia and Sue Boland, were working.

“All our ladies are good workers, and we appreciate everything they do,” said Ferraro.

Ferraro, who is the chairwoman of cookies, said that the recipes she and the workers use are also traditional. More than 5,000 cookies were made fresh for the event, and Ferraro expects them all to sell out, as they have every year. Several examples of the types of cookies that will be available include: anise cookies, pizzelles, biscotti, creme de menthe cookies, chocolate cookies, almond cookies and more.

“It’s an old family tradition of all the women, who all bring their recipes down for us to make cookies,” said Ferraro.

Chairmen for the event include Mike Palermo and Dave Spitzer, who host the Lenten Fish Fry Fridays that are also held at the church.

St. John Church is located at 270 Newton Ave. in Jamestown. For more information or to place a take-out order call 484-8554.