Tag Archives: Groppo Family Feast of Saint joseph


Early morning and friends and family gather at the Groppo home. Nina has laid out trays of warm bread and pastries, a medley of fresh fruit, and vats of homemade ricotta steaming on the stovetop to greet the pasta-makers. Everyone pitches in, from the very youngest to the very oldest, men and women, boys and girls. The house is overflowing with helpers. The time goes by way too fast and in a few short hours, racks and racks of pasta are drying, in preparation for the March 19th Feast of San Giuseppe.

At another pasta-making station, Grace and Frank Sciortino made a special batch of maccarruna pasta, just for the helpers. After all the pasta-making mess was cleaned up, Nina served heaping bowls of maccarruna topped with homemade canned tomato sauce, from tomatoes grown in her garden last summer. A delicious lunch was had by all and as I looked around the room at the many generations gathered around the table, I thought of the memories being created from this very special community tradition of honoring Saint Joseph each year at the welcoming home of the Groppo Family. Happy San Giuseppe Pasta-making Day! 

Littlest pasta makers💖

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The film is password protected. If you would like to see Saint Joseph Pasta-Making Day, please contact kimsmith.designs1@gmail.com.

Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph: A Community Film Project
Part Two: La Famiglia
Saint Joseph Pasta-Making Day

When late winter snow melts while March winds blow blustery, Gloucester’s Sicilian American community begins to prepare for the annual novena and feast celebration in honor of Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus, husband of Mary, and many consider, the patron saint of Sicily.

The fishing port of Gloucester has a long history of welcoming immigrants. Around the turn of the previous century four million Italians immigrated to the United States. Little Italys sprang up all over the country and within these communities today, Sicilian traditions continue to be celebrated.

True heroes of the festa are the parents, nonnas, nonnos, aunts, and uncles who each year open their homes and hearts to the community. They grew up with a deep sense of security provided by la famiglia and are devoted to keeping these traditions alive for the children of the next generation.

Each year at the home of Nina and Franco Groppo a troupe of family and friends gather to make pasta for Saint Joseph’s feast. The pasta complements a traditional sauce made of fava beans and cauliflower. Legend has it that the during the great famine of the Middle Ages, prayers to Saint Joseph—and the lucky fava bean—saved the Sicilians from starvation.

Photos from the Best Pasta-Making Day with the Groppo Family and Friends

Sophia and Luca

St. Joseph pasta-making day began with Franco and the gentlemen heading over to Gloucester Fraternity to make huge batches of pasta dough with the Fraternity’s new mixer machine. Thanks were given to the club’s Mario for making it possible. Back at the Groppo’s kitchen, Nina and Fina were making steamy hot vats of homemade ricotta on the stovetop to serve for breakfast to all the helpers. Friends and family arrived in waves throughout the day and all were there to lend a hand making pasta.

After all the St. Joseph Day pasta that was needed was made, an extra batch of pasta was made for we pasta-makers. Nina heated up her divinely delicious tomato sauce that she had canned over the summer, with tomatoes from her garden. We had a wonderful lunch feast and as I looked around the table at the many generations gathered, I thought of the memories being made that will be cherished by all, created from this very special community tradition of honoring Saint Joseph each year at the welcoming home of the Groppo Family.

Geri, Jaclyn, Nico, and Giada

Rolling Pins!

Rosaria and Nina

Al working hard

Kathy, Marissa, and Enza

Last batch, fini!


A home full of friends and family at the always welcoming Groppo Saint Joseph Novena

Groppo Novena 2016 Gloucester Saint Joseph - Kim Smith

Groppo Novena Saint joseph altar 2016 Gloucester Saint Joseph - Kim SmithThe elegant hand embroidery cutwork tablecloth was made especially for Nina’s altar. The flowers each year are organized and arranged by Jane Harper Beddus.


Nina and Frank Groppo Saint Joseph Feast ©Kim Smith 2014 -2This year the Groppo’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph honoring Nina’ s mother, Di Gaetano Vincenza. Tomorrow night, Thursday, the nine day novena begins and all are most sincerely welcome at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -7 © Kim Smith 2014JSaturday is Saint Joseph pasta-making day at the Groppo’s and it is the most fun, with everyone lending a hand, from the oldest granny to the youngest child.

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making -2 kim smith designs.com 2016

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making kim smith designs.com 2016

Flowers feast of saint Joseph altar kim smith designs.com

Jane Harper Beddus Feast of Saint Joseph kim smith designs.com 2016Jane Harper Beddus, the ‘flower lady’ arranging this year’s altar flowers

saint-joseph-bread-caffe-sicilia-c2a9-kim-smith-2014- (1)

Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo is returning from vacation on Saturday and special orders for her beautiful bread can be placed then. You can see a demonstration of how she expertly shapes the Saint Joseph altar bread here.