March 19: St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
May 1: St. Joseph the Worker
The Universal Church
Protection of the Church
People: The dying, emigrants, expectant mothers, families,
fathers, house hunters, immigrants, married people, pioneers,
pregnant women, travelers, unborn children, working people
Occupations: Bursars, carpenters, cabinetmakers, civil
engineers, confectioners, craftsmen, laborers, wheelwrights, workers
Against: Doubt, hesitation
For: A happy death, a holy death, social justice
we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes
We know he was a carpenter, a working man. He wasn't rich, for when
he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified,
he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed
only for those who could not afford a lamb.
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage.
Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy,
but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel.
Indeed, the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son
of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered
Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was
not his, but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God.
He planned to divorce Mary according to the law, but he was concerned
for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused of adultery
could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not
expose her to shame or cruelty.
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of
him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a
dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph
immediately, without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his
wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger,
he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends,
and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited
in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this
child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus,
but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear
for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple, we
are told Joseph, along with Mary, searched with great anxiety for three
days for him. We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son,
for over and over, the people of Nazareth sayof Jesus, "Is this
not the son of Joseph?"
We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling
the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised
and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family
to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have
been easy for a working man.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or
resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before
Jesus entered public ministry. The circumstances of Joseph's death are
Prayer to St. Joseph
Blessed Joseph, husband of Mary, be with us this day.
You protected and cherished the Virgin; loving the Child Jesus as your
Son, you rescued Him from the danger of death. Defend the Church, the
household of God, purchased by the blood of Christ.
Guardian of the Holy Family, be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us the strength to flee from error and wrestle
with the powers of corruption so that in life we may grow in holiness
and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.
Pope John Paul II: What emanates from the figure of Saint
Joseph is faith. Joseph of Nazareth is a "just man" because
he totally "lives by faith." He is holy because his faith
is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record
even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet,
even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness.
Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because
he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words
of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly
perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word
of the Living God. We see how the word of the Living God penetrates
deeply into the soul of that man, that just man. And we, do we know
how to listen to the word of God? Do we know how to absorb it into the
depths of our human personalities? Do we open our conscience in the
presence of this word?
St. Bernadine of Siena: There is a general
rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever
the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept
a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of
the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand. This general rule is
especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of
our Lord, and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above
the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian
and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and
Mary, Joseph's wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity
until at last God called him, saying "Good and faithful servant,
enter into the joy of your Lord." Remember us, Saint Joseph, and
plead for us to your foster child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin
Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with
the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen.