Joseph, the husband of our Lady, foster-father of our Lord, guardian of the Holy Family, is honored liturgically on March 19 as patron of the universal Church. The memorial of St. Joseph the Worker is on May 1. This quiet, just, humble man, protector of families and patron of fathers, is also invoked for a happy death.
Most of our reliable information on St. Joseph is contained in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Here we discover that Joseph was of royal descent from David, that the family was from Bethlehem in Judea and that Joseph, who was a builder, had moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth in Galilee.
Joseph was engaged to Mary and upon learning that she was pregnant; he had plans to divorce her. Described in Matthew as a righteous man, he intended to dismiss her quietly. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream to tell him, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (MT 1:20-21). “When Joseph woke from sleep he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” (MT 1: 24).
What a strong man of faith Joseph was! How he must have suffered, not knowing the secret of Mary’s incarnation. Of course, she could not tell him – he would not have understood. “It was a mystery beyond the capacity of the human intellect and the possibilities of human language.” (Pope John Paul II, The Holy Father’s homily during the celebration of Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, at the L. Liberati Stadium. Vatican, March 1981.)
Joseph reveals to us the dignity of human fatherhood. As Pope John Paul II has said “The family rests on the dignity of human fatherhood — on the responsibility of the man, husband and father, as also on his work. Joseph of Nazareth bears witness to this for us.”
“The unity of the family, its stability, is one of the fundamental blessings of man and of society. At the basis of family unity there is the indissolubility of marriage — if man, if society seek the ways that deprive marriage of its indissolubility and the family of its unity and stability, then they cut off, as it were, the very root of its health, and deprive themselves of one of the fundamental goods on which human life is built.” (Pope John Paul II, March 1981)
In his address delivered in Cameroon yesterday, Pope Benedict pointed out that “St. Joseph teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing. “
“In contemplating Joseph, all men and women can, by God’s grace, come to experience healing from their emotional wounds, if only they embrace the plan that God has begun to bring about in those close to him, just as Joseph entered into the work of redemption through Mary and as a result of what God had already done in her.”
“Joseph was caught up at every moment by the mystery of the Incarnation. Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence of mystery and is open to that mystery at every moment of everyday life.”
“In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions. Paradoxically, it was by acting, by carrying out his responsibilities, that he stepped aside and left God free to act, placing no obstacles in his way. Joseph is a ‘just man because his existence is ‘ad-justed’ to the word of God.”
“The life of Saint Joseph, lived in obedience to God’s word, is an eloquent sign for all the disciples of Jesus who seek the unity of the Church.”
“His example helps us to understand that it is only by complete submission to the will of God that we become effective workers in the service of his plan to gather together all mankind into one family, one assembly, one ‘ecclesia.'”
Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; California; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; Mexico; Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; protection of the Church; Diocese of San Jose, California; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin Italy; Tyrol Austria; unborn children Universal Church; Vatican II; Vietnam; Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.