The Feast of St. Joseph, Confessor, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Joseph, Patron of a Holy Death

Due to Laetare Sunday, this year’s feast is transferred from March 19 to March 20.

The Church always honors St. Joseph with Mary and Jesus, especially during the Christmas solemnities. This day’s Gospel is indeed that of December 24. Since the end of the fifteenth century this feast is kept on March 19: this day according to a tradition, is the anniversary of his holy death. Veneration of St. Joseph is of relatively recent introduction in the Church’s liturgy. In 1621, Gregory XV extended the feast to the whole Church. In 1870, Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph as protector of the universal Church and instituted a second feast, called his “Patronage” and since 1912 his “Solemnity.” Pope John XXIII added St. Joseph’s name to the Canon of the Mass in 1960, the first addition made to the Canon in over a thousand years.

This saint of “the royal race of David” was a just man (Gospel). As by this marriage with the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph has certain rights over the virginal womb of his spouse, a moral affinity exists between him and Jesus. He exercised over the Child-God a certain paternal authority, which the Preface of St. Joseph delicately alludes to as that of a foster-father. He therefore deserves a special worship.

“Christ and the Virgin were with him at his last hour and watched by him their faces gleaming with sweet serenity.” St. Joseph went to heaven for ever to enjoy the beatific vision of the Word whose humanity he had so long and so closely contemplated on earth. This saint is therefore justly considered the patron of the dying and the model of contemplative souls.

St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of our Lord, faithfully and humbly carried out the difficult and glorious mission entrusted to him by God and thus became the model of domestic virtues and humble daily toil, the guardian of chaste souls and the protector of Christian homes.

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O Saint Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that, having engaged here below your Heavenly power, I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Saint Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

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