Patron of the Universal Church and the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer and a Happy Death
St. Joseph, the pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of our Blesse Lord, was descended from the royal house of David. He is the “just man” of the New Testament, the lowly village carpenter of Nazareth, who among all men of the world was the one chosen by God to be the husband and protector of the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. To his faithful, loving care was entrusted the childhood and youth of the Redeemer of the world.
After the Mother of God, not one of the children of men was ever so gifted and adorned with natural and supernatural virtues as was St. Joseph, her spouse. In purity of heart, in chastity of life, in humility, patience, fortitude, gentleness, and manliness of character, he reveals to us the perfect type and model of the true Christian.
Poor and obscure in this world’s possessions and honors, St. Joseph was rich in grace and merit, and eminent before God in the nobility and beauty of holiness. Because St. Joseph was the representative of the Eternal Father on earth, the divinely appointed head of the Holy Family of God, the Church of Christ, on December 8, 1870, Pope Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the foster-father of Jesus as patron of the Universal Church, and from that time his feast has been celebrated on March 19 as one his high rank. In some places it is observed as a Holyday of Obligation.
Devotion to St. Joseph, fervent in the East from the early ages, has in later times spread and increased in such a marvelous way that in our day the Catholics of all nations vie with one another in honoring him. Besides the feast of March 19 there is another feast, that of St. Joseph the Worker, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 1). Promulgated in 1955, it replaced the older “Solemnity of St. Joseph” which had been celebrated since 1847—first as the “Patronage of St. Joseph” on the third Sunday after Easter and after 1913 as the “Solemnity of St. Joseph” on the Wednesday before the third Sunday after Easter. John XXIII inserted the name of St. Joseph in the Roman Canon and Pope Francis, in 2013, added his name to the three other Eucharistic Prayers.
From his throne of glory in heaven, St. Joseph watches over and protects the Church Militant, and no one who calls on him in need ever calls in vain. He is the model of a perfect Christian life and the patron of a happy death. His patronage extends over the Mystical Body of Christ, over the Christian family, the Christian school, and all individuals who in their need appeal to his charity and powerful intercession, especially in the hour of death; for he who, when dying, received the affectionate ministry of his foster-Son, Jesus, and his Virgin spouse, Mary, may well be trusted to obtain for us the mercy of God and the grace of a peaceful and holy death.
PRAYER: Almighty God, You entrusted to the faithful care of Joseph the beginning of the mysteries of our salvation. Through his intercession may Your Church always be faithful in her service that Your designs will be fulfilled. Amen.