St. Joseph Church at Night

Photo courtesy of
Mike Carello.

Photo courtesy of
Jonathan Lewis.

Visitors since July 18, 1997

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St. Joseph, Patron Saint

To you, O blessed Joseph
(Ad te, beate Ioseph)

To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so, now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity, shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holly, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen. Partial indulgence

Our Patron

Little is known about St. Joseph. There are sixteen references to him in the Gospels, and there are pious stories about him, such as the so-called "Gospel of St. Joseph, the Carpenter", an ancient story of little historical value. The Scriptural references are as follows:

  • Matthew 1:16,18-25; 2:13-15, 19-23; 13:55
  • Mark 6:13
  • Luke 1:27; 2:4,16,22,23,41-52; 3:23; 4:22
  • John 1:46; 6:42

What scripture says of him is that he was husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. He was the son of Jacob or Heli (some confusion on this point). We have no information in Scripture concerning the marriage of Mary and Joseph except what St. Matthew's Gospel says:

Matt. 1:18-25 [NRSV] Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Their home was Nazareth, but a census required them to go to Bethlehem. They were there when St. Matthew tells us:

Matt. 1:13-14 [NRSV] Now after they (the Magi) had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt.

We are told that eventually God did tell him to return to Nazareth. We read of Joseph at the presentation of Jesus and when Jesus was lost in the temple. On this occasion Mary said to Jesus, "Son, why have you done this to us? You see that your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow." Matthew also records the astounding words of the people of Nazareth when Jesus, having left Nazareth to preach the Good News, returned:

Matt. 1:54-55 [NRSV] He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter's son?

This is the last mention of him. We presume that he died sometime during the public life of Jesus, and pious tradition says that it was in the arms of Mary and Jesus that he died.

Devotion to St. Joseph

His cult is of rather recent origin, but in 1870 Pope Pious IX declared him the Patron of the Universal Church. Later, Pope Pious XII instituted the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker, on May 1st. In the United States we celebrate it on Labor Day. March 19, however, is his principal feast day. Perhaps it should also be noted that Pope John XXIII added his name to what we now call the first Eucharistic Prayer.

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful; pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us!

He made him the lord of his household, and prince of all his possessions.

Let us pray: O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother. Grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him as our intercessor in heaven whom on Earth we venerate as our Protector. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.