I know all of us are looking forward to celebrate the Novenas and the Feast of St Joseph in a couple of weeks’ time. It is necessary for us to further our knowledge on Joseph our Patron Saint as we enter this particular time in good spirits for this year ‘s St Joseph’s feast day celebrations. I pray that he can teach us to carry out our work faithfully and to develop your spirituality in its deepest sense.
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture. We know he was a carpenter, a working man, and a compassionate and 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 knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly so as not to expose her to shame or cruelty.
However, when an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matt 1:19-25).
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 back (Matt 2:13-23).
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.
Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker. March 19 has been the most commonly celebrated feast day for Joseph, and it wasn’t until 1955 that Pope Pius XII established the Feast of “St. Joseph the Worker” to be celebrated on May 1. This is also May Day (International Workers’ Day) and believed to reflect Joseph’s status as the patron of workers.
Saint Joseph, Powerful Intercessor, please pray for all our intentions and us.
Fr. George Packiasamy