Saint Joseph: A man who defines what it means to have faith

Saint Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is 19 March — Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is 1 May — Joseph, the Worker.

“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II  once said.

Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870. Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the devout believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, 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 and not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came 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. (Matthew 1:19-25).

We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.

There are many things which connect our current Pope to Saint Joseph. Among them are the choice of the date for the beginning of his pontificate, 19 March, Saint Joseph’s feast day, and the choice of the nard flower, symbolic of Saint Joseph on his coat of arms.

In July 2013 his decision to consecrate Vatican City State not just to Saint Michael, as had been previously planned, but to Saint Joseph as well was another signal of the Pope’s admiration for Saint Joseph.

Celebrating Saint Joseph

Feast days: 19 March & 1 May
Patron of the Universal Church, unborn children, fathers, workers, travellers, immigrants, and a happy death.

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