The Solemnity of St. Joseph

The Feast of St. Joseph

March 19, 2021

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”

Obedient. Pure. Humble. Righteous. Silent. Contemplative. Tender. Ordinary. Courageous. Loving. Husband. Protector and guardian of the Savior and the Blessed Virgin. St. Joseph.

The Feast of St. Joseph this year has even more significance than usual. We are in the midst of the Year of St. Joseph (December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021) as declared by Pope Francis and the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Catholic Church, as declared by Pope Pius IX in 1870.  The Apostolic Letter about St. Joseph written by Pope Francis celebrates Joseph in a profound and human way. The Patris Corde, translated With a Father’s Heart, speaks about the man who went largely unnoticed throughout the Gospels and Jesus’ life.

In the letter, Pope Francis notes how, “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]” he has “recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary.” This prayer, he says, expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph,” as seen in its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you.  Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.”

At the conclusion of his Letter, Pope Francis adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen.

Creighton University’s Online Ministries presents a reflection by Joseph himself entitled Contemplating with Joseph. Take a few minutes to read the behind-the-scenes story of Joseph, the man, the father, the saint. He was a man of unwavering faith and utmost trust in God’s will. Joseph was a man of faith, courage, and outstanding virtues. While he was a man of few words, he was a man of faith-filled action. In short, he serves as a wonderful role model for all of us in today’s culture.

It’s easy to remember St. Joseph at Christmas and on March 19. It is a gift to us to have this whole year to learn more about St. Joseph and to reflect on his example of and courage of faith and fatherhood. By following the example of St. Joseph, we are faithfully doing the ordinary things which God wants us to do.