We know very little about St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus and husband of the Virgin Mary. The name “Joseph” in Hebrew means “he increases.” Joseph is mentioned very little in scriptures. He is featured primarily in Matthew and Luke, he is not mentioned in Mark and only briefly mentioned in John. We know he is from the House of David in Bethlehem, but lived in Nazareth. He was a “tekton,” which is translated as a carpenter or artisan. Joseph would have been involved in construction or repair, working with stone, wood, metal, cement, or clay. The English words “technology” and “architecture” stem from the root tekton. As was customary, St. Joseph would have taught Jesus these skills as well. We do not hear about Joseph after the story of The Finding in the Temple, when Jesus was about 12 years of age. There are no relics of St. Joseph and we know of no tomb of St. Joseph.
We do know that Joseph was obedient to God’s will. Pope Francis states, “Christians can discover in St. Joseph, who often goes unnoticed, an intercessor, a support, and guide in times of trouble.” He goes on to say, “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
St. Joseph is my “go to” saint. I turn to him frequently and pray many novenas to him. I had a very close relationship with my own father, who passed away 7 years ago, so I think that is why I feel close to St. Joseph. My dad taught me how to fish, how to play poker, and how to drive a stick-shift. He played the saxophone, and he was a great dancer. My dad always used to tip waitresses with $2 bills, so I carry a $2 bill in my wallet to remember him.
Dads are very important in our lives, and St. Joseph is the best example of a father there is. I am thrilled that, in his apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (“With a father’s heart”), Pope Francis recognized the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph, whom Pope Pius IX proclaimed as the patron of the Universal Church on December 8, 1870, by designating a yearlong celebration dedicated in St. Joseph’s honor. There are many ways we can honor St. Joseph in the upcoming year:
- Learn about St. Joseph’s virtues and try to imitate them
- Add St. Joseph traditions to your daily prayer and family life
- Pray the Holy Rosary daily, reciting the Year of St. Joseph Prayer at the end
- Attend Mass on his feast days: March 19 and May 1
- Include prayers to St. Joseph in your morning and evening prayers
- Encourage others to foster a greater devotion to St. Joseph
As a school community, we will be planning special events to celebrate St. Joseph after the Christmas break. As we head into the holidays, we can all be confident that the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – are all watching over us and desiring for us peace and joy.
Merry Christmas everyone!
THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH PRAYER
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, 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 with 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 kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
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 in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.