March: A Month of St. Joseph
Patris Corde: With a Father’s Heart
“That is how Joseph loved Jesus, with whom all four Gospels refer to as ‘the son of Joseph’”. This is the opening line of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on the 150th Anniversary (December 8, 1870) of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the patron saint of the Catholic Church. The feast of “St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary” is celebrated every year on March 19. Similar to Mariology, Josephology is the theological study of Joseph.
Joseph was There
Joseph was a simple carpenter who said yes to the will of God. Joseph was there to receive the angelic messages. Joseph cared for Mary as they journeyed to Bethlehem. At the birth of the Messiah, and when the shepherds came to adore, Joseph was there. Forty days after Jesus’ birth, he was there in the Temple. Joseph received a warning in a dream of the evil plans of Herod, so he led his family into Egypt where they lived in exile until it was safe to return to their home. There Joseph cared for his family until they returned to Nazareth. Following the incident in the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve, we don’t know much about the husband of Mary.
A Saint's Month
Except for Mary, no other saint is mentioned in Church teachings as much as Joseph. Special prayers are offered to St. Joseph during the month of March, “The Month of Joseph”. Joseph listened to the voice of the angels, he listened to the magi as they praised Jesus, and he acted on the warnings of his dreams. St. Joseph can be our role model on how to actively listen and act for the goodness of our family and the kingdom of God.
Along with being the patron saint of the Catholic Church, other st. Joseph patronages include: unborn children, father, immigrants, workers, travellers and of course he is the patron saint of carpenters.
There are some beautiful prayers to Joseph, especially the Prayer for St. Joseph’s Protection, which I came across while researching for this article.
Prayer for St. Joseph's Protection
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,
before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart.
Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and
ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, patron of departing souls - pray for me.