Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19th
Happy Feast of St. Joseph!
St. Joseph Patron of universal church
On March 19th, the church celebrates the principal feast of Saint Joseph. Devotion to this great saint existed from early times of the church. Joseph was considered the legal father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. The faithful who invoked him experienced his powerful intervention in times of trouble and natural calamities.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph patron of the universal Church. In 1889 Pope Leo XII wrote an encyclical letter on devotion to St. Joseph. God chose him for a special role in the life of Christ, as the head of the Holy Family. Joseph showed himself responsible and committed – a father to Jesus and a loving husband to Mary.
St. Joseph our Model and intercessor
Today when family values are challenged and sometimes forgotten, St. Joseph gives us the perfect example of a good father in the family. His prompt obedience to God’s will shown by the Angel is remarkable. He is a model of hard work and devotion to religious practices. A silent worker, he was responsible. In both Catholic and Protestant traditions, Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of workers. And, Pope Pius XII established the feast of St. Joseph the worker to be celebrated on May 1st. This coincides with May Day or international worker’s day. Today, he is honored in Heaven and can intercede for us. St. Teresa of Avila had a neat explanation as to why St. Joseph is so successful in answering our prayers. It is that Our Lord Jesus Christ had to obey St. Joseph when He was a Child, so in Heaven, Our Lord still does as St. Joseph asks.
St. Joseph Patron of a happy death
Who could be more fortunate than St. Joseph at the moment of death? He had Jesus and Mary by his side to comfort him and to close his eyes. Since we all must die, we should cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death. All Christians regard him as the advocate of the dying who had honored him during their life. May St. Joseph protect us and provide for us. Happy Feast.
✝ Fr. Mathai Vellappallil, SDB