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The Year of St. Joseph

Pope Francis Declares a Year of St. Joseph beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2020 and extending to the same feast on December 8, 2021.

 

First appearing in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Saint Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus Christ and the husband of the Virgin Mary.

Who Was Saint Joseph?

Venerated as a saint by many Christians, Saint Joseph is a biblical figure who was the earthly father of Jesus Christ.  Joseph first appears in the Bible in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; in Matthew, Joseph's lineage is traced back to King David.

Fact and Fiction

Everything we know about Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, and the foster father of Jesus, comes from the Bible, and mentions of him are pretty underwhelming.  The 13 New Testament books written by Paul (the epistles) make no reference to him at all, nor does the Gospel of Mark, the first of the Gospels.  Joseph first appears in the Bible in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Matthew's is the Gospel that traces Joseph's lineage back to King David.

Marriage to Mary

Marrying Mary, Joseph found that she was already pregnant, and being "a just man and unwilling to put her to shame" (Matt. 1:19), Joseph decided to divorce Mary quietly, knowing that if he did so publicly, Mary could be stoned to death, as prescribed in the Law what was the penalty for adultery.  However, an angel came to Joseph while Joseph was sleeping and told him that the child Mary carried was the Son of God and was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph kept Mary as his wife.

After Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, an angel again came to Joseph, we are told in the Bible.  The angel came this time to warn Joseph and Mary that King Herod of Judaea was looking for Jesus and using violence, Herod would find the child and kill him.  As the angel told him to do, Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus.  The angel later appeared again, telling Joseph it was safe to return home, that Herod had died, and instructed Joseph to bring his family back to what we now call the Holy Land.

Avoiding Bethlehem and possible actions by the successor to Herod, Jesus, Mary and Joseph settled in Nazareth, in Galilee.  The Gospels describe Joseph as a “tekton,” which is traditionally translated as “carpenter.”  It is assumed that Joseph taught his craft to Jesus while they were in Nazareth. At this point, however, Joseph is never mentioned again by name in the Bible—although the story of Jesus in the temple does include a reference to “both his parents.”

Death and Sainthood

The circumstances of Joseph's death are not known, but it is indeed likely that Joseph died before Jesus's public ministry began.  It is implied that he was dead before the Crucifixion (John 19:26-27).  Already a patron saint of Mexico, Canada, and Belgium, Joseph was declared patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870.  In 1955 Pope Pius XII established May 1 as the “Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.” 

 

With a Father's Heart - Archdiocese of Milwaukee

On December 8, 2020, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1870. The Pope said the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn him to reflect more on St. Joseph, as so many people during the pandemic have made hidden sacrifices to protect others, just as St. Joseph quietly protected and cared for Mary and Jesus. He released an Apostolic Letter, "Partis Corde" (With a Father's Heart) for the Church to reflect on throughout the year. The Year of St. Joseph concludes on December 8, 2021. 

During the time of quarantine in March 2020, Archbishop Listecki consecrated the entire Archdiocese of Milwaukee to the paternal care and protection of St. Joseph. In the Gospels, St. Joseph is depicted as silent, faithful, and peaceful, even in the face of grave danger and suffering. For those reasons, St. Joseph provides a compelling witness and model for how we can maintain communion with God in these challenging times. 

While it is appropriate to consecrate oneself on any day of the year, people often choose to do it on a feast day of St. Joseph. We encourage you to prepare for and consecrate yourself to St. Joseph on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph Husband of Mary, or on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. 


Meet St. Joseph video


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Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ chose to enter the world through the human family; He came as an infant born into the marriage and home of the two holiest human creatures who ever lived: Joseph and Mary.

Although He was God, He was obedient to them as a Child, and under their watchful care “Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52). In this Jesus gave us an example, that we too as His disciples are meant to entrust ourselves to Joseph and Mary, learning from them how to grow in holiness as the adopted children of God (Eph. 1:5).

As Christians, we are blessed to have sweet Mary as our spiritual mother and valiant Joseph as our spiritual father. Just as Mary guides us from heaven with loving devotion, so too St. Joseph diligently provides for the needs of the family of God, the Holy Catholic Church.

Because of his special role as foster-father of the Child Jesus, St. Joseph has merited singular privileges in heaven unmatched by any saint excepting the Blessed Virgin Mary. Certain saints have received special insight into his holiness and the wonderful power of his heavenly intercession.

The Catholic Church has always fostered a tender to St. Joseph as the Head of the Holy Family; yet he has become increasingly prominent in the spiritual life of the Church over the last 150 years, as Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, lists in his new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father:

1870 — Blessed Pope Pius IX declares St. Joseph the “Universal Patron of the Church.”

1879 — Apparitions at Knock, Ireland. St. Joseph appears with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Apostle, and Jesus (appearing as the Lamb of God).

1889 — Pope Leo XIII writes Quamquam Pluries, an encyclical letter on St. Joseph.

1908 — St. Luigi Guanella begins constructing a church dedicated to St. Joseph in Rome. It is completed and consecrated as a basilica in 1912.

1917 — Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. During the last apparition on October 13, St. Joseph appears holding the Child Jesus and blessing the world.

1921 — Pope Benedict XV inserts the phrase “Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse” into the Divine Praises.

1955 — Venerable Pope Pius XII establishes the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, to be celebrated on May 1.

1962 — Pope St. John XXIII inserts St. Joseph’s name into the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).

1989 — Pope St. John Paul II writes Redemptoris Custos, an encyclical letter on St. Joseph.

2013 — Pope Francis, echoing and fulfilling the intentions of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, inserts the name of St. Joseph into all Eucharistic Prayers. He also consecrates Vatican City State to St. Joseph.

Through this providential sequence of events, it’s clear that the Holy Spirit is at work teaching us the importance of devotion to St. Joseph at this moment in salvation history. “Now is the time of St. Joseph!” writes Father Calloway, “In our day, Jesus wants the Church to know, love, honor, and seek refuge in the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph.”

“Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Pope St. John Paul II 


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How to Celebrate the Year of St. Joseph

As we devote an entire year to St. Joseph’s honor, we will undoubtedly unlock many special graces not only for the Church, but for each of the faithful who increase their devotion to him during this special year. There is no greater model than St. Joseph from whom we can learn how to live virtuously in imitation of Jesus and Mary.

“Devotion to St. Joseph is one of the choicest graces that God can give to a soul, for it is tantamount to revealing the entire treasury of our Lord’s graces,” wrote St. Peter Julian Eymard, “When God wishes to raise a soul to greater heights, he unites it to St. Joseph by giving it a strong love for the good saint.”

Below are ideas for how to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph:

For Individuals:

Begin the Year of St. Joseph with a special intention for his intercession, for which you will offer your prayers and St. Joseph devotions throughout the year.

Learn about St. Joseph’s virtues and try to imitate them

Participate in the 33-day consecration to St. Joseph

Pray the Holy Rosary daily, reciting the Year of St. Joseph prayer at the conclusion

Plan a pilgrimage to one or more of the St. Joseph parishes across the Archdiocese

Adopt St. Joseph traditions into your prayer life and family life

Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on his feast days: March 19th and May 1st

Participate in the Year of St. Joseph events across the Archdiocese

Include prayers to St. Joseph in your morning and evening prayers

Encourage others to foster a greater devotion to St. Joseph

Take advantage of the Year of St. Joseph indulgences granted by the Holy See


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“If Joseph was so engaged, heart and soul, in protecting and providing for that little family at Nazareth, don’t you think that now in heaven he is the same loving father and guardian of the whole Church, of all its members, as he was of its Head on earth?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ~Venerable Pope Pius XII         

Just as Jesus and Mary entrusted themselves entirely to the care and protection of St. Joseph as the head of the Holy Family, so to can we follow their example. “Jesus, living under the roof of St. Joseph and being his Son, gave us a personal example of total entrustment to St. Joseph” (Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC).

We may be familiar with consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in particular the method popularized by St. Louis De Montfort which consists of 33 days of spiritual preparation. In recognition of the emphasis the Church has placed on St. Joseph in recent centuries, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, has introduced a similar Consecration to St. Joseph complete with 33 days of readings and prayers leading up to a prayer of consecration recited on a feast day connected to St. Joseph.

What does it mean to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph?

What does it mean for a person to be consecrated to St. Joseph? Well, it basically means that you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely into his paternal care so that he can help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God. The person who consecrates himself to St. Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness. Saint Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him his undivided attention, protection, and guidance.                                                                                                                                                                           – Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

If you’ve already consecrated yourself to Our Lady, can you be consecrated to St. Joseph too?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” God desires that all children be committed to the care of a mother and a father. You are not a member of a single-parent spiritual family. Mary is your spiritual mother, and St. Joseph is your spiritual father. The spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph is extremely important for your spiritual growth. Total consecration to Mary is not diminished by total consecration to St. Joseph. Mary wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Jesus wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Everything you have given to Jesus and Mary can also be given to St. Joseph. The hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are one.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         – Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

Make Your Consecration Memorable

Ideally, families and groups could organize themselves to make the consecration together. Fr. Calloway’s book includes material for six weeks of group meetings leading up to the consecration. On the final day a simple ceremony could be planned where the group recites the consecration prayer together led by their pastor or parochial vicar following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. During the ceremony those who made the consecration could receive a blessed sacramental, such as a St. Joseph medal, to serve as a visible sign and reminder of their consecration. You can purchase 100-pack St. Joseph medals here.

To make a 33-day consecration, it is recommended that you use the new book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. The chart below lists suggested dates for making your consecration to St. Joseph.

START DATE                 FEAST DAY                     CONSECRATION DAY

December 22        Feast of the Holy Spouses             January 23

January 1              Presentation of the Lord                 February 2

February 15
(leap year: 2/16)    Solemnity of St. Joseph                  March 19

March 30                St. Joseph the Worker                    May 1

April 11                   Our Lady of Fatima                        May 13

July 20                    Our Lady of Knock                         August 21

September 30          All Saints                                     November 1

November*               Holy Family                                *Last Sunday of December

If you’d like to do the consecration but cannot purchase the book, you can simply recite a prayer to St. Joseph for 33 days (for example, the Litany of St. Joseph) and conclude on the final day with the consecration prayer below.


 

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION TO ST. JOSEPH

O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Church! O Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God! O Guardian and Virginal Father of the Word Incarnate! In the presence of Jesus and Mary, I choose you this day to be my father, my guardian, and my protector.

O great St. Joseph, whom God has made the Head of the Holy Family, accept me, I beseech you, though utterly unworthy, to be a member of your “Holy House.” Present me to your Immaculate Spouse; ask her also to adopt me as her child. With her, pray that I may constantly think of Jesus, and serve him faithfully to the end of my life. O Terror of Demons, increase in me virtue, protect me from the evil one, and help me not to offend God in any way.

O my Spiritual Father, I hereby consecrate myself to you. In faithful imitation of Jesus and Mary, I place myself and all my concerns under your care and protection. To you, after Jesus and Mary, I consecrate my body and soul, with all their faculties, my spiritual growth, my home, and all my affairs and undertakings.

Forsake me not, but adopt me as a servant and child of the Holy Family. Watch over me at all times, but especially at the hour of my death. Console and strengthen me with the presence of Jesus and Mary so that, with you, I may praise and adore the Holy Trinity for all eternity. Amen.

Listen to a podcast with Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC discussing the consecration to St. Joseph here.


RESOURCES

APOSTOLIC LETTER 'PATRIS CORDE' OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS, On the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church

Year of St. Joseph — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

On May 1, Pope Francis updated the 112-year-old litany to St. Joseph to include seven new titles for St. Joseph — OSV

The Year of St. Joesph webpage — OSV (a Catholic Publishing House)

Meet St. Joseph • Saints for kids — OSV

St. Joseph material specifically geared toward children — Loyola Press

Year of St. Joseph Material for Children — Plaum Weekly

Resources and Prayers about St. Joseph — Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Profiles of Courage: Reflections on St. Joseph — Archdiocese of Denver

Celebrating the Year of St. Joseph — Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

What the church says about St. Joseph

St. Joseph in Art & Art History

Devotions & Traditions to increase your love for St. Joseph

St. Joseph Prayer Card — Diocese of Green Bay

The Tradition of a St. Joseph's Table

Various other prayers to St. Joseph — yearofstjoseph.org

St. Joseph has become known for his intercession for these professions and causes — catholicsaints.info

Saints Devoted to St. Joseph

Saint Quotes About St. Joseph

Year of St. Joseph Free Coloring Printable for Kids — Drawn2Bcreative.com.

Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph” — Article from Vatican News

Pope Francis proclaims Year of St. Joseph — Article from Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Year of St. Joseph: What Catholics need to know — Article from Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The Year of St. Joseph: Some Basic Facts — Article from The Fathers of Mercy

Year of St. Joseph Resources — My Catholic Life!

Information on St. Joseph — EWTN

 What Makes Joseph the Ideal Man — Ascension Presents — Bobby Angel dives deep into what you did and didn’t know about St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  Even though there isn’t a single word attributed to the earthly father of Christ in scripture, he’s still the best (non-divine) example of what a good husband, father, brother, and man should look like.  In this video Bobby highlights three areas of virtue in his life: justice, obedience, and vocation.

 

 How to Love like Mary and Joseph — Ascension Presents — The marriage of Mary and Joseph is often depicted as a rigidly formal and unattainably pious relationship that we can never hope to replicate in our lives. But the relationship between them was very real, very intimate, and the very longing of the human heart. By looking at the marriage of Mary and Joseph, we can discover how to love each other the way God loves us.

 

 St. Joseph: An Example for All Husbands — Ascension Presents — How did St. Joseph love our Blessed Mother as her loving, chaste spouse? He made her feel safe. He gave her heart a place to bloom. And he found rest in the Heart of the Father, from whom all husbands draw their peace and strength.

 

The Remarkable Story of Joseph the Carpenter — Messages of Christ — This is a non-Catholic source.  The Bible used is the King James version, which Catholics do not use.


 

 

            Prayer to St. Joseph   


           To you, oh blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our
     affliction. And having implored the help of your thrice-holy
     spouse, we now with hearts filled with confidence earnestly
     beg you also to take us under your protection.


          By that charity with which you were united to the
     Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and by that fatherly love with
     which you cherished the child, Jesus, we implore you and we
     humbly pray that you will look down with gracious eyes upon
     that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood and
     will assist us in our need by your power and strength.


          Defend, oh most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the
     chosen offspring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, oh most loving
     father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high,
     most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of
     darkness.


          For even as of old, when you rescued the Child Jesus from
     the perils of his life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the
     snares of the enemy and from all adversity.


          Shield us ever under your patronage that following your
     example and strengthened by your help we may live a holy life,
     die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven.
     Amen.


Prayer Before Work to St. Joseph the Worker   

 

O Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, never shrinking from weariness and trials; to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, keeping unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. 

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death. Amen.                                                                                                                                                                                               ~Composed by Pope St. Pius X


 

Prayer to Saint Joseph

 

To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
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.

Amen


Litany of St. Joseph

 

Lord, have mercy.                                                 Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.                                              Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.                                                 Lord, have mercy.

  

God our Father in heaven,                                            have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,                          have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,                                                       have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,                                                    have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,                                                                      pray for us.

Saint Joseph,                                                                 pray for us.

Noble son of the House of David,                                  pray for us.

Light of patriarchs,                                                          pray for us.

Husband of the Mother of God,                                      pray for us.

Guardian of the Virgin,                                                   pray for us.

Foster father of the Son of God,                                     pray for us.

Faithful guardian of Christ,                                             pray for us.

Head of the Holy Family,                                                pray for us.

Joseph, chaste and just,                                                 pray for us.

Joseph, prudent and brave,                                            pray for us.

Joseph, obedient and loyal,                                            pray for us.

Pattern of patience,                                                         pray for us.

Lover of poverty,                                                              pray for us.

Model of workers,                                                            pray for us.

Example to parents,                                                        pray for us.

Guardian of virgins,                                                         pray for us.

Pillar of family life,                                                           pray for us.

Comfort of the troubled,                                                  pray for us.

Hope of the sick,                                                             pray for us.

Patron of the dying,                                                         pray for us.

Terror of evil spirits,                                                         pray for us.

Protector of the Church,                                                  pray for us.

  

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,            have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,            have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,            have mercy on us.

  

God made him master of his household,                And put him in charge of all that he owned.

Let us pray.

O God, who in your inexpressible providence
were pleased to choose Saint Joseph
as spouse of the most holy Mother of your Son,
grant, we pray,
that we, who revere him as our protector on earth,
may be worthy of his heavenly intercession.
Through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

 

 

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