St. Joseph was a man who we never hear much about. He didn’t say anything in the Bible but we know something about him. Most pictures show him with white hair like he was a lot older than the Virgin Mary but he was not many years older than she was. She was about 15. The Bible says that he was a “righteous man”. He is usually pictured with Baby Jesus and a white lily symbolizing St. Joseph’s purity and virginity.
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The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were betrothed before Jesus was conceived. That means they were engaged to be married but in their tradition that means they were married but lived apart for one year. An angel came to Joseph in a dream telling him “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25). When she gave birth, he was there and assisted her. Logically, he was the first one to see the Child Jesus after his birth. In Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph has another dream telling him of danger to his family, Mary and the child Jesus. He takes them to Egypt without question and keeps them safe until King Herod dies and it is safe again to return home. King Herod had killed all children under the age of two. These are called the Holy Innocents as they are the first martyrs of Christ.
Joseph was a carpenter and taught Jesus how to be a carpenter also. He died sometime before Jesus began His ministry. St. Joseph was of noble blood of the House of David. This fulfills prophesy that the Messiah would be from the lineage of the House of David.
St. Joseph was a man who had the most beautiful woman on earth, the Virgin Mary, as his wife but he never touched her in a disrespectful or sexual way. He kept her dignity intact and never tarnished her purity. He protected her virginity and kept it intact for the rest of her life.
Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth. Joseph is also patron saint of the Catholic Church, families, fathers, stepparents, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
Consider a devotion to St. Joseph asking for his intercession in prayer for you. Jesus listens to his stepfather answering many prayers. Try putting a piece of paper with your prayer on it stuck in the frame of his picture. Or put that same prayer in the hand of a statue of St. Joseph or under it. This is not expecting the statue to answer the prayer, but instead, when St. Joseph sees that you are honoring his image, he will intercede for you. This is not worshipping the statue but honoring his image, like we would a family member. St. Joseph is also a great saint to have as a patron saint for anyone who needs fatherly guidance such as a baptismal saint or for someone who doesn’t have a father in the home.
St. Joseph is the protector the family. Ask for his assistance if you have struggles in your family. He will take it to Jesus and Jesus can’t refuse His father because He respects His father.