St. Joseph - CDM Saint of the Month - March 2019

Scripture tells us that St. Joseph was a “just man”; and that God gave him the mission of being the husband of the woman who would give birth to the Messiah and the father and protector of this Holy Family. He would be the man closest to Jesus in his early years.

In 1870, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church. St Joseph is also regarded as the patron saint of workers as well as artisans who do good work with the gifts God gave them.  St Joseph is regarded also as a model for fathers and is an inspiration to those who are adoptive parents.

Joseph was a descendant of the house of King David. After marrying Mary, he found her already pregnant and, “being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace” (Matthew 1:19), decided to divorce her quietly, but an angel told him that the child was the Son of God and was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Obeying the angel and being a compassionate man,  Joseph accepted his mission and took Mary as his wife. He wasn’t rich for  when he took Jesus to  the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24). After Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem in Judaea, where the Holy Family received the Magi, an angel warned Joseph and Mary about the impending violence against the child by King Herod the Great; thus, they fled to Egypt. There the angel again appeared to Joseph, informing him of Herod’s death and instructing him to return to the Holy Land.

Avoiding Bethlehem out of fear of Herod’s successor, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:22–23) in Galilee, where Joseph taught his craft of carpentry to Jesus. Joseph is last mentioned in the Gospels when he and Mary frantically searched for the lost young Jesus in Jerusalem, where they found him in the Temple (Luke 2:41–49). Like Mary, Joseph failed to comprehend Jesus’ ironic question, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ ” Jesus must have loved and respected St. Joseph and Mary very much, for the Gospel reads, after the finding in the Temple, Jesus returned to Nazareth and “was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51). The circumstances of Joseph’s death are unknown, except that he probably died before Jesus’ public ministry began and was certainly dead before the Crucifixion (John 19:26–27). Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death.”

His feast is celebrated on March 19 as well as on May 1 (St Joseph, the Worker – also International Workers’ Day)