The Solemnity of St. Joseph honors the foster-father of Jesus. He is the patron saint of fathers, families, workers, and the Church. His main celebration falls on March 19.

Liturgical Color(s): White

Type of Holiday: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation (in some regions)

Time of Year: March 19

Duration: One Day 

Celebrates/Symbolizes: Saint Joseph

Alternate Names
: Feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary

Scriptural References

Luke 1:26-36

Matthew 1

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.










The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah,fourteen generations. 

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiahtook place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;
and he named him Jesus.and he named him Jesus..

Luke 2: 1-7 & 42-52

Matthew 2: 13-14 & 19 - 23

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.All went to their own towns to be registered.All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Boy Jesus in the Templee

 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parentsAnd all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parentssaw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart..

 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour. 

The Escape to Egypt

 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’Then JosephThen Josephgot up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’’

The Return from Egypt

 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’Then JosephThen Josephgot up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’ 

Introductionn

Despite the attention given to him today, Saint Joseph is a relatively minor figure in the New Testament. The canonical gospels do provide a few details about his life. He was probably a relatively old man when Jesus was born, since he does not appear in the gospels during Jesus' ministry. The non-canonicalDespite the attention given to him today, Saint Joseph is a relatively minor figure in the New Testament. The canonical gospels do provide a few details about his life. He was probably a relatively old man when Jesus was born, since he does not appear in the gospels during Jesus' ministry. The non-canonical Protevangelium, from around the 2nd century, attests to Joseph's advanced age. The Protevangelium also asserts that Joseph was a widower, who had grown children from his previous marriage. This story is used by many early Church Fathers to explain Scriptural references to Jesus' "brothers," who would have been step-brothers, and not biologically related.  Finally, we know from the Scriptures that Joseph was a carpenter by trade, and a descendent of the Old Testament King David.

St. Joseph was betrothed (essentially engaged) to a virgin named Mary, and when she became pregnant without sexual intercourse with him, he intended to divorce her secretly.  However, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, telling him that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and that Joseph was to take Mary as his wife.  The angel also instructed Joseph to name the child Jesus.  Joseph, being a humble man, obeyed the angel and took Mary as his wife.

St. Joseph is a model of humility and holiness, and is a model for fathers everywhere. He cared for the Son of God, despite Jesus not being his own biological Son.  His devotion to Mary, despite his suspicions of her infidelity, and his willingness to listen to the angel of God, demonstrate his humility.

St. Joseph is a popular patron saint.  He is the patron saint of the universal Church, a happy death, workers, carpenters, expecting mothers, families, and more.

Historyy

Devotion to St. Joseph developed slowly, more slowly than devotion to Mary.  The devotion seems to have begun in the East, with the apocryphalDevotion to St. Joseph developed slowly, more slowly than devotion to Mary.  The devotion seems to have begun in the East, with the apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter (4th-7th century) playing a major role in fostering the devotion.  The Copts likely kept his feast as early as the 4th century.  In one of the oldest Coptic calendars we possess, St. Joseph was commemorated on July 20. In later Greek calendars, he is remembered on either December 25 or December 26.  In the West, devotion to Joseph developed more slowly, with its earliest promoters being St. Bernardino of Siena and John Gerson.  The theological foundations they set paved the way for the establishment of the Feast of St. Joseph.  St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis De Sales were also known for their strong devotion to St. Joseph.

The feast of St. Joseph did not enter the Western calendar until AD 1479. In 1714 Pope Clement XI composed a special office for the feast, and in 1729 Pope Benedict XIII inserted his name into the litany of the saints.  Pope Pius IX declared him patron of the universal Church in 1870.  In 1955 the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was promulgated by Pope Pius XII, observed on May 1. This feast was added to the calendar on May 1st to counter the Communist May Day celebration that day, by offering a Christian view of labor, and prime example in the husband of Mary.  The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is not a holy day of obligation.  In 1962 his name was added to the list of saints in the Roman Canon (the First Eucharistic Prayer).

Many traditions and customs have developed around St. Joseph and his feast day.  March 19th has been a traditional day to show hospitality in the Italian culture.  On this day, all who come to the door are invited to dinner.  The family table is extended full-length, moved against the wall (like the Church altar), and a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and candles is made the centerpiece.  After the guests have enjoyed the bounteous feast (blessed by a priest prior to the meal), the guests leave so other guests may enter.  What is left is given to the poor.  On a variation of this theme, a table is set up in the town square, and all families bring food.  After Mass, everyone comes and shares a meal, which consists of a variety of foods, including bread baked in the shape of scepters and beards.

Traditions & Symbols

Traditions and Customs

Inviting visitors for dinner
Setting up a common table/meal in the town Square
Baking bread in the shape of a scepter or beard

Symbols

Blossoming Rod
Lily
Saw and other carpenter's tools
Budding Staff
Jesus and Mary with Josephh

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