Saint Joseph - The Honored One
by Father Charles Irvin
Saint Joseph is, as we all know, the Patron of the Universal Church.
Along with Mary he is one of the
most honored saints in the entire array of saints found in the life and history of our Church. It is fitting that this be so - he
was next to Mary, the Guardian of
Jesus, the link between Christ
and the prophetic portrayal of the origins of the Messiah
being found in the "House of David".
In addition to being honored as the Patron Saint of the Universal Church, he is hailed as the Patron of Workers, Patron of Families,
Patron of the Sick and Dying, and the Guardian
Saint of Virgins. He is also the patron
of those engaged in the interior life, as well as being the patron
saint of those in authority, of fathers, priests, and those placed in charge over
the poor and defenseless.
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XII
Pope John XXIII
Pope Pius XI invoked him as the saint whom we should call upon to defeat atheistic communism.
Divini Redemptoris, dtd 19 March 1937 - " To hasten the
advent of that 'peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ' so ardently desired by all, We
place the vast campaign of the Church against world Communism under the standard of Saint
Joseph, Her mighty Protector. He belongs to the working-class, and he bore the burdens of
poverty for himself and the Holy Family, whose tender and vigilant head he was. To him was
entrusted the Divine Child when Herod loosed his assassins against Him. In a life of
faithful performance of everyday duties, he left an example for all those who must gain
their bread by the toil of their hands. He won for himself the title of 'The Just,'
serving thus as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social
Pope Pius XII, for his part, proclaimed the Feast
of Saint Joseph the Worker (1 May) as a counter-point to the May
Day celebrations held throughout the communist "workers
[On May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII granted a public audience to the Catholic Association
of Italian Workers, whose members had gathered in Saint Peters Square to celebrate
the tenth anniversary of their society. They were solemnly renewing, in common, their
promise of loyalty to the social doctrine of the Church, and
it was on that day that the Pope instituted the liturgical feast of May 1st, in
honor of Saint Joseph the Worker. He assured his audience and
the working people of the world: You have beside you a
shepherd, a defender and a father in Saint Joseph, the carpenter whom God in His
providence chose to be the virginal father of Jesus and the head of the Holy Family. He is
silent but has excellent hearing, and his intercession is very powerful over the Heart of
Pope John XXIII declared Saint
Joseph to be the patron-protector of the Second Vatican Council, going on to direct
that the name of Saint Joseph be included in
the Canon of the Mass.
On that last point, ever since I was ordained (1967) and have celebrated Mass, I have made it a point to incorporate his
name whenever I have offered Mass,
even in the Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass which
have developed since Vatican II. Mary and Joseph have, in my spiritual life,
always been linked together.
Saint Joseph's Oratory, Mont Royal, boasts a
ninety-seven metre dome
that makes it the second largest of its kind after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
One of the principal shrines in the entire Catholic world is found on Mont Royal, in Montreal, Canada, the shrine founded by the saintly
Brother Andre. Since 1624 Saint Joseph has been the Patron Saint of Canada. The present massive and awesome
Shrine began to take shape in 1918 when the Crypt of Saint Joseph's
Shrine was built. The library in that shrine contains every important book and literary
work ever written about Saint Joseph. And, quite naturally,
it is a place of miracles, one of the most famous pilgrimage
sites in the world. It has been visited by millions of pilgrims -- and will be visited by
more millions in the future.
In this time when the role model of the male, the role model of the husband/father is
weak and even under attack by certain militant groups, the role, image, and commanding
character of Saint Joseph takes on even greater importance. He ought to be put before the eyes of young boys and teens with
does it take to be a real man?
"real men" all about?
the masculine characteristics needed in complementarity with feminine characteristics?
the feminist movement tell us about what it means to be a man?
Was Joseph a weak man or a strong man, and why?
All of these questions swirl about us these days.
Perhaps a "visit" with Saint
Joseph would be in order - it might do us a whole lot of good.
It could even bring its own sort of "miraculous"
healing to many of us men.
Make a Visit to Saint Joseph
God inspires the Church to define a certain dogma of
the faith at the particular moment in history when it is most helpful to the Faithful. Devotion to Saint Joseph is
a powerful antidote to many of the moral dangers of this age.
Stirred by the workings of divine grace, the Holy Spirit has granted the people of God
the inspiration and enlightenment
necessary to discover in the person of Joseph a cure for the problems that afflict
them. Among these problems can be mentioned:
Failure of men to
accept the role of leadership in their homes;
Neglect of spirituality in marriage;
Lack of sanctification of labor by the working man;
A general weakening of
esteem for the practice of religion and virtue,
God's Providence always brings to full
flowering in the Church the devotions relevant to a
particular time; and many of today's problems, especially
with males, could be lessened by devotion to Saint Joseph. It
goes without saying that the surest sign of personal devotion to Saint
Joseph is manifested by praying to him frequently. His good friends have always called upon him
in time of need, when in doubt or discouraged.
Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
This prayer was found in the fiftieth year of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he
was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about
themselves shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on
them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy,
nor shall they be burned in any fire, nor shall they be overpowered in battle.
O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so
prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
O Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our
Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving
and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus
asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my
name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying
breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.
Many miracles have been attributed to this daily prayer.
Make this prayer known everywhere . . .
Pray along with Sister Grace Marie