He is one of many heroes we read about in the Bible, yet he is never quoted. In fact, in one chapter of the Bible he is mentioned, and then suddenly without the reader even realizing it, he is never mentioned again.
St. Joseph is one of the most mysterious people we read about in the Scriptures. Despite being the foster father of Jesus — the Son of God — we know very little about him. We know he was a carpenter; he was a “righteous man” (Mt. 1:19), he was Mary’s husband, and his lineage can be traced back to King David. The last time we read about St. Joseph is in the Gospel of Luke when the Holy Family visited the temple for Passover and Jesus was 12 years old at the time. But how and when did St. Joseph die? Why is his death not even mentioned? Why is he never quoted in the Bible? What did St. Joseph think about raising the Son of God?
“It’s such a good question. Why does it seem like St. Joseph — who raised Jesus! — appears like he’s almost an afterthought in the Bible?” said Father Mark Tracy, parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Effingham and Annunciation Parish in Shumway. “I think it speaks to who St. Joseph is — his humbleness, his quiet obedience, and his selflessness — but most importantly, I think it comes down to the fact St. Joseph wants us to live our lives like he lived his life, pointing all our attention and giving all our energy solely to Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.”
It is this reason why Father Tracy says St. Joseph, who has a unique relationship with Jesus and Mary, is one of the best saints we can turn to for help, especially during the stresses that can come during Christmas time.
“First, St. Joseph was at the first Christmas, and I think we can imagine it was pretty stressful,” Father Tracy said. “I mean traveling with Mary who is nine months pregnant on a donkey, finding out there is no room in the inn, Mary giving birth next to animals — I think we could conclude St. Joseph’s blood pressure was pretty high. But beyond Christmas, St. Joseph also knows how stressful a job can be and the uncertainties of budgets and resources. He understands the anxieties of raising a child and all the difficulties that come with parenting. He understands the sacrificial nature of marriage and the burden’s that come with being the head of a family. His life, what he felt, and what he had to do to overcome all these stresses and fears are exactly what we are going through today. He is a wonderful saint to turn to for help and an example for all of us to follow.”
This year is the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX. March 19 is the feast day of St.
Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Confessor of the Faith and May 1 is the feast day of St Joseph the Worker.
“There is so much turmoil, fear, and uncertainty in our world today,” Father Tracy said. “But St. Joseph is always pointing us back to the one true hope, Jesus Christ. So, if you are feeling down or stressed, turn to
St. Joseph, and look to him as an example of humbleness and faithfulness. He understands your feelings, and he will help you not only find joy in the season of Christmas and in your earthly life, but the ultimate joy with his adopted Son, Jesus Christ, in heaven forever.”
A saint for all
Saints are powerful intercessors for us. Turning to saints by asking them to pray for us is part of our Catholic tradition. As for St. Joseph, he is the patron saint of many causes:
• The Universal Church • Expectant mothers • Families • Travelers • Craftsmen • House sellers and buyers • Fathers • The dying • Working people in general
Ways you can honor St. Joseph: Check out these wonderful prayers by looking them up online as they are too long to print in Catholic Times:
• Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary • Seven Sundays Devotion to St. Joseph • 30 Day Prayer to St. Joseph • Litany of St. Joseph
Pope Francis proclaims Year of St. Joseph
On Dec. 8, Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph. Concluding Dec. 8, 2021, the decree by Pope Francis includes special indulgences for the faithful.
“Each of us can discover in Joseph — the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence — an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” Pope Francis said. “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
The church will grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics who recite any approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, especially on March 19, the saint’s solemnity, and May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Other days one can obtain a plenary indulgence include the Feast of the Holy Family on Dec. 29, the 19th of each month, and every Wednesday, a day dedicated to the saint in the Latin tradition.