A Lenten Journey with St. Joseph for Families

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The Year of St. Joseph: What Catholics need to know

St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, families, and workers.  Other patronages are listed here.

How to Celebrate the Year of St. Joseph

What the Church Says About St. Joseph

  • QUEMADMODUM DEUS, Decree of Pope Pius XI declaring St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church, December 8, 1870
    • “Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection, and kissed. He most diligently reared Him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life”
  • QUAMQUAM PURIES, Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII on Devotion to St. Joseph, August 15 1889
    • “In giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life’s companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men.”
  • REDEMPTORIS CUSTOS, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope St. John Paul II on The Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church, August 15 1989
    • “St. Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood”
  • SERMON 2 ON ST. JOSEPH from the Sermons of St. Bernardine of Siena
    • Joseph “was chosen by the eternal Father to be the faithful foster-parent and guardian of the most precious treasures of God, his Son and his spouse”

Notable Quotes

“He is Holy Joseph, because according to the opinion of a great number of doctors, he, as well as St. John Baptist, was sanctified even before he was born. He is Holy Joseph, because his office, of being spouse and protector of Mary, specially demanded sanctity. He is Holy Joseph, because no other Saint but he lived in such and so long intimacy and familiarity with the source of all holiness, Jesus, God incarnate, and Mary, the holiest of creatures.” – St. John Henry Newman

“Go to Joseph! Have recourse with special confidence to St. Joseph, for his protection is most powerful, as he is the patron of the universal Church.” – Blessed Pope Pius IX

“Whoever fails to find a Master to teach him how to pray, should choose this glorious Saint, and he will not go astray.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“Whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary are the summit from which holiness spreads all over the earth.” – Pope St. John Paul II

Devotions to St. Joseph

St. Francis de Sales

The great Doctor of the Church and bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales, was not only a faithful devotee of the Guardian of the Redeemer but his avid proponent as well.

St. Francis de Sales made St. Joseph the special Patron of the religious order he founded, the Order of the Visitation. In addition to naming at least one of his parishes in his honor, he set Joseph as the model of the interior life and contemplative prayer for his own spiritual daughters–and in particular for the novices, who were to look upon St. Joseph as their novice “master” and guide (A Manual of Practical Devotion to the Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, translated by Fr. Patrignani, p. 78).

St. Joseph in Sacred Art

In the Early centuries of Christianity, Saint Joseph appeared only in images of the Nativity, likely because that is where he is found in Scripture. Most of the narrative surrounding Joseph comes from the Gospel of Matthew and the traditional accounts documented in the Protoevangelium of James. Some of the oldest extent images of Joseph can be seen among the icons of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt’s Sinai. In these images, dating from perhaps as early as the 7th century, Mary is central to the scene, the animals adore the infant Christ, as angels, magi, shepherds, and maids attend our Lord, and musicians play.  Saint Joseph is shown in what for centuries became his characteristic pose. He sits in the corner of the cave, chin in hand, pondering what James calls “Joseph’s Troubles”  – the awesome and terrible responsibility of the care and protection of God incarnate as a human child.


St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!

With thanks and acknowledgment to a Year of St Joseph.