Feast Day of St. Joseph
St. Joseph, the Christ Child, and St. Joachim, Xanten, Germany, Cathedral
Since the Third Sunday of Lent fell on March 19th this year, the feast day of St. Joseph was transferred to March 20th.
St. Joseph has been one of my favorite saints for a very long time. An icon of St. Joseph had been placed in my room by my mother from a very early age. It still hangs in my room, though I no longer live with my parents. I took his name at my confirmation. I say several daily prayers to St. Joseph, which I have done most days for almost 4 years.
After the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no greater creature than St. Joseph. As Blessed Pius IX put it in Inclytum Patriarcham, "The Catholic Church rightly honors with a very full cultus and venerates with a feeling of deep reverence the illustrious patriarch blessed Joseph, now crowned with glory and honor in heaven. On earth, Almighty God, in preference to all His saints, willed him to be the chaste and true spouse of the Immaculate Virgin Mary as well as the putative father of His only-begotten Son. He indeed enriched him and filled him to overflowing with entirely unique graces, enabling him to execute more faithfully the duties of so sublime a state." It was this great Pope that also declared St. Joseph to be the Patron of the Catholic Church.
Blessed Pius IX's successor, Pope Leo XIII, devoted an entire encyclical to the devotion to St. Joseph. In it, he stated, "[I]t is of high importance that the devotion to St. Joseph should engraft itself upon the daily pious practices of Catholics, We desire that the Christian people should be urged to it above all by Our words and authority."
Let us follow Pope Leo's desire, and recommend ourselves and all of our needs to St. Joseph, who "has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, [and] in every undertaking" (St. Thomas Aquinas).
Virginum custos et pater, sancte Joseph, cujus fideli custodiae ipsa Innocentia Christus Jesus et Virgo virginum Maria commisa fuit; te per hoc utrumque carissimum pignus Jesum et Mariam obsecro et obtestor, ut me, ab omni immunditia praeservatum, mente incontaminata, puro corde et casto corpore Jesu et Mariae semper facias castissime famulari. Amen.
St. Joseph, father and guardian of virgins, into whose faithful keeping were entrusted Innocency itself, Christ Jesus, abd Mary, the Virgin of Virgins, I pray and beseech thee through Jesus and Mary, those pledges to dear to thee, to keep me from all uncleanness, and to grant that my mind may be untained, my heart pure, and my body chaste; help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity. Amen
[Taken from the Raccolta, 1957 edition, No. 473]