19 March: Solemnity of Saint Joseph. The Church celebrates two feast days for Saint Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker. March 19 has been the more commonly celebrated feast; it wasn’t until 1955 that Pope Pius XII established the Feast of “St. Joseph the Worker” on May 1 (this is also “May Day” – International Workers’ Day). Saint Joseph is well known as the head of the Holy Family. He is silent in scripture, yet, spoken words are not needed for us to understand what a godly man Joseph was. Here is what Pope Benedict XVI says of Joseph’s silence: “The silence of Saint Joseph is given a special emphasis. His silence is steeped in contemplation of the mystery of God in an attitude of total availability to divine desires. It is a silence thanks to which Joseph, in unison with Mary, watches over the Word of God, known through the Sacred Scriptures, continuously comparing it with the events of the life of Jesus; a silence woven of constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of the adoration of His holy will and of unreserved entrustment to his providence. It is no exaggeration to think that it was precisely from his “father” Joseph that Jesus learned… Let us allow ourselves to be “filled” with Saint Joseph’s silence! In a world that is often too noisy, that encourages neither recollection nor listening to God’s voice.”
Saint Joseph is the guardian and patron of the Universal Church, as well as of many causes including workers, fathers, and a happy death, due to the tradition that he died in Jesus and Mary’s arms.
“Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church.”– POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II
Ideas for celebrating in your home:
- It is traditional to wear red for St. Joseph’s feast day. Set the table with red cloths or candles, too! Decorate your table with tools and a sprinkle of sawdust (tip: breadcrumbs look like sawdust!). Place white lilies in your home to remember St. Joseph’s purity.
- Click here to see how to make a “St Joseph Altar” with all the traditional foods. Or, simply serve up sloppy Joe sandwiches as a fun way to remember Beloved Saint Joseph!
- Traditional St. Joseph’s day foods include breads shaped in cross and staff form, figs, olives, dates, artichokes, fruits, salads, and sweets of all kinds especially donuts, cream puffs, biscotti and Italian cookies. For the main meal you could serve traditional fish and “St. Joseph’s Sawdust”: toasted bread crumbs over pasta, representing sawdust from St. Joseph’s workshop. Here’s a recipe.
- Children can do a craft building/making something out of wood (twigs, popsicle stick, etc) to remember Joseph’s work as a carpenter.
- In Italy and Spain, Father’s Day is celebrated annually on St. Joseph’s Day. Whatever older man in your life has guided you, deepened your faith, or helped you — whether it’s a biological father, adoptive father, foster father, grandfather, father-in-law or good priest: St. Joseph’s Day is a perfect day to honor them! Send a card; give them a call; deliver a dinner; or, offer a Mass in their honor.
- Give your worries to Joseph so you can get some rest: It is said that St. Joseph, the “Terror of Demons,” even frightens demons in his sleep, such is his power and strength! Ask St. Joseph, who communicates with God even in his dreams, to pray for you and take your worries away!
- Participate in the 33-day consecration to St. Joseph
- Pray the rosary with your family, reciting the Year of St. Joseph prayer at the end
- 2021 has been named the “Year of Saint Joseph” – take advantage of the Year of St. Joseph indulgences granted by the Holy See
- Saint Joseph’s life is a model of Christian virtue. Perhaps we honor him best when we imitate his virtues (visit this website for insight into all of Joseph’s virtues).
- Bishop Guglielmone has granted a dispensation the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 19, in celebration of the Feast of St. Joseph that day. Let us commemorate and celebrate the mighty and faithful defender of the Church on his feast day during this proclaimed Year of St. Joseph.