Every March 19, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a day when the gloria is sung in Mass even though it's the Lenten season. Saint Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, and also of husbands, fathers, and families. He has a place of honor among our saints because of his important role in the life of our savior. He is a model of Christian love and obedience, and of good fatherhood. In the Gospels, there is not one recorded word from him. Whenever God has something for him to do, he obeys with all his heart, and he fulfills it in silence.
Saint Joseph is also invoked as patron saint of workers and of a happy and peaceful death. This is because, according to tradition, when he reached the end of his earthly life, Saint Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary. What better way is there to go, right?
On August 15, 1889, Pope Leo XIII (yes, that same pope who granted the University of Santo Tomas the title Pontifical) published an encyclical entitled, Quamquam Pluries, about the devotion to Saint Joseph. The holy father extolled all Christians to also increase their trust in and invocation of the spouse of the Virgin Mary.
At the end of the encyclical, Pope Leo XIII urged Christians everywhere to habitually say this prayer, preferably at the end of the Holy Rosary:
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
Pope Leo intended this prayer to be said during the month of the Rosary (October), and even granted partial indulgence for every time it is said. But there is nothing to prevent us from saying this prayer everyday, right?
The present Enchiridion of Indulgences states the grant of partial indulgence every time the prayer is said.
Saint Joseph is definitely a model of Christian fatherhood. Just as he protected the Holy Family from all things that endangered them, so let us ask his help in the preservation of the family and of marriages, which are under attack in our day and age. Through the intercession of Saint Joseph, may God grant husbands the grace to love their wives, to remain faithful to their sacramental covenant, to love and care for their children as they promised to the Lord, and to become obedient servants of God. May those whose families are suffering from their vice, infidelity, or cruelty find refuge in the help of Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus.
Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican Group
Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomás
España Boulevard, Manila 1015 Philippines