Today is the Feast Day of St Joseph: earthly guardian of Our Lord, spouse of His Blessed Mother, Mary, and Patron of the Universal Church.
He is claimed as the Patron Saint of families, fathers, expectant mothers, explorers and travellers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, all working people – and of course craftsmen, especially carpenters! The saint is often depicted with the tools of the carpenter’s trade and holding a lily, a flower representative of purity and chastity and a symbol of the Blessed Virgin. He is also sometimes shown cradling two doves in his hand, representing his care and protection of Jesus and Mary.
At this time of pandemic, St Joseph is an especial comfort to those who are dying or have lost loved ones, as he is also the Patron Saint of a ‘happy death’: that is, those who receive and accept God’s Grace at the moment of their death.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church – and on December 8, 2020 to mark the 150th Anniversary of that proclamation, Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Letter Patris corde and declared this to be a Year of Saint Joseph.
The next issue of our Diocese of Leeds Annual Review will be published in Advent 2021 and will take for its theme St Joseph and the many virtues and attributes associated with him: care for the family, welcome of strangers, and craftsman’s skill. It’s never too early to send your stories and photographs from the parishes, charities and schools which together make up our Diocesan Family to firstname.lastname@example.org – and this year, photographs are being sought of all images – statues, pictures, carvings and stained glass – from our diocesan churches and schools which depict St Joseph either on his own or part of the Holy Family.
For our younger children interested in music and singing – and indeed for anyone who didn’t know quite how many hymns and songs are dedicated to St Joseph! – the Choral Directors of our Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme have put together an excellent YouTube video teaching some musical devotions for the Year of St Joseph:
Wishing a very blessed Patronal Feast Day – and Year! – to all who are named for St Joseph and to the many churches and schools across the Diocese which are dedicated to him.
St Joseph, Pray for Us.