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Monday, March 17, 2014

Feast of St. Joseph

St. Stephen will offer High Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30pm.

St. Joseph is a popular figure in Christian art.

Marriage of the Virgin, Bernart van Orley

Adoration of the Magi, Fra Angelico and Fra Frilippo Lippi

Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, by George Ferguson, gives the following entry for St. Joseph.
St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, was a carpenter of Nazareth. He frequently appears in paintings of the life of Christ, particularly in those of the birth of Jesus and in the other infancy narratives.
He is frequently shown with a budded staff in his hand. This refers to the legend that, when the Virgin Mary was fourteen years old, each of her suitors left her suitors left his staff at the temple, hoping for a sign to indicate which of them was most favored by God. In the morning, Joseph's staff was budding into leaf, and from it came a dove that flew up to Heaven. Other attributes of St. Joseph are a carpenter's plane, saw, and hatchet, and the lily, symbol of his purity. Often, in scenes of the Presentation, he carries two doves in a basket.

St. Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church.

And he is the patron of the dying.

St. Alphonsis Liguori reminds us:
Since we all must die, we should cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death. All Christians regard him as the advocate of the dying who had honored him during their life, and they do so for three reasons: First, because Jesus Christ loved him not only as a friend, but as a father, and on this account his mediation is far more efficacious than that of any other Saint. Second, because St. Joseph has obtained special power against the evil spirits, who tempt us with redoubled vigor at the hour of death. Third, the assistance given St. Joseph at his death by Jesus and Mary obtained for him the right to secure a holy and peaceful death for his servants. Hence, if they invoke him at the hour of death he will not only help them, but he will also obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary. 
A traditional devotion during Lent is to meditate upon the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven, hell. Holy Mother Church encourages us to think of death, and as St. Joseph is the patron of a happy death, perhaps we should invoke him often.

Believed to be an ancient prayer to St. Joseph:
 O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

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