Our Patron Saint

SAINT JOSEPH

“Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man…”  - Matthew 1

Patron saint of the Universal Church, fathers, carpenters, social justice and a happy death.

Joseph knew how important Jesus was to the world, but it is presumed he didn’t have a chance to witness Jesus’ ministry. Many scholars believe Joseph probably dies before Jesus’ public life began. It is presumed that surely he died with Jesus and Mary by his side; hence, he is recognized as the patron of happy deaths. In 1870, Joseph was proclaimed the patron of the Universal Church.

The principal feast day of Saint Joseph is March 19, Saint Joseph's Day (for Joseph the Husband of Mary). Among Biblical saints, the veneration of Saint Joseph came very late to the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX declared him patron of the universal Church, and Pope John XXIII added his name to the Mass canon.

Saint Joseph's Day always falls during Lent, and Saint Joseph's Day altars and feasts have no meat. However, since the feast day is classed as a solemnity, the requirement of abstinence from meat is technically abrogated, according to Canon Law, even if it falls on a Friday. If the feast day falls on a Sunday, the previous Saturday (March 18) is observed instead, and if it falls during Holy Week or Easter week, it is moved to the Monday after Low Sunday, or eight days after Easter (prior to 1970 the Tuesday after Low Sunday was used as the alternate date).

In Spain, the day is a version of Father's Day. In some parts of Spain it is celebrated as Falles. In Sicily and many Italian American communities thanks are given to Saint Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation, and is a traditional part of St. Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a Saint Joseph's Day custom. In New Orleans, Louisiana, in addition to the above traditions, some groups of Mardi Gras Indians stage their last procession of the season, after which their costumes will be dismantled.