Saint Joseph

Statue of Saint Joseph in our church

Our parish saint is Saint Joseph of Nazareth. His feast day is 19th March and his name, which is Hebrew, means “God has added”. Unfortunately, it is not clear from the chronicle of our parish why Saint Joseph was chosen as parish saint.

In illustrations, we often experience Saint Joseph as a craftsman, foster father of Jesus or attentive listening man. Symbols for Saint Joseph are the lily (at the right hand side of our church door), a flourishing stick or a goniometer. It is written on banner “Saint Joseph hears and sets forth”; words putting him in perspective. These words reflect the scarce information given in the Gospels about Mary’s husband and Jesus’ guardian appointed as by the Lord.

Saint Joseph in the New Testament (reference: see below)
Joseph was a carpenter, a working man, for the sceptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, „Is this not the carpenter’s son?“ (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for, when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified, he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed, the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as „son of David“; a royal title used also for Jesus.
Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his, but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25). When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited patiently in Egypt until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23). When Jesus stayed in the Temple, Joseph (along with Mary) searched for him with great anxiety for three days (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son. Over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, „Is this not the son of Joseph?“ (Luke 4:22)
No word from Joseph is mentioned and he does not appear in Jesus‘ public life. Joseph is not mentioned as being present at the Wedding at Cana at the beginning of Jesus‘ mission, nor at the Passion at the end. If he had been present at the Crucifixion, he would, under Jewish custom, have been expected to take charge of Jesus‘ body, but this role is instead performed by Joseph of Arimathea.

19th March, Saint Joseph’s Day, has been the principal feast day of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity since the 10th century, and is celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and other denominations.

For further information on Saint Joseph, please visit (e.g.):
Catholic Online
Wikipedia

 

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