Go to Joseph.
Those are the words painted above the St. Joseph altar at Our Lady Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish, the historically Italian parish in Indy. Fittingly enough, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Sicily, where my Italian roots stem from.
His feast, March 19, is a major feast of the Church, though it is often overshadowed by St. Patrick’s day, which is the 17th. In fact, because St. Joseph’s feast day is a solemnity, the obligation to abstain from meat is lifted, in order to allow people to fully celebrate his feast!
In the homily heard recently, Joseph of the old testament was shown as a forerunner of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. In Genesis, Joseph, as a result of a dream, has encouraged Egypt to gather grain together because a famine is coming. Pharoh says to all of the people to come to him for food, “Go to Joseph, what he says to you, do.” (Genesis 41:55)
In this story, Joseph is the person you go to when you are in trouble. Joseph later sustains his brothers and their families during the famine, keeping the tribes of Israel alive. Joseph sustains and protects the Hebrew people.
St. Joseph, in a similar way, was spoken to by God through dreams. God’s angel told Joseph in a dream that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit, and God told Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt to save the life of the infant Jesus. St. Joseph was the protector of the holy family; he was the one who sustained the earthly needs of God incarnate and his Blessed Mother.
St. Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, and the protector of all Christians. While the Hebrews “went to Joseph” to obtain the grain they needed to survive the famine, we “go to Joseph” when we need special intercession before God.
I am in the midst of praying a nine-day novena to St. Joseph, which will finish on his feast this Friday. The St. Joseph novena is known for being one of the most powerful. I know in the days I have been praying it with Atticus, I have felt a much stronger devotion to this man, with his quiet strength, unwavering character, and self-less giving.
Here is the link to the novena, if anyone is interested in praying it.
I’ll end with these thoughts from the Holy Father about the Church’s protector, St. Joseph.
“St. Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood. It is precisely in this way that, as the Church’s Liturgy teaches, he “cooperated in the fullness of time in the great mystery of salvation” and is truly a “minister of salvation.”(21) His fatherhood is expressed concretely “in his having made his life a service, a sacrifice to the mystery of the Incarnation and to the redemptive mission connected with it; in having used the legal authority which was his over the Holy Family in order to make a total gift of self, of his life and work; in having turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of self, an oblation of his heart and all his abilities into love placed at the service of the Messiah growing up in his house.”
– Pope John Paul II Redemptoris Custos