The holy day of Lord Jesus’ foster father and our parish’s heavenly patron here in Martinsville, Va.
When St. Joseph breathed his last and died, with Jesus at his bedside, was that on March 19? Maybe not, since some ancient books say that Joseph died in July.
When St. Joseph heard the pleas of the starving people of Sicily a thousand years ago, and the saint’s intercession with God won a miraculous rainfall for the island—did the rains come on March 19? Maybe.
Regardless of how this particular day became St. Joseph’s Day, it is Fathers’ Day. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Bolivia, Honduras, Liechtenstein, and Andorra.
Baby Jesus did not spring from St. Joseph’s loins. But St. Joseph did save Jesus from Herod’s slaughter; did protect and care for Jesus’ mother; did teach Jesus how to speak, pray, work, and: how to follow the Law of Moses; how to ride a donkey and navigate the road of Palestine; how to show respect for others, how to live a steady life, how to walk uprightly before God.
Our dear Protestant brothers and sisters suspect us Catholics of some kind of funny business when we lavish our prayers and devotion on St. Joseph. After all, Holy Scripture does not record a single word that the man said. But let’s remember:
During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labor. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God… Jesus was obedient to his parents and he increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 531)
God Incarnate was famous for three years of His earthly pilgrimage. He was not famous for the other thirty. How could anyone claim to know Him, without rejoicing in the mystery of His “Hidden-ness” during all that time?
When Bl. Pope Paul VI visited Nazareth in 1964, he said:
The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus–the school of the Gospel. A lesson of silence. A lesson on family life. A lesson of work.