By Kathy Bolano, Communications Intern
Saint Joseph’s Day is celebrated among Christians in remembrance of the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the stepfather to Jesus Christ. He was declared the Patron of Universal Church by Pope Pius IX because of his role as protector of the Holy Family.
Saint Joseph was betrothed to Mary at the time of Immaculate Conception, when the Virgin Mary conceived the baby Jesus through the Holy Spirit. He was visited by angels in his dream who told him to trust Mary and that she was not unfaithful to him. Dutifully, Joseph took Mary as his wife and raised Jesus as his own. He was visited two other times by angels in his dreams. The first was to flee to Egypt in order to escape the massacre of children by King Herod, and again when it was safe to return to Israel after Herod’s death. Joseph is thought to have died before Jesus went into public ministry since there is no mention of him after the story of Jesus’s passover visit to the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old. He is thought to have died in the presence of Jesus and Mary in Catholic traditions and is considered the patron saint of a happy death.
Today St. Joseph’s day is celebrated as Father’s Day in some predominately Catholic countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy. Since this feast day falls during Lent, is celebrated with meatless meals. St. Joseph plays an important role in Sicily. He is given thanks for bringing rain during a drought in the middle ages and preventing famine. In some communities, they wear red, much like the tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, and it is tradition to give food to the needy.
The Niagara Foundation is glad to share the story of St. Joseph and celebrate with the Christian community.