Tag Archives: St. Joseph

My Favorite St. Joseph Story

I've posted this story before on my own blog, so it may be something you've already read. It describes one of those experiences that sometimes comes our way — a chance meeting which we might never have had if we'd been just a few minutes earlier or later, but something that ends up changing the course of everything in our lives. Perhaps I should say that these things seem like chance, but it's all part of God's wonderful plan for us. Here's the story.

I was a young Episcopal cleric just returned to Rhode Island from a stint of serving in the Anglican Diocese of Bristol, England. The parish I had come to was middle-to-high: vestments, occasional incense, a few statues strategically placed.

There was a parishioner who wanted us to have a new statue of St. Joseph. The old statue was small and not in terribly good shape. I was deputized to find a new one, but there were a couple of requirements. It had to be two feet tall and it had to be cheap. The only solution was to go to a local religious goods store and look for something that might look half-way acceptable if the lights were dim.

I found one. It wasn’t beautiful, but it didn’t look as though it had been dragged behind a truck either. “Wrap it up and I’ll take it,” I told the clerk. “Sorry, sir, but this is the last one and we don’t have a box for it,” was the reply. A dilemma. I was driving a Volkswagen, and the back seat was already fairly full with a child’s car seat and other assorted items. The only option I could see was to stand it up in the passenger’s seat and strap the seat belt around it, which I did.

I was just closing the passenger door. St. Joseph was safely strapped in, facing ram-rod straight ahead. I heard a voice behind me. “You might want to let him drive.” I turned around to see a young priest about my age, with a grin on his face. We exchanged quips about the statue with the seat belt, and then began to chat about other things. We quickly discovered that my Episcopal parish and his Catholic parish were located fairly close to one another. We seemed to click, we made lunch plans, and one of the most important friendships of my life began.

We got together regularly to talk. It didn’t take long for our discussions to turn into question and answer sessions – me asking the questions, and him giving the answers. I wanted to know about the Catholic faith. And he told me. He was always gentle in his answers, but he never watered down the truth. Even if the issue was a difficult one, he always told me what the Church teaches. I was grateful for that. I would have resented it if I had discovered that he was tailoring what he said to make it fit what he might have thought I wanted to hear. I learned Catholic truth, and when it was presented to me in its fullness and in its beauty, I knew I had to embrace it. I believed it completely.

How grateful I always have been to St. Joseph. Without saying a word, he helped bring me into the Catholic Church by introducing me to a faithful Catholic priest. The statue may not have been very beautiful, but everything else in the story is.

Our parish has a St. Joseph Shrine, which is the partial fulfillment of a promise I made to the gentle Spouse of the Blessed Virgin and Foster-father of our Lord. The full promise is that we will have a dedicated Chapel in his honor. That will come, but meanwhile my gratitude for the prayers and guidance of St. Joseph are pretty-near boundless, and I've followed the advice given to me by the wonderful priest who befriended me, "You might want to let him drive."

Pictures Fr. Phillips 2703 768x1024 My Favorite St. Joseph Story

St. Joseph Shrine, Our Lady of the Atonement Church

* * *

Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!

Hymns for St. Joseph's Day

St. Joseph’s Day will be celebrated on March 19th, and in case you’d like some hymns for the occasion, here are two which are set to tunes that are very familiar to most of us. Feel free to use them if you’d like to. And remember the Holy Father in a special way — it's his name day.

Holy Joseph, Intercessor,
Unto thee God’s children sing;
Be our Patron and Protector,
To God’s throne our praises bring.

Faithful Spouse of faithful Virgin,
Lover of God’s purity;
From thy worthy place in heaven,
Pray that we may faithful be.

Guardian of the Word Incarnate,
Silent guide of God’s own Son;
Guard our hearts and lead us onward
To the life that Christ has won.

Humble man in lofty station,
God has shed His grace on thee;
Pray such grace to us be given,
That we live eternally.

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1991
Music: "Stuttgart" adapted by C. F. Witt, 1715

* * *

Blesséd Joseph, Guardian mild,
Who didst love the Holy Child,
Show thy love to us who pray,
Shield us from all harm this day:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us close to Christ our Lord.

Great Saint Joseph, Patron bold
Of the Church from days of old,
Give us courage strong and new,
To proclaim God’s Gospel true:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us close to Christ our Lord.

He whom thou didst guide in youth,
We receive in very truth;
In this Sacrament of love,
We are one with thee above:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us one with Christ our Lord!

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips 1992
Tune: “Bread of Heaven” by William D. Maclagan, 1875

* * *

Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!

Speaker of the House Disgracefully Invokes St. Joseph

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D – CA), today invoked the name of St. Joseph, suggesting that the foster-father and guardian of the Incarnate Word was a supporter of the Democrats' health care takeover bill!  She also claims the support of modernist religious orders and has the gall to call the measure "life affirming legislation"!

0 Speaker of the House Disgracefully Invokes St. Joseph

She also claims that March 19 is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.  She can't even get this much right!  Today is the Feast of St. Joseph under the titles of Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church.  The feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which was established by Venerable Pope Pius XII in 1955, is celebrated on May 1!

* * *

Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!

St. Joseph, Spouse of the BVM and Patron of the Universal Church

This prayer to St. Joseph was composed by Pope Leo XIII and prescribed after the recitation of the Rosary during October (cf. Quamquam Pluries, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, August 15, 1889).

* * *

St Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni c 1635 St. Joseph, Spouse of the BVM and Patron of the Universal ChurchTo thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also.  Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.  Amen.

* * *

Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!

The Word of God Was Humbly Subject to Joseph

On December 8, 1870, The Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the decree, Quemadmodum Deus, which announced the decision of Blessed Pope Pius IX to declare St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Patron of the Universal Church" and to raise the dignity of his feast day (March 19) to the liturgical rank of double of the first class.

As almighty God appointed Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, over all the land of Egypt to save grain for the people, so when the fullness of time had come and He was about to send to earth His only-begotten Son, the Savior of the world, He chose another Joseph, of whom the first had been the type, and He made him the lord and chief of His household and possessions, the guardian of His choicest treasures.

Indeed, he had as his spouse the Immaculate Virgin Mary, of whom was born by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord, who deigned to be reputed in the sight of men as the son of Joseph, and was subject to him.

Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection, and kissed. He most diligently reared Him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life.

Because of this sublime dignity which God conferred on his most faithful servant, the Church has always most highly honored and praised blessed Joseph next to his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, and has besought his intercession in times of trouble.

And now therefore, when in these most troublesome times the Church is beset by enemies on every side, and is weighed down by calamities so heavy that ungodly men assert that the gates of hell have at length prevailed against her, the venerable prelates of the whole Catholic world have presented to the Sovereign Pontiff their own petitions and those of the faithful committed to their charge, praying that he would deign to constitute St. Joseph Patron of the Church. And this time their prayer and desire was renewed by them even more earnestly at the Sacred Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.

Accordingly, it has now pleased our Most Holy Sovereign, Pope Pius IX, in order to entrust himself and all the faithful to the Patriarch St. Joseph’s most powerful patronage, has chosen to comply with the prelates’ desire and has solemnly declared him Patron of the Catholic Church.

He has also ordered that his feast on March 19th by henceforth celebrated as a double of the first class, without any Octave, however, because of Lent. He arranged, moreover, that a declaration to this effect be promulgated through the present decree of The Sacred Congregation of Rites on this day sacred to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the most chaste Joseph’s Spouse. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

On August 15, 1889, the encyclical letter "Quamquam Pluries" of Pope Leo XIII was promulgated.  In this letter, Leo XIII explored the rationale behind his predecessor's declaration.

The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory. In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures. For marriage is the most intimate of all unions which from its essence imparts a community of gifts between those that by it are joined together. Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men. Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents. From this two-fold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties. He set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing; he guarded from death the Child threatened by a monarch's jealousy, and found for Him a refuge; in the miseries of the journey and in the bitternesses of exile he was ever the companion, the assistance, and the upholder of the Virgin and of Jesus. Now the divine house which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father, contained within its limits the scarce-born Church. From the same fact that the most holy Virgin is the mother of Jesus Christ is she the mother of all Christians whom she bore on Mount Calvary amid the supreme throes of the Redemption; Jesus Christ is, in a manner, the firstborn of Christians, who by the adoption and Redemption are his brothers. And for such reasons the Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust — this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

* * *

Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!