Decree Proclaiming St. Joseph Patron of the Catholic Church

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Decree Proclaiming St. Joseph Patron of the Catholic Church

To the City and World:–Just as God had made Joseph, born of the Patriarch Jacob, governor over the whole land of Egypt that he might save the grain for the people, so also, when the fullness of time being near, he was to send His only begotten Son to this earth that he might be the Saviour of the world, he chose another Joseph, of whom the former was only a. figure, and inade him the master and ruler of His house and His possessions, and appointed him the keeper of His most precious treasury. For his Spouse was the Immaculate Virgin Mary, from whom by the Holy Ghost is born Jesus Christ our Lord, who deigned to be held by men, as the son of Joseph, to whom also He was subject. Whom kings and prophets desired to see, Joseph did not only see but conversed with Him and with fatherly affection embraced and kissed Him; with skillful care he nourished Him whom the faithful people, in order to obtain life everlasting, were to eat as their bread came down from heaven. On account of the sublime dignity, which God has bestowed on his most faithful servant, the Church has always after his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, offered special honour and praise to Bl. Joseph and implored his intercession in all her anxieties. In the present very sad times, the Church, persecuted on all sides by her enemies, is oppressed by terrible calamities that godless men try to believe the gates of hell will, at last, prevail against her.

Hence the venerable bishops of this whole Catholic World have presented to the Supreme Pontiff their own petitions and those of the faithful entrusted to their charge praying that he would appoint St. Joseph the Patron of the Catholic Church.–Later, when at the holy Ecumenical Council of the Vatican the same petitions and requests were urged with new vigor, our Holy Father and Pope Pius IX, moved by the recent mournful state of affairs, agreed to comply with the wishes of the Bishops, and to place himself and the faithful under the most powerful patronage of the holy Patriarch Joseph, therefore, solemnly proclaimed him Patron of the Catholic j Church, and ordained that his feast, on Mar. 19th should be celebrated in future with the rank of a double of the first class, though without octave on account of Lent. He also commanded that this proclamation should be made public by this present decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites on the day dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and Spouse of the chaste Joseph. Everything to the contrary notwithstanding. On the 8th Dec., 1870.

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St. Joseph

St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin

Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph, the Spouse of Mary, the Foster-Father of the Son of God, that comes to cheer us by his dear presence. In a few days hence, the august mystery of the Incarnation will demand our fervent adorations: who, after the Angel of the Annunciation, could better prepare us for the grand Feast, than he that was both the confidant and faithful guardian of the divine secret?

The Son of God, when about to descend upon this earth to assume our human nature, would have a Mother; this Mother could not be other than the purest of Virgins, and her divine Maternity was not to impair her incomparable Virginity. Until such time as the Son of Mary were recognized as the Son of God, his Mother’s honour had need of a protector: some man, therefore, was to be called to the high honour of being Mary’s Spouse. This privileged mortal was Joseph, the chastest of men.

Heaven designated him as being the only one worthy of such a treasure: the rod he held in his hand, in the Temple, suddenly produced a flower, as though it were a literal fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaias: There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root (Is. xi. 1.). The rich pretenders to an alliance with Mary were set aside; and Joseph was espoused to the Virgin of the House of David, by a union which surpassed in love and purity everything the Angels themselves had ever witnessed. Continue reading