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.