8 little-known facts about the life and legacy of Saint Joseph

Jasjot Singh

On March 19 of each year, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and adoptive father of Christ, a saint much loved and venerated by the saints, pontiffs and by many faithful around the world.

Pope Francis has expressed his deep devotion and admiration for the saint since the beginning of his career as Vicar of Christ; and he has encouraged Catholics to also follow his example and ask for his intercession for humanity, especially in recent years.

At the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, the Holy Father said that “in the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and brave man, a worker, but in his soul a great tenderness is perceived, which is not the virtue of the weak, but more quite the opposite”.

In addition, on December 8, 2020, Pope Francis convened the Year of Saint Joseph to celebrate 150 years of his declaration as patron saint of the universal Church; and he published his apostolic letter Patris corde (Father’s Heart), in which he called on Catholics to imitate the virtues of Saint Joseph and deepen their devotion to him.

On November 17, 2021, the Holy Father called to go to San José to ask for help, comfort and guidance to overcome the “global crisis” that the world is suffering today. Similarly, on March 16, 2022, Pope Francis encouraged us to unite to ask the Patron of the Universal Church to be an “intercessor for peace that the world so badly needs.”

Today we present you 8 facts that you may not have known about San José:

1.- There are no words of Saint Joseph in the Holy Scriptures

He protected the Immaculate Mother of God and helped raise the Lord of the Universe. However, there is no citation of him in the Gospels. Rather, he was a quiet and humble servant of God who played his role fully.

2.- Saint Joseph is very little mentioned in the New Testament

Saint Joseph is mentioned in Matthew, Luke, once in John (someone calls Jesus “the son of Joseph”) and that’s it. He is not mentioned in Mark or in the rest of the New Testament.

3.- His departure from the story of the Gospels is not explained in the Bible

He is an important figure in the accounts of the Nativity of the Lord in Matthew and Luke, and is included in the passages that recount the moment when Jesus was lost at age 12 and was found in the temple. But that’s the last we hear from him.

Mary appears several times during Jesus’ ministry, but Joseph left without a trace. So what happened to her? Various traditions explain this difference by saying that Joseph died around Jesus’ 20th birthday.

4.- Was Saint Joseph a widower and an old man?

Scripture does not tell us how old Saint Joseph was when he married Mary or about his previous life. However, for a long time he was represented as an elderly man, apparently based on a text from the so-called protoevangelium of Santiago, an apocryphal gospel from which it follows that Saint Joseph would have been previously married, had children from that marriage and was left a widower. .

According to that tradition, Saint Joseph knew that Mary had taken a vow of virginity and was chosen to marry her to protect her, since he was old and would not be interested in having a new family. This idea was refuted throughout history by great saints such as Saint Augustine.

5.- The veneration of Saint Joseph dates back to at least the 9th century

One of the first titles they used to honor him was “nutritor Domini”, which means “guardian of the Lord”.

6.- San José has two festivals

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph is March 19 and the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (International Labor Day) is May 1. It is also included in the Feast of the Holy Family (December 30) and is undoubtedly part of the Christmas story.

7.- San José has multiple patronages

He is the patron of the Universal Church, good death, families, parents, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, artisans, engineers and workers. He is also the patron saint of the Americas, Canada, China, Croatia, Mexico, Korea, Austria, Belgium, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

8.- The theological study of the saint originated the ‘Josephology’

Among the subdisciplines of theology, Christology and Mariology are known; but, did you know that there is also Josephology?

Saint Joseph has been a figure of theological interest for centuries. However, starting in the 20th century, some people began to collect the Church’s opinions about it and turned it into a sub-discipline.

In the 1950s, three centers dedicated to the study of Saint Joseph were opened: in Spain, Italy and Canada.

Translated and adapted by Diego López Marina. Originally posted on ChurchPOP.

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