St. Joseph, spouse of Mary and foster father of Jesus, was chosen by God to be the trustworthy protector of the holy family. His manner of living, teaching and working bore uniquely upon the upbringing of the Christ child. This icon emphasizes St. Joseph’s parental responsibility and strength. The child Jesus looks askance at a world full of obstacles. The background suggests a few of the difficulties ahead. Beginning in the lower left at the cave in Bethlehem the holy family crossed hot desert terrain and the Red Sea as they fled Herod’s wrath. The background to the right implies the return to Nazareth.
Though a humble carpenter St. Joseph was aided in his responsibilities by several important angelic messages. He is not mentioned in descriptions of Jesus’ public ministry. It is generally accepted that he died sometime after the finding of Jesus in the temple. St. Joseph is often depicted holding a lily to symbolize his virtue and holiness.
Veneration of St. Joseph is widespread. The largest shrine in his honor is Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada. He was declared Patron of the Universal Church in 1870, ranks in honor with Mary, is named protector of workers and patron of social justice. His feasts are March 19th and May 1st.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque.)
Prayer to St. Joseph
Blessed Joseph, husband of Mary,
be with us this day.
You protected and cherished the Virgin;
loving the child Jesus as your son,
you rescued him from the danger of death.
Defend the Church, the household of God,
purchased by the blood of Christ.
Guardian of the Holy Family,
be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us
the strength to flee from error
and wrestle with the powers of corruption
so that in life we may grow in holiness
and in death rejoice in the crown of victory. Amen.
(This prayer is printed on the back of Prayer Cards only.)
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