While the year of St. Joseph has drawn to a close, we are days away from the feast of this holy patriarch! The feast of March 19th, gives us the perfect opportunity to consider building devotion to St. Joseph in the family. While there are many traditions and personal devotions to the foster-father of Jesus, we've outline 5 ways you can make St. Joseph a natural part of your family dynamic.
5 Ways to Build Devotion to St. Joseph in the Family:
Prayer to St. Joseph:
We can go to St. Joseph with all our family intentions. Finding a moment each day or week when the family can pray this prayer to St. Joseph can be a good way to begin entrusting things to his care.
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your 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 kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
As once you 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 your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
St. Joseph's Table:
This tradition, which found its origins in Sicily in the Middle Ages, involves a table filled with bread and other meat-less dishes of the Lenten season. While the tradition began in people's homes, today many parishes throughout the world will celebrate with their parishioners. The table has a threefold purpose: to venerate St. Joseph, to bring people together, and to provide for the needy.
The food on St. Joseph's Table holds a lot of significance. The table, which is usually three-tired to represent the Holy Trinity, includes breads that are shaped in a variety of Christian symbols - crosses, St. Joseph's staff, a crown of thorns, St. Joseph's beard, a heart, etc...Additionally, you might find thick soups made of lentils, olives, figs, as well as pasta with bread crumbs.
Within the family you can create your own St. Joseph's Table tradition. This could include baking bread together, making dishes to share with the poor, or inviting friends to partake in the celebratory dinner with you.
Sleeping St. Joseph:
This simple but beautiful tradition was recently made popular by Pope Francis. Members of the family can write down their requests then slip them under a statue of a sleeping St. Joseph, entrusting these intentions to his care. This harkens back to the multiple times mentioned in the Bible in which God communicated with St. Joseph through his dreams while sleeping.
Recite the Litany of St. Joseph:
A lesser known litany, at least compared to that of the Litany of Loreto, this short prayer can be a really helpful way to remember all the things St. Joseph does for us.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us (after each line) Saint Joseph, Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster-father of the Son of God, Diligent protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent, Joseph most strong, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful, Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of artisans, Glory of home life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, Terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
He made him the lord of His house: And ruler of all His substance.
Let us pray. O God, who in Thine unspeakable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thine own most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we reverence as our defender on earth: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
7 Sundays of St. Joseph:
Traditionally celebrated during the Seven Sundays that proceed his feast day on March 19th. This Catholic tradition takes time to reflect on the 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. Joseph. You can find reflections/meditations for these days in Scepter Publisher's In Conversation with God or Midwest Theological Foundation's Daily Roman Missal.
JOSEPH’S SEVEN SORROWS
1. The doubt of St. Joseph
2. The poverty of Jesus’ birth
3. The Circumcision
4. The prophecy of Simeon
5. The flight into Egypt
6. The return from Egypt
7. The loss of the Child Jesus
JOSEPH’S SEVEN JOYS
1. The message of the Angel
2. The birth of the Savior
3. The Holy Name of Jesus
4. The effects of the Redemption
5. The overthrow of the idols of Egypt
6. Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth
7. The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple