On the 19th of March we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph. Joseph is the patron saint of many things but is more commonly recognised as the patron and protector of the Catholic Church.
Joseph lived in Nazareth, which Isaiah prophesised 600 years before it even existed, that the Messiah would come from the town of Nazareth. “A shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit”. Branch, Netzer in Hebrew, the same root word of Nazareth.
We actually don’t know a whole lot about Joseph from reading the Bible. We do know that he was a carpenter, he is a descendant of King David, he was compassionate and respectful. Something that many do not realise is he didn’t seem to appear in Jesus’ key life events, including his death and resurrection, so we can assume he may have died before Jesus even began his public ministries. Not only is there little information about him in the bible, but there are also no quotes from him either. Not even in Matthew 1:20 Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son.
Symbols often portrayed with Joseph include a carpenter’s square and a lily. The square connecting him to his trade, and the lily symbolising purity and his celibate marriage with Mary.
Pope Pius XII established Saint Joseph’s feast day saying “The Spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Saviour of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work.”