Saint Joseph, Protector of Families

Reflection By Renee Dee
Director of Religious Education, Our Lady of the Cape

Like so many fathers and father figures, Joseph guided, taught, led, accepted, shared, and protected his family. Documents as early as 800 A.D. chronicle some of the earliest devotionals to Saint Joseph, as Nutritor Domini, educator and guardian of the Lord. Over twelve hundred years later, my first-grade class celebrated Father’s Day on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, by inviting their own fathers to share lunch, sing, dance, and be honored as the protectors of their own families.  

In celebrating St. Joseph, the Protector of Families, students and fathers discovered that although little is written about Joseph, much is inferred with his place among the Holy Family. Statues and student-created depictions of the Holy Family adorned our St. Joseph’s Day celebration. The songs sung were topical (and sometimes silly), as we shared the joy children feel for their dads. Most importantly, we learned that Jesus called Joseph “father.”  

St. Joseph has always been a great and respected saintly figure in my life, hence the numerous St. Joseph statues accessorizing bookshelves in my home. The fact that my mother’s name was Josephine and both grandfathers were named Joseph may have been a contributing factor to my adoration. The names Giuseppe and Giuseppa (Joseph & Josephine in Italian) line the branches of my family tree, yet the genealogy of a family tree offers more than names and dates. All family trees tell the unique story of a family’s lineage, including Joseph’s. 

Joseph’s role in the Holy Family fostered his development into a father we glorify — one who accepts and supports while offering protection and safe harbor. Today, all of us, fathers, father figures, teachers, friends, even first graders, must implore Joseph’s attributes as Protector of Families by accepting others, providing for others, protecting others, and teaching along the way. No matter what branch of the family tree we sit upon, every relationship can be positively impacted by St. Joseph. As we invite St. Joseph in our hearts and homes through this Consecration, may we experience his fatherly protection and help.

Consecration to St. Joseph ~ Prayers for Week Two

Prayer to St. Joseph from Patris corde

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you, God entrusted his only Son;
In you, Mary placed her trust;
With you, Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us, too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Patris corde, December 8, 2020

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

God our Father in 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. *recite after each invocation

Saint Joseph,

Noble son of the House of David,

Light of patriarchs,

Husband of the Mother of God,

Guardian of the Virgin,

Foster father of the Son of God,

Faithful guardian of Christ,

Head of the Holy Family,

Joseph, chaste and just,

Joseph, prudent and brave,

Joseph, obedient and loyal,

Pattern of patience,

Lover of poverty,

Model of workers,

Example to parents,

Guardian of virgins,

Pillar of family life,

Comfort of the troubled,

Hope of the sick,

Patron of the dying,

Terror of evil spirits,

Protector of the Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

God made him master of his household,
And put him in charge of all that he owned.

Let us pray.

O God, who in your inexpressible providence were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as spouse of the most holy Mother of your Son, grant, we pray, that we, who revere him as our protector on earth, may be worthy of his heavenly intercession.
Through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

[During the Year of Saint Joseph: This litany is ordinarily enriched with a partial indulgence (Manual of Indulgences, conc. 22). During the Year of Saint Joseph, however—which lasts from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021—the use of the Litany of Saint Joseph has been included among other prayers to St. Joseph enriched with a plenary indulgence (see Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary issued Dec. 8, 2020, section E), which may be earned once a day subject to the usual conditions: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and a total detachment to all sin, including venial sin. Source: USCCB]

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