Liturgy of the Hours

Monday, March 17, 2008

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In honor of him, who is the foster father of the Son of God
and patron and protector of His Holy Church:

Almighty and ever-living God,
who led Saint Joseph from one place to another by night,
with no light save that which burned within him,
grant us, we beseech you,
a share in his spirit of trusting obedience,
that accompanied by him in all our journeys,
it may be given us to take comfort in the nearness of your Christ
and of his Virgin Mother,
and to pass, at length, through the mystery of the Cross
into the brightness of the Resurrection.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
(Source: Vultus Christi)

From The Black Biretta:

This year the Solemnity of Saint Joseph was moved from Wednesday, March 19th to Saturday, March 15th, since it fell on Holy Week. While that may not have bothered some people, those of Italian (especially Sicilians) heritage still had our St. Joseph tables (La Tovala di San Giuseppe)
loaded with Sfinge and Zeppole (cream puffs filled with either custard or sweetened ricotta). When this feast is not pre-empted by Holy Week, it is a Solemnity which means that Canon Law dispenses all Catholics from fast and abstinence if this feast falls on a Friday in Lent. This is because Saint Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church.

Sadly, San Giuseppe has fallen on hard times. First of all, although the 1983 Code lists March 19th as a Holyday of Obligation (Can. 1246), the national conferences of bishops around got Rome to dispense them or commute the precept. Hence, only in Vatican City is it a day of obligation. Second, most Americans are more familiar with March 17th, the Feast of Saint Patrick, due to the wave of Irish immigrants in the late 19th century. Yet, the spouse of Our Lady has been neglected time and time again. His statues are missing in many churches; his litany is rarely recited anymore. Pope John Paul the Great (of hapy memory) wrote an eloquent encyclical Redemptoris Custos in 1989, but it is not as well read as is Redemptor Hominis or Redemptoris Mater.

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