St. Joseph

The chief sources of information on the life of St. Joseph are the first chapters of the gospels of Matthew and Luke; they are practically also the only reliable sources. Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, Yosef; Greek: Ἰωσήφ, Ioseph) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of Mary, and is venerated Saint Joseph.

Feast Days: March 19 and May 1 - St Joseph the Worker.

The Bible pays Joseph the highest compliment: he was a “just” man. The quality meant a lot more than faithfulness in paying debts. By saying Joseph was “just,” the Bible means that he was one who was completely open to all that God wanted to do for him. He became holy by opening himself totally to God. When the Bible speaks of God “justifying” someone, it means that God, the all-holy or “righteous” One, so transforms a person that the individual shares somehow in God’s own holiness.

When Mary came to be with child, his confusion and resolve to "put her away privately" in order to spare her any public humiliation were done away with when an angel of the Lord visited him in a dream and explained things to him:

Matthew 1:20-24
But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.

After Jesus was born, an angel again appeared to St. Joseph and told him to take the Holy Family away in order to escape the wrath of Herod.

Matthew 2:13-15
And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.

After time in Egypt, an angel came twice more to St. Joseph:

Matthew 2:19-23
But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child. Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene.

The next -- and last -- time we hear of St. Joseph in Sacred Scripture is when Jesus was "lost" in the Temple:

Luke 2:42-52
And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.

Tradition tells us that he had the great honor to have died in the presence of Our Lady and his Son, which fact makes him the patron of a holy death. Because during his life he was given the great responsibility of caring for and protecting the Virgin -- who is the Mother of all Israel -- and her Son, St. Joseph is considered the patron and protector of the entire Church.

St. Joseph is symbolized by carpenters' tools and the lily, and is usually represented in art holding the Baby Jesus. He is the patron of the Church, the dying, a holy death (because it is believed he died in the company of Our Lord and Lady), happy family life, married people, carpenters, workers, and the fight against Communism.