St. Joseph, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

WSt. Josephe know very little about St. Joseph from Scripture, but scholars have been trying to find out about this gentle man for many years. One evidence of the high esteem the Church paid to St. Joseph is a prayer to him written about the year 50 AD, just seventeen years after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. It is found in many places and was released in 1950. Bishop Hugh Boyle of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania gave an Imprimatur to it. The text of the prayer is:

Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, so that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. Amen.

The format may seem stilted to many, but the fact that Joseph was honored that soon after the resurrection is impressive. You may wish to use short prayers addressed to St. Joseph referring to his many roles:

Joseph, Teacher of the child Jesus, pray for us teachers

Joseph, Guardian of the child Jesus, pray for fathers

Joseph, Foster father of Jesus, pray for adoptive and foster parents

Joseph, Patron of the Church, pray for us and leaders of the Church

Joseph, Patron of a happy death, pray for me

There is no rule about praying. Each of us does it in her/his own way. Review the times in the bible that mention Joseph or that indicate his presence. For example, the flight into Egypt may trigger a prayer for travelers.

A teacher who had been teaching her class about St. Joseph and short prayers to say to him asked her students what their favorite prayer to St. Joseph was. Her pupils answered with the usual ones something like those above. One little girl answered that her favorite prayer to St. Joseph was “Sweet Heart of Mary, pray for us.”  Her teacher told her that was a lovely prayer, but it was to Mary. “No,” replied the child. “Mary was Jesus mother, and Joseph was his father, so Joseph was Mary’s Sweetheart.

You might use her prayer when you pray to Joseph this month.

Peace to you, the peace that only God can give,

Sharonlu, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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