Facts about St. Joseph Novena
Feastday: March 19th
Novena Starts: March 10th
Patron saint of husbands and fathers, the Universal Church, unborn children, immigrants, workers, employment, explorers, pilgrims, travellers, carpenters, realtors, against doubt and hesitation, and of a happy death
Birth: 1st century BC
Death: 1st century AD
The Life of St. Joseph
We first encounter Joseph in the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. Each lists a genealogy of Jesus from King David, one from the royal line of Solomon, the other through Nathan, who was a son of David and Bathsheba.
In St. Matthew’s gospel, Joseph obeys the angel and takes Mary as his wife, then after Jesus is born in Bethlehem, Joseph again follows the angel’s directions to him to take the family to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath (the slaughter of the Holy Innocents).
When the Holy Family enter Egypt, the pagan statues of their gods crumble and fall, but no one in Egypt knows that it is because this humble family, which contains the true God, has entered their area.
Some years later, Herod dies, and the angel once again tells Joseph they can return, this time to Nazareth. In St. Matthew’s gospel, the people of Nazareth call Jesus “the carpenter’s son.” The translation could indicate some other type of manual worker of a skilled artisan trade, but traditionally he was known as a carpenter. The early Church Fathers (including St. Justin Martyr) confirm that Jesus was a carpenter, who made yokes and ploughs for oxen.
When Jesus is 12 years old, and the Holy Family has visited the Temple in Jerusalem for Passover, Joseph and Mary discover Jesus talking to the teachers of the Law, and answering their questions. This is of course the fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple.
The Happy Death of St. Joseph
Catholic Tradition tells us that Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, before Jesus began His public ministry.
Reason supports this Tradition in the following two ways: first, had Joseph been alive during Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion, the heroic saint would fought like a lion to rescue his beloved foster-son. God in His wisdom knew that this would not serve the divine purposes, and so instead He made St. Joseph patron of the dying, because he had the happiest death in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Second, when Jesus is on the Cross, He gives His mother into the protection and care of the Apostle John, something that never would have happened if Joseph had still been alive. (Nor, by extension, if Mary and Joseph had had biological children; this is thus evidence also that the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus mentioned in the Bible are in fact cousins and other more distant relations.)
How St. Joseph Met the Virgin Mary
We can glean more on St. Joseph’s life through the witness of private revelation, given to various saints and mystics over the centuries. One common story among them is that, the Virgin Mary had been consecrated to God in the Temple from an early age, but it was shown that she should marry, so all the eligible male descendants of David were gathered together for the selection.
Joseph was holding a dead branch, standing in the back of the gathering, not deigning to consider himself worthy to be the husband of so virtuous and beautiful a young woman. Mary and the priests were awaiting God to show forth His selection, when the branch in Joseph’s hand miraculously blossomed with white lilies.
Joseph and Mary, both having consecrated themselves to God earlier in their lives, remained virgins throughout their marriage, thus demonstrating both the vocation of marriage and that of consecrated virginity for the Kingdom. (Protestants are thus in grave error when they, misinterpreting the Scriptures, claim that Joseph and Mary had marital relations and biological children who were brothers and sisters to Jesus.)
St. Joseph in the Church
In 1962, Pope St. John XXIII added St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass, right after that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in 2013, Pope Francis added St. Joseph to the three other Eucharistic Prayers.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX named St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church. Pope Pius XII changed this feast to that of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1st.
Pius XII chose this date to combat the same date chosen by Marxist labor movements, demonstrating that St. Joseph, as patron of workers, is the true model of the dignity of human work.
The novena to St. Joseph can be prayed for finding employment, selling your house, finding your spouse, for purity, or for any other need that you have. You can pray it for 9 days or make it a 30 day novena to St. Joseph, either is good.
Novena to St. Joseph
Intro Prayer (to be said each day)
Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants.
Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death. Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:
(Mention your request).
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
Daily Novena Prayers
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of His Divine Son. As a token of your own gratitude to God for this your greatest privilege, obtain for me the grace of a very devoted love for Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior. Help me to serve Him with some of the self-sacrificing love and devotion which you had while on this earth with Him. Grant that through your intercession with Jesus, your foster-Son, I may reach the degree of holiness God has destined for me, and save my soul.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the virginal husband of Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus with all my heart, as you did, and love Mary with some of the tenderness and loyalty with which you loved her.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for having made you the man specially chosen by Him. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to imitate your virtues so that I too may be pleasing to the Heart of God. Help me to give myself entirely to His service and to the accomplishment of His Holy Will, that one day I may reach heaven and be eternally united to God as you are.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God’s faithful servant. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were. Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father; to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul. Bless the priests, the religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God’s love and faithfulness in His service. Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies. Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world — the glory of God and the salvation of souls!
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of living in the Holy Family and being its head. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain God’s blessing upon my own family. Make our home the kingdom of Jesus and Mary — a kingdom of peace, of joy, and love.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to suffer for Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to bear my suffering patiently for love of Jesus and Mary. Grant that I may unite the sufferings, works and disappointments of life with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass, and share like you in Mary’s spirit of sacrifice.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death. May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God’s Holy Will, and die, as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!
Concluding Prayer for each day
Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen.
More Resources on St. Joseph
The Cord of St. Joseph, for Purity
For men struggling to overcome lust, I recommend a little known sacramental called the Cord of St. Joseph.
The Cord is a simple rope with knots in it that you wear around your waist, hidden under your clothes. You have it blessed by a priest with a certain prayer, and each day you say a prayer that St. Joseph obtains the graces you need.
I ordered the Cord from here, and it had the prayers with it.
Private Revelation on St. Joseph
Multiple books exist describing St. Joseph and Our Lady’s life. I recommend The Life of St. Joseph by Maria Cecilia Baij (can be hard to find or expensive), or The Life of the Mother of God by Mary of Agreda.
Remember that, we as Catholics are not bound to believe in any private revelation, but the above two books have the endorsement of bishops of the Church, that they do not contradict the truths of the Faith.
Burying a Statue of St. Joseph to Sell Your House
Some people bury a statue of St. Joseph to sell their house. This practice can be superstitious, which is a sin that runs contrary to the Catholic Faith.
Instead, you are much better served to faithfully, with trust in God, pray the novena to St. Joseph to sell your house. God rewards such faith, but superstition, where one tries to manipulate God or the saints to do what you want, is never rewarded.