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St Joseph

Saint Joseph

St. Joseph was the spouse of Mary, and foster-father of Jesus. He is thought to have been born at Bethlehem, but when first mentioned in the Gospels is already living in Nazareth. St Joseph was a carpenter by trade, and it may well have been that there was more carpentering work available in Nazareth than Bethlelem.

It was quite a shock for Joseph to find out that his betrothed was with child, and at first he decided to "put her away privately". But in a dream he was told by an angel, "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 Joseph, rising from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife."(Mt 1:19,20,24)

Joseph must have been extremely distressed that he could find no accommodation for Mary on the night that Christ was born, save a disused shelter for animals outside Bethlehem.

Then soon he was told by an angel to take Mary and the child and flee to Egypt, which he did immediately.

His date of death is not known accurately, however it is believed that it was certainly before Christ's death on the Cross, otherwise Christ would not have entrusted His mother's care to St John.

Honour is shown by the Church to St Joseph, as he was chosen by God to be the foster-father of God's only begotten son.

His feast day of March 19 was granted by Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484), and in 1726, Pope Benedict XIII inserted his name into the Litany of Saints.

Several other Popes have honoured him in different ways, and in 1870 Pope Pius IX solemnly declared the Carpenter of Nazareth, St Joseph, to be Patron of the Catholic Church.

A second feastday, celebrated on May 1st. was given for "St Joseph the Worker".

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