Accomplished carpenter. Loving husband. Devoted foster father of Jesus. Although his humble means of work didn’t make him a wealthy man, St. Joseph was incredibly prosperous.
Joseph was born of royal lineage. As a descendant of David, the great king of Israel, he is referred to in the bible as the “Son of David,” a noble title that was also used for Jesus. The bible tells very little of Joseph – not one recorded spoken word – but we know from his actions that he was a noble and loving man.
By the work of his hands, Joseph used skill to support his Holy Family. Working dutifully and honestly to sustain the gifts that were bestowed upon him, Joseph opened himself fully to God. Because of his quiet faith and courage – his dedication to all that God wanted of him – St. Joseph is named the Patron Saint of Workers.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with Child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”
Matthew 1: 18-21, 24
Joseph was an honorable man. When he found that Mary was with child, he decided to leave her quietly, so to spare her from public torment. However, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him to tell him the truth about Mary’s child, he married her without question. He obeyed God in every way.
Treating Jesus as his own, Joseph was concerned over Jesus’ safety and taught the Child to follow in his footsteps as a carpenter, instilling in Him the lessons of patience and nobility.
In his obedience to God, Joseph guided Mary and Jesus to Egypt and then led them to settle in Nazareth, a testament to his trust and bravery. He recognized the gift that God gave to him – the trust of protecting God’s greatest treasures. It is believed that Joseph passed away with his family by his side before Jesus entered into public ministry.
We celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st. The day was first recognized by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to give all laborers a protector and model. St. Joseph inspires laborers to do the work that has been asked of them in order to be rewarded for their efforts. St. Joseph – poor in material possessions but rich in grace – is the perfect model of Christianity through his purity of heart and his fortitude.
Facts About St. Joseph the Worker
Also known as: Joseph the Betrothed
Feast of St. Joseph the Worker: May 1st
Died: 1st century, prior to the Passion and of natural causes. It is believed by some that Joseph passed away with Mary and Jesus by his side, before Jesus entered into public ministry.
Patron Saint of: Carpenters, doubt, dying, engineers, happy deaths, married couples, pioneers, workers
In Praise of St. Joseph
Joseph, patron saint of workers, blending skill with charity, silent carpenter, we praise you! Joining work with honesty, you taught Christ with joy to labor, sharing His nobility. Joseph, close to Christ and Mary, lived with them in poverty, shared with them their home and labor, worked with noble dignity. May we seek God’s will as you did, leader of His family! Joseph, inspiration for workers, man of faith and charity, make us honest, humble, faithful, strong with Christ’s true liberty, make our labor and our leisure fruitful to eternity!