In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St. Joseph.” It is a wonderful opportunity to increase our love for St. Joseph and knowledge, “to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal” (Patris Corde).
Scripture does not record one word spoken by St. Joseph but calls him a “righteous man.” God chose him to raise the Child Jesus. Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters, fathers (including foster fathers and adoptive fathers), and travelers.
Saint Joseph occupies a special place among the cloud of witnesses in heaven. In the Collect (opening prayer) for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19, the Church recalls how he watched over the beginnings of the mysteries of human salvation in the life of Christ. Christ wills to repeat those very same mysteries in our lives. In us, Christ wills to be born, to die, to rise, and to ascend to the Father’s right hand. Saint Joseph, who faithfully cared for the beginnings of these mysteries, faithfully cares for us as these mysteries are perpetuated in our hearts, homes, and communities.
The USCCB has composed this novena to be prayed yearly on March 10-18, the nine days that precede the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19. The novena may also be adapted for use at other times of the year, especially feasts celebrating Saint Joseph and occasions when his intercession is sought by the faithful.
“Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”