Go to Joseph!


Thousands of years before Saint Joseph was born, the Book of Genesis recounts the story of the youngest son of Jacob  – also named Joseph – who was sold into slavery to Egypt by his jealous brothers. After he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, he was released from slavery and prison and put in charge of preparations for the seven-year famine the dreams had predicted. When hunger did indeed fill the world, Egypt alone had food because of Joseph’s hard work and preparation. People who came to Egypt for supplies were told by Pharaoh, “Go to Joseph!” Genesis 41:55.

The Old Testament Joseph prefigures the earthly foster father of Jesus. For every need of the Holy Family, Saint Joseph was provider and protector.

Prayer to Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph, we venerate you as the model of laborers, the friend of the poor, the consoler of the afflicted and those forced to leave their own land, the saint that seeks to the provide for the needs and necessities of families. On earth you represented the universal goodness of the heavenly Father. Help us in our needs and beseech Jesus and Mary for the health, well being and growth in faith needed to be united to Jesus, Our Lord.

Assist us in all our labors; in our intellectual, moral and material work. For all nations obtain legislation inspired by the Gospel, the spirit of Christian charity, a way of governing in accord with justice and peace. Amen.


Saint Joseph and the Beatitudes

Let us reflect and pray over the Beatitudes and meditate on how Saint Joseph practiced these virtues in his life with the Holy Family at Nazareth and in his workshop.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who are mourning, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Saint Joseph, help me to use the things of this world with heaven in view. May I trust that God will be with me in all the events of my life, the joyful ones as well as the ones that may bring me sorrow. May I remember that humility is important. That I am God’s servant here on earth and that I am here to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world and to be forever happy with God for all eternity. May I conduct all my affairs with honesty and integrity and believe that God will provide for me the virtues that I need to accomplish his will. Let me have a heart that extends itself with mercy towards others as I would wish to be forgiven let me forgive. Keep my gaze fixed on the Lord, and continually live in his divine presence. May I always keep my eyes fixed on his will and work for my heavenly reward, that of seeing God face to face. When I hear of things about others, may I always be ready to defend their cause as I would wish to be defended. If I am unable to defend them, let me pray, at least, for their good. And when my faith is, at times, questioned, may I be able to answer with the conviction that I believe all that the Church teaches and want to be faithful to Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

St Joseph and Vocal Prayer


Vocal prayer was an important part of the lives of the people of God at the time of Jesus’ life on earth and still is today. We pray vocal prayers in our families when we say morning and evening prayers together and when we pray before and after meals.

In the scriptures  we read the the psalms. These psalms formed the daily prayer of the Hebrews; they formed the social prayer with which God was honored in the great Temple of Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph were faithful in going up to Jerusalem each year for the festival of the Passover;  one of the times they went up was for the presentation of Jesus in the temple. On another occasion we read that Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph were searching for him and found him in the temple. (We know that that journey was long, around 64 miles. The distance was far and traveling was rough.) How solemn and beautiful it was to see the people going up to Jerusalem, singing and chanting the verses of the psalms in alternating choirs as they approached the Holy City. Thus, as the people on one hill sang a verse, those on another would answer with the following verse, so that the whole valley of Cedron rang with the praises of God.

How the Holy Family must have prayed there in Jerusalem at the temple, in their own local synagogue and at home!

Here is a psalm of praise regarding Israel’s exodus and journey to the promised land. Can we too take on the fervor of the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph when we pray to God at Holy Mass, receive the sacraments, pray the Liturgy of the Hours and pray as a family at home or in our parishes. Here is a psalm of thanksgiving that the Holy Family must have prayed regarding the passage into the promised land. We can hear the reverence in this psalm.

Psalm 114

God’s Wonders at the Exodus

When Israel went out from Egypt,
    the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;
    Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
    the hills like lambs.

Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
    O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
    O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
    the flint into a spring of water.


Vocal prayer is very pleasing to God. In the New Testament there are many beautiful examples of such prayers:  In the gospel of Luke, Mary’s Magnificat Luke 1:46-56; Zachariah’s Benedictus Luke 1: 68-79;  Simeon’s  “Now you may dismiss your servant, O Lord” Luke 2: 29-32, which are most reverent vocal prayers prayed by the people of God to this day.

Though there are no recorded words of St. Joseph in the bible, we know that he was appointed by God to be the guardian of the holy family and the head of the household. Jesus as God-Man learned his prayers and piety from Joseph and Mary.

St. Joseph, on earth you represented the universal goodness and concern of the heavenly Father. By divine will, your mission was associated to Mary’s. You were the guardian of the Holy Family, the carpenter of Nazareth and work-teacher to the Son of God, who became a humble laborer for us. Your faith made you adore in Jesus the Incarnate Son of God, while he obeyed you, served you and listened to you. You held pleasant conversations with him (which is what our prayer can be), shared work, great sufferings and most tender consolations. Obtain for us the grace to be pleasing to Jesus especially in our prayer life and to give greater attention to what we are praying and to be faithful in our prayer. Amen.

Saint Joseph and Prayer

Joseph 18How can I pray when I have so many worries and preoccupations.  Prayer is speaking with God about ones soul, ones desires and ones life. It is also intercessory prayer when we pray for others. In prayer we place ourselves before God… Who am I? and Who is God?  Jesus invites us to speak to him in prayer away from all noise: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt. 6:6).

There is continuous prayer throughout the day that is possible before starting a task, going from one place to another, before making a decision. One simply talks to Jesus as a friend who knows all our needs and wants to hear from us during the day. It is a heartfelt prayer whispered in the silence of our heart

St. Joseph was a carpenter. There were tasks to be done and orders to be filled. Yes, he is the foster father of Jesus and was able to work with him in his carpenter shop. Our Lord, Jesus when he was leaving the Apostles and disciples on the day of his ascension into heaven told us, “I will be with you until the end of the ages”.  Now in this our day and age we are able to speak to him and have the same kinds of conversations with Jesus as Joseph and Mary had.

Therefore, true piety is loving. It does not consist in many words but rather in a prayer that is heartfelt, a prayer full of love. The soul that loves the Lord is not rhetorical in its prayer, but with simplicity and affection runs to him in every need, or asks for enlightenment, implores forgiveness, asks him for consolation, consoles Jesus and tells him of ones love for him.

Can we imagine the conversations St. Joseph had with Jesus?  “The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds…” (Sirach 35:17).

Let us remember to pray the prayer that Jesus himself taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this daily our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen (Mt 6:7-9).

To St Joseph: A Father’s Prayer for His Children

Saint Joseph, you were the foster father of Jesus and taught the Son of God everything from virtues to woodworking to how to pray. You protected him from harm, found him when he was lost, and provided for him as he grew up. Teach me how to be a good father. Show me how to practice and teach my children the virtues of faith, hope and love, courage, obedience, and love for the poor. As they grow up and choose their direction in life, lead me in giving them good advice. Let my children see me praying, and give me the courage and confidence to pray with them. Protect my children from harm as you once protected Jesus from the threats of Herod. Help me keep a job so that I can provide for them and teach them the value of honest work and trust in providence. Saint Joseph, patron of fathers, pray for me. Amen.

St Joseph Intercede For Me

Joseph 12

St. Joseph close to Jesus’ heart ask Jesus for the graces that I need. All those graces which are necessary for my spiritual and material well-being and that of others. For myself I ask the following spiritual graces: the fundamental virtues of the Christian life, the virtues of faith, hope and charity; the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance; and all the other virtues which would lead me to holiness, to the glory of heaven.

For my needs and for those of my loved ones and all who have asked for my prayers, I ask for good health, the means for doing good and all that is necessary for daily living.     I ask your heavenly Father in your name, Jesus, and through the intercessory prayers of St. Joseph, to bless the innocence of children and of youth, to give strength to those who work and are retired, comfort for the aged awaiting heaven, hope for those who are near death, and relief for the souls in purgatory.  I believe what Jesus has told us, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and you will” (Mk. 11:24); “Ask, and it will be given you” (Mt. 7:7). Amen


St. Joseph and Adoration

Joseph 22

Adoration is the supreme worship given to God.

To adore means:

a) to recognize God as the supreme Good, infinite in all his perfections: “God is the most perfect being”;  b) to recognize God as supreme Lord, author of all: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn. 1:1);  c) to recognize God as the ultimate end: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rv. 22:13). God is the truth, in fact, he is supreme truth. “God is light, and in him is no darkness” (1Jn. 1:5); the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever: (Psalm 117:2); “I am the truth”(Jn. 14:6).

Can you imagine the heart of St. Joseph in his humble adoration of the supreme majesty. Familiar with the prophets and the patriarchs and the words of the psalms and the proverbs his heart was in continual prayer. God saw the humility of this his servant and called him to be the guardian of the blessed virgin Mary and his only begotten Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O most High, To declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, To the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre, for you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Psalm. 92:1-5).

St. Joseph, may my prayer rise like incense before God. May my heart’s desires be pleasing to him. Amen

St. Joseph’s Faith

Let St. Joseph Help You (1)

At times when you feel that you lack a certain faith remember this. Faith is the greatest good. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Ones faith can be strengthened through prayer and the reading the word of God.  “…whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

St. Joseph, I believe you had great faith. This was the foundation of your holiness. You served God faithfully. You meditated on sacred things, considering them as most necessary, useful, perfect and refreshing to the spirit. I believe that ones soul does not live on bread alone, but on the truth which comes from the mouth of God.

St. Joseph pray for me that I may hunger and thirst for divine wisdom, the true food for my soul. Amen

St. Joseph and the Unknown


After Joseph had, on the angel’s word, taken Mary to be his wife, he too had to lean continuously into the unknown. Guardian of the Son of God and Mary, he stood a sentinel at the stable’s door, in wonderment at a Babe that looked like every other newborn, yet was heralded by angels, or so the visiting shepherds said. Exiled to Egypt, he left without word and without a trace in order to protect the Child at the command given in a dream. Years later he returned to Nazareth and settled into quiet years of mentoring the Savior of the world. The anxiety that may have accompanied the “not knowing,” and the initial attempts to put together bits of information in order to make sense of the mysterious unfolding of events, were reconciled at last only when Saint Joseph tasted the powerful love of his God who was walking with him even through situations that seemed so senseless.   

Sr. Kathryn James, Daughters of St. Paul