Feast Day!

lilyOne of the conversations from my period of instruction* before I became a Catholic went somewhat as follows. Fr McCarthy informed me that my name was not that of a saint and that I needed a patron saint for my baptism. Thomas sounds like your name, he said. What about him as a patron saint?

Somehow I piped up, “I want to be Joseph.”

I have no idea what prompted that. Maybe it was a who, the Holy Spirit. At any rate, as the years have passed, that patron saint has come to a deeper place in my life. On my baptismal day, the Queenship of Mary is observed. So the Holy Family has held a certain place of reverence in my devotional life. I suppose I’m fortunate to have three patronal feast days: today, May 1st, and the Sunday after Christmas. If I stretched the point, I could also claim the Annunciation, as an angel also appeared to Joseph to announce the coming Son of God. This icon is one of my favorites.

Jesus and Mary’s Joseph was not the only dreamer. There was the patriarch, too. Talking (and singing) a lot got him into trouble with family and others. His descendant is known for being a man of listening, of obedience, and not many words. None, if we take only the Gospels.

Between the two men, perhaps there is a middle way: dreaming and listening and doing. Not much talking.

This is a Joseph-and-child icon I have had for many years. I like the image of the younger man rather than the classical depictions of Joseph as elderly. What’s that about? It’s not like Mary would have been tempted, right? She was the one without sin.

Over the years, I have called upon the intercession of Saint Joseph as a father and husband. I applaud the man’s inclusion in the Eucharistic Prayers. The more reminders for me, I think, the better.

* This was 1970, before RCIA was promulgated. The parish pastor met with my sister and me in four sessions before our baptismal day.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Feast Day!

  1. Liam says:

    55th anniversary of my baptism today.

    Will bring a beloved elderly former neighbor of mine some zeppole tomorrow after Mass…. She’s Avellinese parentage, not Sicilian, and not familiar with the fantastic Tavola di S Giuseppe traditions of Sicilians.

    Devotion to St Joseph is a relatively late development; it seems he was treated with some awkwardness in popular piety.

    The Eastern tradition seems to largely draw on the Father St Epiphanius of Salamis, who probably drew on apocrypha: it’s the tradition of the older widower with (grown) children, dying at the age of 90 – he’s the small, old troubled man in the corner of Nativity icons. St Jerome rejected this in favor of the younger, virginal (hence the lily bough) St Joseph that we are more familiar with in the Western tradition – even so, devotion to his intercession was not universal and deep until recent centuries.

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