Saint Joseph of Nazareth

Saint Joseph was Jesus' foster father. He was a carpenter who helped to bring up Jesus, and was a widower before he was betrothed to Mary.

Feast Day: 19 March

Saying yes to Jesus

Saint Joseph was Jesus’ foster father. He was a carpenter and working man who helped to bring up Jesus. In early church tradition, Joseph was a widower at the start of St. Matthew’s gospel, when he was betrothed to Mary.

When it turned out that Mary was pregnant outside of marriage, instead of having her stoned, which many would have seen as the right thing to do back then, he decided to end the betrothal quietly as this would prevent Mary’s execution. Before he did this though he received a vision in which an angel revealed the truth of the matter and to accept Mary into his household anyway. This shows both a huge amount of love and care but also a strong dedication to God and following his will.

A good father

Saint Joseph accepted and supported her and her son, not caring how this would affect his reputation, but ensuring they all would have a secure and loving household to live in. In taking on this vocation many would mock and look down on him, plus he would have to give up sex and dedicate his life to bringing up a child who wasn’t even his.

Joseph also clearly loved Jesus very much. On hearing of the danger from Herod, it’s clear his only concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return he settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for Jesus’ life. Later, when Jesus stayed in the Temple, Joseph searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48).

We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son as Jesus was often called “the son of Joseph” (Lk 4:22), something which, if Joseph had only grudgingly accepted Jesus as someone to care for would not have been the case.

Why Saint Joseph is important to me

A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community

Ever since I went to a primary school named after him I’ve always loved St. Joseph. He’s patron saint of carpentry and as this was my favourite subject at school he became one of my favourite saints.

That said, I only really grew to understand and love him fully after coming back to my faith in sixth form. Through his example, and that of my own father, I came to truly understand what it meant to be a man of faith and a good husband.

St. Joseph worked hard to provide and care for his adopted family. He treated his wife with love and honour, willing to go through any shame and chastity to ensure she was cared for and protected. He fostered a child to give it the best start it could have in life. He risked everything for the safety of those he loved and he helped to teach his adopted child how to live a life in service to others. As a guy, I feel these are all traits I should emulate in order to life a happy and full life and, God willing, marriage.


Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires.

Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me.