As spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, guardian of Christ and head of the Holy Family, St. Joseph is among heaven’s most powerful protectors and intercessors. How will you grow in your devotion to him? Below are some ideas:
There are liturgical traditions to remind us to reflect on the virtues of and pray for the intercession of St. Joseph at various intervals during the week and year. Find more information on the Traditions page here.
Centuries ago, a severe famine in Sicily caused considerable suffering and starvation. The farmers turned in prayer to St. Joseph, protector of the family, for help. The famine soon ended and, in gratitude, the farmers honored St. Joseph by covering an altar with their most prized possession: food.
St. Joseph altars evolved into family open houses on the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19), offered in gratitude for special prayers that have been answered, as a petition for favors, and to celebrate with family and loved ones. Today, most tables are prepared by ‘church families’ led by those with Italian heritage, and proceeds from the Table are given to the poor and needy. More on the history and symbolism of this tradition, plus ways to celebrate here.
Titles & Patronages of St. Joseph
St. Joseph the Worker, Foster Father of Jesus, Patron of the Dying, Splendor of Patriarchs, Glory of Home Life…there are many titles and patronages that call to mind the life and virtues of the saint. Learn more about them here.
A variety of prayers to St. Joseph exist—find out about them here.
What is an indulgence? How can I receive the special indulgences granted by the Holy See for the Year of St. Joseph? Find out here.
St. Joseph’s Seven Sundays Devotion (Seven Sorrows & Seven Joys Devotion)
The Seven Sundays devotion is a tradition of the Church leading up to the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19 (though it can be prayed at any time). The devotion honors a series of events in the life of St. Joseph—seven sorrows and seven joys—and is observed by praying/reflecting on these and receiving Holy Communion in his honor on seven consecutive Sundays. It is a prayerful opportunity to ‘help us find out what God is telling us through the simple life of Mary’s husband” (St. Josemaria Escriva).
PDF: Seven Sundays Devotion composed by Ven. Januarius Sarnelli, C.S.S.R. (d. 1744)
The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph
St. Joseph is known as ‘the just man’—ordering his life and passions in obedience to God to a level of singular virtue. The task of guarding and guiding the Son of God and His Virgin Mother requires both remarkable human virtue and God’s grace.
While the tradition regarding St. Joseph’s age varies, at the heart of the issue is his virtue which allowed him to guide and protect Mary and Jesus with a strong, pure love. Devotion to the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph asks for the saint’s intercession for purity of heart and body.
The Cord of St. Joseph
This devotion began in the mid-twentieth century after the miraculous healing of an Augustinian nun, attributed to her wearing around her waist a seven-knotted white cord blessed in St. Joseph’s honor. It is associated with many special graces, not only as a remedy against physical ailments but also for purity and a happy, holy death. More information on this devotion.
The Chaplet of St. Joseph is a prayerful reflection on his life as head of the Holy Family. The chaplet contains fifteen groups of four beads (one white—symbolizing St. Joseph’s purity, three blue or purple—representing his piety) for meditating on the traditional fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Consecration to St. Joseph acknowledges him as your spiritual father and that you want to imitate him. It is a formal act of trusting oneself to his paternal care, so he can help you acquire his virtues and help lead you to God. More information about consecration to St. Joseph can be found on the Consecration to St. Joseph website, sponsored by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.
Two popular books for preparing for consecration are “Consecration to St. Joseph” by Fr. Donald Calloway and “Concentration to Jesus through St. Joseph” by Dr. Gregory Bottaro and Jennifer Settle.
Dates to begin preparing for consecration to St. Joseph on feasts of or associated with St. Joseph are listed on the Events page.
The ‘Joseph Rosary’
Though he speaks nary a word in the Gospels, St. Joseph is quietly present in the life events of Jesus and Mary meditated upon in the Rosary. One devotion recommended by St. Louis de Montfort and Popes John Paul II and Paul VI is to include words or phrases after the first half of each Hail Mary, to continually call to mind the mystery being prayed—this practice can also be applied to contemplate St. Joseph’s role and virtues shown in the Mysteries. More on this devotion on The Gregorian Institute website.
Sleeping St. Joseph Devotion
From the Gospels, we know the Lord spoke to St. Joseph through his dreams and he arose to act on God’s will. One increasingly popular devotional practice is to place written prayer intentions under a statue of St. Joseph sleeping, letting them rest in his intercession that God speaks clearly to us on what we are to do. Read the Address in which Pope Francis mentions his practice of this devotion here.