St. Joseph and His Oratory

The Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is celebrated on March 19.

From Scripture we know that the great virtue of St. Joseph was his obedient faith. “He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife.” Mt 1:24. He did this in spite of the fact that Mary’s pregnancy was apparently visible to everyone. He took her in the mystery of her motherhood and acted in obedient faith, as did Mary when she said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Lk 1:38. “Blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed.” Jn 20:29.

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “The obedience of faith must be given to God as He reveals Himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals and willingly assenting to the revelation given by Him.” St. Joseph is the model of this obedient faith.

He obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary as his wife in marriage and virginity in a communion of love with God and each other.

As the foster father of Jesus, St. Joseph showed Him all the natural love and affection of a father’s heart. He placed his life at the service of God in total self-giving for our Savior who grew up in his house. And Jesus grew “in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Lk 2:52.

On his part, Jesus “was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51) and thereby sanctified His daily work with St. Joseph. Work was the daily expression of love in the Holy Family. Work, which was a consequence of Original Sin (see Gn 3:17-20), was now redeemed by Jesus who labored at the workbench with St. Joseph. Work is a human good that transforms nature and makes man in a sense, more human.

Pope Paul VI said, “St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies; he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things – it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic.

Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph to be the “Patron of the Catholic Church”. We place our confidence in his protection because he will protect the Church family just as he protected the Holy Family.

Pope John Paul II prayed, “May St. Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ’s saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate . . . .”

St. Joseph’s Oratory is located on Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. It has the second largest dome in the world, after St. Peter’s in Rome. The Oratory was built through the faith and signs and wonders performed by Blessed Andre Bessette in the early part of this century.

In the year 1916 alone, 435 people were healed. Brother Andre attributed all of these to the help of St. Joseph. He died at the age of 91 in 1937. Over a million faithful filed past his casket day and night for seven days. Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 23, 1982.

St Joseph and Blessed Andre, pray for us!

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