The Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph

This past Wednesday I attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF) which happened to be a votive Mass for St. Joseph.  I knew that Wednesdays were traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph but this celebration was different from the Solemnity on March 19th and the memorial on May 1st as well as the St. Joseph votive Mass in the Ordinary Form (OF).  I thought the priest simply wanted to celebrate a votive Mass but later found out that St. Joseph had a regular feast day in the liturgical calendar during the Easter season.

In 1847, Pope Pius IX instituted the Mass and feast of the patronage of St. Joseph on the third Sunday after Easter following the example of the Carmelites who recognized St. Joseph as patron of their order in 1621.  This Mass of St. Joseph’s patronage was later moved to the Wednesday before the Third Sunday after Easter following the reform of the Roman breviary by Pope Pius X in 1913 (cf. Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflato 3.3).  At an audience on May 1st, 1955, Pope Pius XII established—what is now the memorial of—St. Joseph the Worker.  From what I can tell, it seems that the Feast of the Patronage was discontinued but not abrogated and relegated to the status of a votive Mass.  Quickly perusing TLM calendars on various websites reveals that the Feast of the Patronage is not celebrated universally on the Wednesday before the Third Sunday after Easter and I find this quite unfortunate.

The Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19th highlights his role as a husband and father in the economy of salvation while the celebration on May 1st obviously sets the holy carpenter as an example for us to imitate in our holy work.  However, I think it would be a tremendous benefit to the Church to recover the Feast of the Patronage.  St. Joseph certainly sets a holy example to all the faithful but the Feast of the Patronage would invoke his powerful intercession for the Church which would certainly benefit her but he is often neglected.  As St. Teresa of Avila says, “I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honor and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant.”  I hope the Church restores this Mass into the calendar at the very least as a regular celebration so that all may obtain whatever they ask from the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus.

O God, Who, in Thine unspeakable providence, didst deign to choose blessed Joseph for the spouse of Thy most holy Mother, grant, we beseech Thee, that, venerating him on earth as our protector, we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven.  Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Votive Mass of St. Joseph

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