This prayer service is to honor St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus (celebrated on March 19) and patron of workers (celebrated on May 1).
By Jean Grant
LEADER: Dear St. Joseph, you are Patron of the Universal Church. When you supported your betrothed, Mary, and embraced the Angel Gabriel’s message, you became patron of the unborn. You believed that Mary was with child through the power of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: St. Joseph, may we model your strength in supporting the unborn.
READER 1: As the spouse of Mary, you were compassionate, caring, a protector, and faithful. (Feast Day—March 19th). You came from royal lineage as shown by the title, “son of David,” yet lived a simple life. In presenting a sacrifice for Baby Jesus to be brought to the Temple and Mary to be purified, you were allowed to use two turtle doves since you were too poor to offer a lamb. (Luke 2:24)
ALL: St. Joseph, may we follow your example in our families.
LEADER: Jesus’ beginnings in Bethlehem for the census resulted in the flight into Egypt for his safety. Each time, Joseph, you heeded the commands of ruler and angels, traveling first with a pregnant wife on a donkey to Bethlehem for the census, and then with a brand new baby when exiled into Egypt to escape King Herod. His soldiers were directed to kill the newborn Messiah. Thus, you were seen as a patron of travelers and immigrants.
ALL: St. Joseph, may we say “yes” to the challenges God places before us.
READER 2: You lived quietly in Nazareth after returning from exile in Egypt and Jesus played first with the wood and nails found in your carpenter shop. (Feast Day—May 1) These tools of your trade foretold the destiny of Jesus on the cross, while Jesus obediently and respectfully followed your guidance and became a carpenter’s foster son. As a silent saint, you became the patron of the dignity of human workers—countless individuals using their talents and gifts for the good of their families. Joseph, you fulfilled the command in Genesis (2:15) to care for the earth and model the holiness of human labor.
ALL: St. Joseph, may we selflessly care for the young and give them good examples to follow.
LEADER: It is known that you were an older age than Mary when you were betrothed. It is also believed you were born around 90 B.C. in Bethlehem. The apocryphal date of your death was July 20, A.D. 18 in Nazareth. As Jesus grew with the guidance of you and Mary in the Holy Family, they would both be there to support you as you died. With Jesus and Mary both there for you, since it was also before the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, you also became the patron of a happy death.
ALL: St. Joseph, please guide us through life, and be with us so that we too may have a happy death.
St. Joseph, stand by us. May you, through Jesus, obtain pardon for our sins. Help us to live as Jesus did in the Holy Family. Give us the conviction to protect the unborn and give support to their mothers and fathers. At the hour of our deaths may we focus without fear on the new life ahead with great love for Jesus in the Trinity and Our Blessed Mother, Mary. Amen.
Jean Grant is a retired teacher from St. Charles, Missouri.