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Saint Joseph, the Protector, the Guardian

In 1989, John Paul II wrote a very short but extremely moving and informative encyclical on the role of Joseph as the "Guardian of the Redeemer". In it, he describes Joseph's role in salvation history, the loving beauty of marriage in general and the uniqueness of Joseph's marriage to Mary, and the wonderful responsibilities of fatherhood, whether it be by adoption or not.

In Scriptures, Joseph is called "a just man", who "obeys" the angel's command to take Mary as his wife, and who, from then on forward, with loving care and steadfast dedication, will be the head of the Holy Family. He is the one who will name the child and he is the one "into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures".

Read this beautiful (and short) encyclical Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer) here
and you will never look at Saint Joseph the same way!

Prayer to Saint Joseph, Protector of the Redeemer

O Blessed Saint Joseph,
Protect us and our families
From all evil,
As you protected the Holy Family.
Help us grow in love and concern
for our own families.

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
You were chosen by God
To be the foster father of Jesus,
The most chaste spouse of Mary,
And the head of the Holy Family.
Help us grow in obedience
To God’s plan in our own lives.

O Most Holy Saint Joseph,
Guardian of the Word Incarnate,
You are the Patron of the Church.
Help us grow in care and compassion,
in loving and serving
first our immediate family,
but then reaching out to
the larger circle of the whole human family,
as your own tender protective love once did,
and continues to do,
bringing us many blessings.


The Holy Family, photo Michele Szekely
The Holy Family, stained-glass in Samoens Church, French Alps.

"May Saint 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". JPII

  Joseph listens to the Angel, Joseph is obedient and patient,
Joseph is a just man, Joseph names the child,
Joseph marvels at what is said about Jesus, Joseph searches for him anxiously,
Joseph is silent, Joseph leads them to Egypt, Joseph works with his hands,
Joseph protects Mary and Jesus, Joseph is the guardian of the Holy Family,
Joseph is the patron of workers, Joseph is prudent,
Joseph is humble and quiet but strong and steadfast,
Joseph adopted Jesus with loving care.

"God our Father,
creator and ruler of the universe,
in every age you call man
to develop and use his gifts for the good of others.
With Saint Joseph as our example and guide,
help us to do the work you have asked
and come to the rewards you have promised".

The Protector


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