There is not much known about Saint Joseph and most of what we know is from scripture. Joseph never even speaks a word in the Gospel’s. Scripture paints a picture of a humble and hardworking father.
Joseph was engaged to Mary, but when he found out she was pregnant, “being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19) Saint Joseph must have felt betrayal, believing that Mary had deceived him. But his response is an important lesson, rather than shaming Mary publicly and cause her to be possibly stoned, Joseph resolved to keep the news to himself and deal with it quietly and senstitively.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:20)
This angel confirms to Joseph what Mary had said and asks Joseph to stay by Mary’s side and assist in her mission. Mary was only a young woman, possibly only 16, and just received news that she was going to have a baby even though she was not married and had not been with a man. This news would have been daunting even though she accepts “I, the handmaid of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Having the support of Joseph meant that she was not alone in the journey. Joseph would be there to help her raise this special child who would save “people from their sins”.
We know that Joseph was from Bethlehem and a descendant of the family of David. The scripture tells us that Joseph and Mary (heavily pregnant) had to travel to Bethlehem to take part in the census.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. (Luke 2:1-4)
After Jesus’ birth, an angel comes to Joseph, again in a dream to warn him of what Herod had planned for the children of Bethlehem. Joseph, Mary and Jesus, escape to Egypt, where they remained as refugees until an angel teld them it is safe to return to the Holy Land.
The scripture also teaches us that Joseph was a carpenter by trade, we hear it asked about Jesus “is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55)
The last time Joseph is mentioned in the bible is when Mary and Joseph are separated from Jesus and find him three days later, in the temple. There is no mention of Joseph during Jesus’ ministry, which leads us to believe he had passed away before this time. It is evident that Joseph was a loving husband and father, a great role model to young men and fathers.
Saint Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the father of the Holy Family. Just as you protected the Holy Family, we ask that you we ask you to inspire fathers to support there wives and protect and nurture their families. Interceded for those who are seeking refuge in from danger. Amen.