St Joseph, a life immersed in the Easter mystery

St Joseph, a life immersed in the Easter mystery

On 19th March, the solemnity of St Joseph, the Church of Nazareth celebrated the feast-day of its patron saint and the patron saint of the Universal Church. 

The Angelus of St Joseph

At noon, the Franciscan friars solemnly celebrated St Joseph in the   church consecrated to him, next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. Fra Wojciech Bołoz, guardian and Rector of the   Basilica of the Annunciation, led an icon of St Joseph in procession. This was followed by the prayer of the Angelus with special words dedicated to St Joseph, in the crypt of the church, which, according to tradition, was the site of the Holy Family’s home.

Custodian of the Church

Although there had been pouring rain ever since the morning, many faithful accompanied the solemn entrance of the Custos of the Holy Land, fra Francesco Patton, and took part in the solemn evening Mass, which he presided over in the upper part of the Basilica. “In the difficult situation we are living through due to the war, we ask St Joseph to continue guarding the Universal Church, the Church of the Holy Land and the parish of Nazareth,” the Custos said in his opening greeting.

Father’s Day

The Custos then said a special prayer for all fathers, “so that they can be inspired by St Joseph, who was capable of accompanying Jesus as he was growing up, introducing him to the religious traditions of his people and teaching him the value of work and obedience to the will of God.”

St Joseph and the Easter mystery

The homily was delivered by fra Ibrahim Sabbagh, the parish priest of Nazareth, who gave a meditation of the life of St Joseph in the light of the Easter mystery. “His life was a death and a resurrection at one and the same time. And the mystery of love,”  he said. “We contemplate him as he made all his dreams die so that the plan of God could prevail (...), we see him die at every moment, in his hiding in daily life, to be a lit flame of love for Mary and for Jesus.” At the same time, “in giving himself totally, he tasted infinite joy, enjoyed peace and consolation and felt the sweetness of heaven; he already relished the taste of the resurrection.” “All of us,” he concluded, “are called to have the same human experience: Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of St Joseph,  to give us the courage so that we do not hesitate to give ourselves completely to the Lord and to others, without limits and without conditions.”

After the Mass, friars and faithful went in a procession from the Basilica of the Annunciation  to the church of St Joseph, to worship the place where the Saint lived with Mary and Jesus and gave them his love and protection.

Marinella Bandini