Three Cheers for Joseph

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe


 Three Cheers for Joseph

…the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus. He is the most unsung hero of our Faith.  In spite of the important role he played, we have scant information about him. The few facts are:

1.     He and Mary were descendents of King David.

2.     In the Book of Matthews, he is identified as a carpenter and “a just man.”

3.     He was a dreamer of three special dreams with guidance which he followed. (a) Accepting the divine conception of Jesus, (b) the warning to take Mary and the baby to Egypt, and then (c) the advice to return to Israel. St. Jerome said, “This is the testimony to Mary’s purity that Joseph, knowing her chastity, and wondering what had happened, he hides in silence the mystery of which he was ignorant.”

4.     We don’t know when Joseph died. When Jesus was twelve and found in the temple, we know that Joseph was there searching with Mary.  Then when Jesus began his ministry, the people asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” This implies that he was alive at that time, yet he is not mentioned at the Cana Feast or any later date in the Scripture.

With these few facts, we have much freedom in determining what Joseph was like.  I picture him as a quiet fellow with a kind sense of humor. Regarding his carpentry, I think he was more concerned about quality and perfection, rather than quantity. Also, he must have lived in a sense of awe, realizing the responsibility God had placed on him.  In his Joseph poem, G. K. Chesterton wrote, “Yes, in the one wise foolish hour God gives this strange strength to a man. He can demand, though not deserve, where ask he cannot, seize he can.”

     In summary, I am convinced I would have liked Joseph. If he were here today, I would enjoy frequent get-togethers at Starbucks and the pub. I see Joseph traits in those around me — persons of pleasing reserve who do charitable acts, not for the notice or praise of others. A few of these are Shep, an prominent attorney who weekly volunteers at a facility for AIDs patients; Brother Ed, who  keeps Christmas going all year; Weezie, who took her dying mother into her apartment when she was unhappy in a hospice; Bob, who in spite of the many thorns in his body devotes his time to those in need.

     Father Luke Tancrell, O.P., wrote, “Given the witness of the Gospel about him, Joseph’s serenity attracts, because his silence has something to say to us. Even if it means changing our plans.

     So, Saint Joseph, lead us on!


Other recommended Catholic blogs

Being Frank (New Zealand)

Creative Minority Report

Musings from a Catholic Bookstore

Recommended readings

 “On the Slope with Teilhard” (12/13 America)

“The Abuse Scandal” (Dec. The Catholic World Report)

“How women who work for the church keep the faith” (Jan. USCatholic)

“My Journey from Darkness to Light” (the winter issue of Spiritual Life)


The first to send the right answers to will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

1.     Who was the first United States citizen to be canonized?

     2.  Which was not a miracle of Jesus?

          (a) feeding the multitude

          (b) walking on water

          (c) calming the storm

          (d) solving the financial crisis

     3.  Who were the first two to recognize Jesus as the Messiah?


One thought on “Three Cheers for Joseph

  1. As a father I find Joseph’s faith amazing. I may go into uncertain situations with a faltering faith but Joseph, not him. He went into a situation with Mary that would have shaken a man like me. I pray that God makes me a father and husband like Joseph.

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