The Power of the St. Joseph Novena

When you ask any good father what he wants for his birthday, you’re likely to get a dismissive wave and perhaps a request for a beer and some time with his kids. Though I don’t have any kids of my own, this is the regular pattern I constantly observe with my dad and plenty of other dads out there. It’s not that they don’t deserve a big celebration, but more that seeing their kids doing well is all they ever needed.

St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord and a model for all fathers has a sort of “birthday” coming up on March 19th when we celebrate The Solemnity of St. Joseph, also popularly known as St. Joseph’s Day. In Boston’s North End and throughout many Italian-American communities it takes on the feeling of a big party with parades, processions, and other kinds of celebrations. These particular celebrations stem from giving thanks to St. Joseph’s intercession for avoiding a famine in Sicily and they are a testament to his powerful intercession.

While Joseph doesn’t say a lot in the Bible, he is rightly called the Patron of the Universal Church for his life, love and protection of both Mary and Our Lord. Pope Leo XIII, in observing how Joseph acted as a husband and father, reflected on this great saint:

The Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust – this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

With his solemnity quickly approaching, it is customary to being to pray the St. Joseph Novena beginning on March 10th, which happens to be tomorrow. This powerful prayer ranks right up there with the St. Jude novena in answering some seemingly unanswerable prayers. In my own life, I’ve seen it at work.

St. Joseph and Me

This story, my own, is one of many stories of when God provided a small miracle through the intercession of St. Joseph. While it is my own story, you, my dear reader, share in it.

In 2013 I was having one of the roughest years of my life. The year started with a painful infection that put me out of work for several weeks and I had a cancer scare on top of that. That led to me being fired from one job and working a bunch of temporary roles until I found a permanent job with a small startup that also let me go a few months later due to dwindling sales. In August of 2013, I was out of money, quickly running out of food, and had to sell my guitar to pay bills and put gas in the car. My electricity was shut off and only by borrowing funds and begging did I get it turned back on.

There’s no other way to say it: I was desperate and felt abandoned by God.

My final act, after too many rejections, was to pray a novena to St. Joseph. I had prayed it before for minor things like doing well in school and getting into grad school. This time, I was praying for what felt like a miracle to me. I needed work, and I needed it fast.

The first day of the Novena I had two interviews and prayed it faithfully every morning as I continued to look for work. The very ninth day of the novena I got a call with a job offer with just enough compensation to start paying my rent again. As you will likely gather, that job was with Sophia Institute Press to oversee Catholic Exchange, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve given thanks to God for hearing me and St. Joseph and putting me in this position. I think of my time here as a work to bring glory to God and I especially thank St. Joseph for having the heart of a father enough to not just get me another job but to allow me to be in a place where I get to make a difference in the Church and the World.

If you’ve been blessed by CE at all, you owe St. Joseph the gratitude for putting me here and reminding me why I work the long hours.

Ways to Use This Novena

If you’d like to start the novena tomorrow, I encourage you to think of some great need for yourself or others. I can’t guarantee that you will get the exact answer you want, but St. Joseph is there to listen like a patient father and to intercede for you to God, the greatest of Fathers.

If you don’t have a pressing need, I have one idea. Tomorrow morning, when you start the novena, ask St. Joseph to remember and intercede for the Middle Eastern Christians who are being martyred and oppressed by ISIS. They, our brothers and sisters in Christ, are suffering in ways we can’t imagine. Now, if you will join me, is the time to pray to St. Joseph, that Patron of the Universal Church, to quickly bring relief and to fortify their resolve. Imagine if the many of you who read these words begin to pray this powerful novena for those who have so little to count on. We may not be able to go there ourselves, but we can give a few minutes in the morning to ask and pray for help.

Also, as Lent is a time to give alms, consider giving to a charity that is over in the Middle East helping our brothers and sisters. One such organization is the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, but there are several others.

Through the intercession of St. Joseph, may we reflect his tender heart and go about to save lives and souls. 

The St. Joseph Novena

Say this prayer every morning for nine days.

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Amen

O Saint Joseph, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. O Saint Joseph, pray for me. (Mention your intention)

Editor’s note: A great resource for learning about the life and prayers of St. Joseph is The Life and Glories of St. Josephwhich is available at most libraries and in inexpensive books. 

Michael J. Lichens

By

Michael J. Lichens is the Editor of Catholic Exchange, book editor of Sophia Institute Press, and blog editor of St. Austin Review. When he's not revising and editing, he is often found studying and writing about GK Chesterton, Religion and Literature, or random points of local history. He holds an A.M. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a BA from The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. You can find him blogging at Catholic Coffee Drinkers or find him on Twitter @mjordanlichens or facebook.

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  • Michael J. Lichens

    Wonderful, Maryanne! I hope you find it rich and fulfilling. Thanks for the good word.

  • Rick

    Michael thank you for the reminder. I will join with you in the Novena for those undergoing great Persecution. I have carried this prayer with me for about 50 years as it was given to me when I went in the Service in 1966. It carries a notice that carrying the prayer or saying it daily will have protection from any Sudden Death. I know of at least 4 times that eminent death did not happen and am sure of many more that I am unaware of. I thank you again for the reminder and will be Joined with you (2 or more) in prayer. Be Blessed

  • tj.nelson

    I love how you opened this by pointing out how good dads are – how they want what is best for their kids, and so on. That is St. Joseph and is reason enough to have confidence in him. Thanks!

  • Okay, I’m in. St. Joseph has never failed the church or me. I do have personal intentions, but, more importantly, are the intentions mentioned in Michael’s article, the ministry of CE that has been a God-quake for thousands, and the intentions of all those associated with it. Our prayers in this novena will be like a matching corporate gift or something. Only, much more so.

  • Gilberte Azar

    I also would like to reiterate on St Joseph powerful novena, St joseph helped me in finding a job 7 years back. I will be joining this prayer for 2 main reasons, first is related to my job, and second to join forces and pray for our Middle East. Nothing is pure coincidence cause I started it already in another version.

  • Denise

    17 years ago, I prayed a 33 day novena to St. Joseph. I am sure his intercession is the reason my mother survived her serious cancer. His prayers are very, very powerful. Pray this novena with confidence. Thank you, St. Joseph!

  • John

    I too am starting it today to ask St Joseph for a new job as my existing job is being terminated this Friday March 13. Thank you for posting this prayer and I trust that all of our prayers will be answered, because God and St Joseph want always what’s best for us and be a happy child. Thank you in advance St Joseph.

  • jdumon

    I and my wife Michèle started a novena about one year ago on behalf of our 2nd celibate son John, asking St Joseph to help him to find a stable and long lasting job. A few months later John was hired in a small company that still employs him.

  • Jim Carroll

    Novenas like this are usually started 10 days before the saint’s feast day, so they finish the day before the feast day. That way, on the feast day, you can focus your attention on praising the saint rather than petitioning him or her. The web site PrayMoreNovenas.com (which I highly recommend) always uses this 10th day to include a prayer to Jesus thanking Him for listening to us and asking His blessings on all those praying the novena.

  • Jim Carroll

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve been a fan of St. Joseph for over 20 years and I’m glad to see devotion to him increased. Blessings on you and your ministry!

  • Michelle

    I did not even know about this! What a great prayer. I was wondering if I could still do this with a prayer tonight as I didn’t know about it this morning? I was also wondering if you can pray for others and yourself at the same time? Can you only ask for this intersession on these days in Lent? I would love to pray for our sisters and brothers over seas. I also need St. Joseph to help ask God for a miricle. I am confined to my house and have been for 7 years. I would like to ask for intersession to get better and have no fear or pain so that I might join the world and do what God wants me to. Thank you.

  • Michelle, you can pray this at night or in the morning. You can, indeed, pray for your own intentions and those of others. You can pray this novena during Lent or any time, but it is good to pray this during the days leading up to the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th. By me, joining my prayers with you, to be free from your confinement and to regain your health, and to do God’s holy will in your life all will be well. Be at peace.

  • E Marie Genevieve

    Although I have always had devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I have never prayed this novena to St. Joseph. I’ve only prayed “St. Joseph pray for us” or to the ‘Holy family’ -which he was the head of. I am praying this novena this year and am including all those persecuted for the faith. I am also asking you and those who read this for prayers for a child; Angelina. She is not only persecuted within her own family for her faith, but is neglected and abused. Her cause is in the hands of the court right now. Her grandparent is seeking custody. She is a sweet 12 yr old. Please pray for her to be given the safe home she needs where she will be nurtured and cared for. I am am so encouraged by your story! Thank you, Michael, for the work you do are doing! Thank You St. Joseph!

  • Padrina

    I began this novena this morning. Like so many others, I need a good job, too. I’ve been out of work since November 30, 2014, which is causing much personal and family stress, not to mention dwindling funds. I’ve been out of work, before, of course, but this time, I’m a 60-year-old woman, which might be making it somewhat more difficult, I suspect.

    Thank you for reminding me to ask for the intercession of St. Joseph, guardian and protector.

  • Deacon Guadalupe

    St. Joseph saved my life when I was a cop! I should have died when I had a blow out at 100 mph chasing a bad guy, but miraculously he interceded and my life was spared. In his honor, I built a roadside shrine on Texas High Way 16 which is 140 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. Viva San Jose!!!

  • praymorenovenas

    Hi Michael — great piece on the St. Joseph Novena! Please consider joining us in praying this novena again next Spring through Pray More Novenas 🙂 This year, we had more than 160,000 people praying this novena with us. http://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-joseph-novena/ We pray one or two novenas together each month as a community, and we send out the daily novena prayers in an email. God bless you and the work you do!

  • Peter

    Jesus Christ has only God as Father and Mary as mother. St. Joseph was aptly called the Guardian of the Redeemer by PJPII in an encyclical of the same name. In a familial way, St. Joseph is known as the foster father of Jesus.

  • wina

    I am desperate for a job as a permanent staff here, please grant me and intercede and pray for me St Joseph that I will pass the interview and attain the job that I desire. I will honor you by working so hard that others can see God’s glory in the work I deliver.

    Please pray with and for me.

  • Riley DiAdams

    “wishes will be granted” I understand what you’re trying to communicate, but St. Joseph is not a genie.

  • Debra Johnson

    Thank you for spreading the word about St. Joseph! He has helped my family many times, so much so that I call him my “go-to” saint. Right now, I need his help again. My husband died last year and since he was my sole support, I am almost broke and sure to lose my home and my pets, the only important things I have. I’ve applied to over 100 jobs with only two interviews, neither of which panned out. It’s time to call in the big-guns and say a novena to St. Joseph. He never fails. Please pray for all the unemployed–they need our prayers so very much!

  • cat

    I started praying to St Joseph to help me sell our land. Please St Joseph we need to sell this land because we need the money to be able to move forward with our life. Thank you

  • Darrin French

    This is my second time to make use of St Joseph’s 30 day
    Holy Cloak Novena regarding joblessness within a year. The first time, I received a job at Oracle for
    a position that was above my skill set and it paid very well. I was unable to learn the product well enough
    and my immediate supervisor was rather hateful thus I found myself unemployed within
    seven months. The second position
    started within two weeks after losing my job at Oracle. This position offered me a low income. Because I support a wife and five children I
    accepted the position and yesterday I completed my first week.

    In a way, I am upset because
    neither position is/was a good fit. Corp
    America is evil and after being forced to retire from a job at the Diocese of
    Colorado Springs (after seven years of service) it is most difficult to obtain
    something else that closely relates. I
    was one of just a few people who attended daily mass and learned several people
    who work at a Diocese are just there for a paycheck. They were Catholic in name. To tell you the truth, unless I can make a
    good income working for myself, a job I enjoy, I don’t really think, I will be
    happy ever again.

    It is amazing how a select few were able to lie, cheat, and
    steal in manipulating the Bishop. I am
    glad God is their judge and not me. We
    must continue to pray for our enemies regardless how much they damage ones
    character. Please keep me in your
    prayers St Joseph’s warriors! I have
    five ideas whereby to make a living working for myself until retiring however I
    rather have our Heavenly Patriarch, St Joseph select that ‘good fit’ for me. Today is the last day of my 30 day
    Novena. I strongly suggest making use of
    St. Joseph’s 30 day Cloak Novena to anyone. darrinfrench@gmail.com

  • Clazza

    I have completed the 30 Day Holy Cloak Novena, and I feel a deep gratitude to St Joseph for his prayers for me which have brought about much peace and made a difficult situation easy. In the novena, there is a promise to give to a charity which aids the afflicted and the dying and is associated with St Joseph. Does anyone know of a charity I could give to? TIA!!!

  • riz fernandez

    Thank you St Joseph for your intercession. I prayed for me and my husband to find employment related to our experience and on the 7th day, my husband was hired at TD Bank and today, my 8th day of my novena, the manager at ATB called me that they choose me for the position. Thank you very much St Joseph! Thank you Dear Lord, your Son Jesus Christ! Amen!

  • Michael J. Lichens

    Thank you so much for your comment and update! I have a great devotion to St. Joseph, whose example and love has made me a better Christian, so it delights me to hear things like this.

  • riz fernandez

    Yah! Just pray hard and have faith!

  • DTT

    I too, thank you St Joseph for your intercession. I prayed to find job related to my experience and talents and today, the ninth day of the novena, I was hired. Thank you St. Joseph, your Son Jesus Christ, and our heavenly Father.

  • Charey

    The first time I prayed this Novena,I wanted to rejoin my company from when I was leaving overseas, I got a job offer on my 9th day and on his feast day. I was so happy. But because my EAD was not with me yet, I lost it to another candidate. I did the novena again to get in to the same company. Novena to St Joseph never fails as I got another job offer in the same company for the same position I was holding when I was overseas. I am taking this job because this is what I prayed for. The money is not so great but the potential for growth is there. I’ll pray for strength and determination for this new job in my old company.

  • Donna Pennestri

    I started the Novena yesterday The Feast of St. Joseph and my aunts birthday. Asking not for myself but my husband to get a job and 2 girlfriends haVing medical issues.I can’t thank God and St. Joseph for answering my prayers do fast. My husband had a phone interview and 20 minutes later found out he hot the job. My one girl friend had her last radiation treatment and now done, and my little sister found out she does not have MS. Thank you The Lord God, Mary Our Mother, Saint Joseph, Saint Ann, Saint Jude and and all myour family and friends for their help in prayers.

  • Dean Hoffman

    CNEWA is a wonderful organization and an excellent apostolate.

  • Debbie

    I started this novena today. I asked for help for my business that an important document would be received to allow me and partner to get a business bank account. This document had delayed alot than expected. Today, the document has been received and once a copy is sent to us, we can now apply for a business account.
    Thank you st Joseph. Also, my sincere gratitude to other precious saints: St anthony, st cajetan, St expedite, Our lady of Mt carmel and Mother mary undoer of knots their intervention.

  • Roshni Inhsor

    I need prayers for my daughter to get a job , Just started the St Joseph novena .

  • thirdarmy

    I lost my job yesterday. I am giving this novena a try.

  • Joanne Angelides Anderson

    I’ve been praying the Novena to Saint Joseph faithfully my daughter and yesterday she received a phone call that she has an interview for a job this coming Friday. This is the job that she really would be so great that would be so happy which is so important to us and to her! I will continue to pray for a successful outcome. Please pray with me as well

  • thirdarmy

    I’ll pray for her. I’m out of work as well.

  • Laveena Dsouza

    I was jobless n I was trying my best to get job. I did this st joseph novena n i got job.

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