It must have been a grave crisis in the lives of Jesus and Mary. After their betrothal, Mary breaks the news that she was with child by the Holy Spirit. Would any of today’s prospective bridegrooms accept such an untoward situation? Yet Joseph, forsaking all his dreams and desires, bows to the Divine Will with faith and humility.
It was no easy task for Joseph to be husband and father. He had to care for mother and child in a dark cave in Bethlehem. Shortly after,
he had to flee to escape Herod’s evil designs. Securing mother and child on the back of a donkey, with himself on foot, he takes them to Egypt. He settled his family in Nazareth.
Joseph was a saint in the loving eyes of Mary. In the centuries to follow, he was finally recognized as such by the Church. Pope IX in 1847 declared Joseph as the patron and protector of the universal church. His patronage was truly universal.
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every under taking. Through the years, all classes of Christians have turned to St. Joseph, imploring his assistance: workmen, the poor and financially strapped, the travelers and exiles, the youth, the religious. And finally, having died peacefully in the arms of Jesus and Mary, Joseph is the patron of a happy death.