Prayers to St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, date back almost as far as Our Lord’s time! Although he came from King David’s noble lineage, St. Joseph (left) lived a life of great humility and devotion to his Holy Family as a carpenter.
Matthew’s gospel describes him as a “just man” (1:19). He is the patron saint of the Universal Church, and people invoke his aid for workers, families, home buyers and sellers, and the grace of a happy death, among other things. St. Thomas Aquinas once noted that St. Joseph is unique among patron saints in that he is able to assist us at anytime for anything.
St. Theresa of Avila echoed this sentiment when she wrote “I know by experience that the glorious St. Joseph assists us generally in all necessities. I never asked him for anything which he did not obtain for me.”
This prayer is among the earliest prayers to St. Joseph, (from around A.D. 50) and also one of the best known:
Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph, do 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.
Oh St. 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. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.