Feast of St. Joseph

Devotion to St. Joseph, spouse of Mary, can be traced back to the beginning of the Church, with a local feast dedicated to St. Joseph confirmed in Egypt as early as the 4th century. One of the earliest dates for honoring St. Joseph was July 20. On the Byzantine calendar St. Joseph is commemorated on December 26 with many Eastern Churches celebrating Joseph as “Holy Righteous Joseph the Betrothed.”

In the Western Church, the feast of St. Joseph wasn’t fixed until the 15th century. According to some traditions, March 19 was the day of Joseph’s death, though there is little evidence to support it, as it is unclear when Joseph died. It is certain that he was present when Jesus was 12 and “lost in the Temple” but there is no mention of him at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, say at the wedding in Cana, when Our Lord turned the water to wine. The Bible is entirely silent about his death and as a result, the Church relies on oral traditions passed down over the centuries. Continue reading