March 17 is celebrated throughout the world as the Feast of St. Patrick. Catholics and non-Catholics alike eat, drink, and wear green. Many cities dye their rivers green, and street festivals are not uncommon. However, according to the liturgical calendar, this is not the biggest or most important feast in March. In fact (on years Easter is not in March) there are two solemnities that rank higher than St. Patrick, though just one of then is the reason for this month’s general devotion.
The Feast of Saint Joseph falls just two days after St. Patrick’s Day – on March 19. It is officially categorized as a solemnity. In some parts of the world, especially those with a special devotion to St. Joseph, it is celebrated with great feasting. And Catholics in the midst of Lent welcome a slight reprieve from the Lenten fasting – as there is no fasting on solemnities. However, to the rest of the world, it is just another day. People don’t dye their rivers red (the color typically associated with this day). They don’t pinch each other for not wearing red. There aren’t billboards or advertisements celebrating and marketing this day.
Perhaps St. Joseph wouldn’t have it any other way.
St. Joseph is known for his humility and faithfulness to God. Though he utters no words recorded in Scripture, his actions speak for themselves. Protecting the Blessed Mother from scandal, fulfilling his duty to be enrolled in the census even with strenuous travel, fleeing in the middle of the night to Egypt to protect his family, and stepping into the role of foster father of the Lord himself – all of these actions of St. Joseph speak to a man of great faith and integrity.
Though his feast day is specifically on March 19, the entire month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. This is fitting, as February is dedicated to the Holy Family, and St. Joseph is its head.
As Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical, "It greatly behooves Christians, while honoring the Virgin Mother of God, constantly to invoke with deep piety and confidence her most chaste spouse, Saint Joseph. We have a well-grounded conviction that such is the special desire of the Blessed Virgin herself."
Therefore, during this month of March, we’d like to introduce to you the Memorare of St. Joseph. Hopefully, for some of you this will not be new, as it is a beautiful prayer. Though I have often heard the Memorare of the Blessed Virgin prayed, seldom have I heard this prayer to St. Joseph. But, as the quote above from Leo XIII states, devotion to St. Joseph goes hand in hand with devotion to Mary, and this prayer is but one example.
Memorare of St. Joseph
Remember, O most pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
my great protector, Saint Joseph,
that no one ever had recourse to your protection,
or implored your aid without obtaining relief.
Confiding therefore in your goodness,
I come before you.
Do not turn down my petitions,
foster father of the Redeemer,
but graciously receive them.
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