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Why is the month of March dedicated to St. Joseph?

Figura świętego Józefa trzymającego na rękach śpiącego małego Jezusa

Sidney de Almeida | Shutterstock

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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/05/24

In popular piety, March is a special month dedicated to St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the calendar year, each month is dedicated to a particular spiritual theme. These dedications are not official, but have become part of popular piety over the centuries.

March is a month that eventually became known as the “Month of St. Joseph.”

Why is that?

While March always falls within the season of Lent, it also contains the primary feast in the Roman Rite that is dedicated to St. Joseph.

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.

By 1621 Pope Gregory XV extended a feast of St. Joseph to the entire Church, and it was elevated even more when Pope Pius IX declared Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church” in 1870. For many decades March 19 was a holy day of obligation on par with other major feasts in the Catholic Church.

Since March 19 falls during Lent, and is a solemnity, it offers a rare respite from the rigors of Lent.

The feast of St. Joseph has acquired a variety of local traditions over the years, such as the St. Joseph’s Table, as well as a novena that precedes this special feast.

While March has many other feasts and special celebrations, the feast of St. Joseph stands-out as one of the primary highlights of this month.

Tags:
LentLiturgySaint Joseph
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