"Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God's providence.
"We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a 'just man' (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God's will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since 'there was no place for them' elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.
"Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: 'You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins' (Mt 1:21). As we know, for ancient peoples, to give a name to a person or to a thing, as Adam did in the account in the Book of Genesis (cf. 2:19-20), was to establish a relationship."
On 8 December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis proclaimed, in remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, a "Year of Saint Joseph" (8 December 2020 - 8 December 2021).
To access the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter, please visit:
At the conclusion of this Apostolic Letter, Pope Francis included a prayer to St. Joseph and encouraged all of us to pray it:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.