Saint Joseph    

Novena and Litany to

St. Joseph


Guardian of the Redeemer


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NOVENA PRAYER; said at the end of each day's devotion:


"Saint Joseph, I, your child, pray to you.  You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love Jesus. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place my hope in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon me.  Therefore, I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me; to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death. 


Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, obtain for me a pure, humble and charitable mind; and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my foster father and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.


Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death and the special grace I now implore: (Mention your request).


Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen."





First Day





Saint Joseph, you were privileged to share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the foster father of Jesus.  Mary alone was directly connected with the fulfillment of the mystery, in that she gave her consent to Christ's conception and allowed the Holy Spirit to form the sacred humanity of Jesus from her body.


In a more direct manner you shared in the support, upbringing, and protection of the Divine Child through self-sacrifice. With the toil of your hands you were obliged to offer protection to the Divine Child, to procure for Him food, clothing, and a home.  After Mary, you were truly the saint of the holy childhood of Jesus — watching over the Christ-Child.  When Herod sought the Child to put Him to death, the Heavenly Father sent an angel, giving orders for the flight. Yours was that fatherly love which was a refuge that received and protected the Divine Child. Your fatherly love carried Him through the desert into Egypt until all enemies were removed. Then on your arms the Child returned to Nazareth to be nourished and provided for during many years by the labor of your hands. Whatever a human son owes to a human father for all the benefits of his up-bringing and support, Jesus owed to you, because you were to Him a foster-father, teacher, and protector. 


You served the Divine Child with a singular love. God gave you a heart filled with heavenly, supernatural love — a love far deeper and more powerful than any natural father's love could be. 


You served the Divine Child with great unselfishness, without any regard to self-interest, with many sacrifices.


What a wonderfully sublime and divine vocation was yours — the loving Child which you carried in your arms and loved and served so faithfully; He had God in Heaven as Father and was Himself God!


Yours is a very special rank among the saints of the Kingdom of God, because of your sacrifices that were so much a part of the very life of the Word of God made Man.  In Mary's house at Nazareth and under your care the Redeemer of Man:


 "....grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him."

(Luke 2:40)


What you accomplished was complimentary to the sacrifices of Jesus and Mary.  For this, God not only made you a powerful and the greatest saint after Mary in the Kingdom of God, but you are able to be of benefit to the whole of Christendom. Your rank in the Kingdom of God, surpassing the dignity and honor of all the angels, deserves our very special veneration.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster father of His Divine Son.  Because of this, your greatest privilege, pray for me so that I may obtain the grace of a burning love for Jesus Christ my God and my Savior.  Help me to serve Him with some of the self-sacrificing love and devotion with which you served Him on this earth. Grant that through your intercession with Jesus, I may reach the degree of holiness God has destined for me for the salvation of my soul.   (Novena Prayer)



Second Day





Saint Joseph, I honor you as the husband of Mary.  Scripture says: "Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ." (Matt. 1:16). Your marriage to Mary was a sacred contract by which you and Mary joined to serve the Redeemer of Man.


By your marriage you gave to God your virginity, part of the divine plan of the Incarnation; for God sent His angel to assure you that motherhood and virginity in Mary could be united.  This union of marriage not only brought you into daily association with Mary, the loveliest of God's creatures, but also enabled you to share with her the care of the divine Child.  And Mary found edification in your humble purity and sanctity. What a great honor comes to you from this close association with her whom the Son of God calls Mother and whom He declared the Queen of heaven and earth! Whatever you experienced with Mary in the care of the divine Child, even though He had been given to her by God in a wonderful way, also belonged to you. Jesus belonged to you as His legal father. Your marriage was the way which God chose to have Jesus introduced into the world, a divine mystery from which all benefits have come to us.


God the Son confided the guardianship and the support of His Immaculate Mother to your care. Mary's life was that of the Mother of the Savior, who did not come upon earth to enjoy honors and pleasures, but to help her Son redeem the world by hard work, suffering, and the cross. You were the faithful companion, support, and comforter of the Mother of Sorrows.  How loyal you were to her in poverty, journeying, work, and pain. You love for Mary was based upon your esteem for her as Mother of God.  After the divine Child, you loved no one as much as her.  The Holy Spirit Himself was the bond of the great love which united your hearts.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the virginal husband of Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus with all my heart, as you did, and love Mary with some of the tenderness and loyalty with which you loved her.  (Novena Prayer)





Third Day






Saint Joseph, you were the man chosen by God the Father. He selected you to be the Guardian of the Redeemer on earth.


You were the man chosen by God, the Son.  Desirous of a worthy foster-father, He added His own riches and gifts; above all, His love.  The true measure of your sanctity is to be judged by your dedication to Jesus.  You were entirely consecrated to Jesus, working near Him, offering Him your work, your sacrifices, your sufferings, your very life.  Jesus lived in you so that you were transformed into Him. In this lies your special glory and the keynote of your sanctity.  Hence, after Mary, you are the most holy of saints.


You were chosen by God, the Holy Spirit.  He is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son.  He draws forth all creatures from nothing, guides them to their end in showing them their destiny and gives them the means to reach it.  Every vocation and every fulfillment of a vocation is a gift from the Holy Spirit. 


As the foster father of Jesus and head of the Holy Family, you played a part in the education and guidance of the youth of the God-Man.  In this work you cooperated with Mary; both as instruments of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was the guide and both of you obeyed and carried out His works. How perfectly you both obeyed the guidance of the God of Love!


Saint Joseph, I thank God for having made you the man specially chosen by Him.  As a token of your own gratitude to God obtain for me the grace to imitate your virtues so that I too may be pleasing to the Heart of God.  Help me to give myself entirely to His service and to the accomplishment of His Holy Will, that one day I may reach heaven and be eternally united to God as you are. (Novena Prayer)





Fourth Day






Saint Joseph, you lived for one purpose — to be the personal servant of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  Your noble birth and ancestry, the graces and gifts, so generously poured out on you by God --- all this was yours to serve our Lord better.  Every thought, word, and action of yours was a humble homage to the love and glory of the Incarnate Word.  You fulfilled most faithfully the role of a good and faithful servant who cared for the House of God.


How perfect was your obedience!  For almost thirty years, you watched the God-Man display a simple and prompt obedience, and you grew to love and practice it very perfectly yourself.  Without exception you submitted to God, to the civil rulers, and to the voice of your conscience.  When God sent an angel to tell you to care for Mary you obeyed; in spite of the mystery that surrounded her motherhood.  When you were told to flee into Egypt under painful conditions, you obeyed without the slightest word of complaint. When God advised you in a dream to return to Nazareth, you obeyed.  In every situation your obedience was as simple as your faith, as humble as your heart, as prompt as your love.  It neglected nothing; it took in every command.


You had the virtue of perfect devotedness.  Every moment of your life was consecrated to the service of our Lord: sleep, rest, work; the sacrifice of pain.  Faithful to your duties, you sacrificed everything unselfishly, even cheerfully. Your entire life was one generous giving, even to the point of being ready to die in proof of your love for Jesus and Mary.


But God wanted you to be in a certain sense a cooperator in the Redemption of the world.  He confided to you the care of nourishing and defending the Divine Child. He wanted you to be poor and to suffer because He destined you to be the foster-father of His Son, who came into the world to save men by His sufferings and death, and you were to share in His suffering. In all of these important tasks, the Heavenly Father always found you a faithful servant!


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God's faithful servant.  As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were.  Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father, to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God.  (Novena Prayer)





Fifth Day






Saint Joseph, God has appointed you patron of the Catholic Church because you were the head of the Holy Family, the starting-point of the Church. You were the father, protector, guide and support of the Holy Family.  For that reason you belong in a particular way to the Church.


I believe that the Church is the family of God on earth.  Its government is represented in priestly authority which consists above all in its power over the true Body of Christ, really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, thus continuing Christ's life in the Church. From this power, too, comes authority over the Mystical Body of Christ, the members of the Church - the power to teach and govern souls, to reconcile them with God, to bless them, and to pray for them.


You have a special relationship to the priesthood. Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us - as it is the priest's function to bring Him to us in the Mass — for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him.


You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you! Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for me Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion.


God has appointed you patron of the Church because the glorious title of patriarch also falls by special right to you. The patriarchs were the heads of families of the Chosen People, and theirs was the honor to prepare for the Savior's incarnation. You belonged to this line of patriarchs, for you were one of the last descendants of the family of David and one of me nearest forebears of Christ according to the flesh. As husband of Mary, the Mother of God, and as the foster-father of the Savior, you were directly connected with Christ. Your vocation was especially concerned with the Person of Jesus; your entire activity centered about Him. You are, therefore, the closing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New, which took its rise with the Holy Family of Nazareth.  Because the New Testament surpasses the Old in the Revelation of God, you are the patriarch of patriarchs, the most venerable, exalted, and amiable of all the patriarchs.


Through Mary, the Church received Christ, and therefore the Church is indebted to her. But the Church owes her debt of gratitude and veneration to you also, for you were the chosen one who guided the Christ Child to enter into the world according to the laws of order and fitness. It was by your presence in your Davidic lineage that the patriarchs and the prophets and the faithful reaped the fruit of God's promise. Alone among them all, you saw with your own eyes, loved and guarded the Redeemer promised to the rest of men.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church.  As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul.  Bless the priests, me religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God's love and faithfulness in His service. Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies. Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world - the glory of God and the salvation of souls!    (Novena Prayer)





Sixth Day






Saint Joseph, I venerate you as the gentle head of the Holy Family. The Holy Family was the scene of your life's work in its origin, in its guidance, in its protection, in your labor for Jesus and Mary, and even in your death in their arms. You lived, moved, and acted in the loving company of Jesus and Mary. The inspired writer describes your life at Nazareth in only a few words:


"And (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them." 

 (Luke, 2:51).


Yet these words tell of your high vocation here on earth, and the abundance of graces which filled your soul during those years spent in Nazareth.


Your family life at Nazareth was all radiant with the light of divine charity. There was an intimate union of heart and mind among the members of your Holy Family. There could not have been a closer bond than that uniting you to Jesus, your foster-Son and to Mary, your most loving wife. Jesus chose to fulfill toward you, His foster-father, all the duties of a faithful son, showing you every mark of honor and affection due to a parent.  And Mary showed you all the signs of respect and love of a devoted wife.  You responded to this love and veneration from Jesus and Mary with feelings of deepest love and respect. You had for Jesus a true fatherly love, enkindled and kept aglow in your heart by the Holy Spirit.


God has made you a heavenly patron of family life because you sanctified yourself as head of the Holy

Family and thus by your beautiful example sanctified family life. How peacefully and happily the Holy

Family rested under the care of your fatherly rule, even in the midst of trials. You were the protector,

counselor, and consolation of the Holy Family in every need. And just as you were the model of piety, so you gave us by your zeal, your earnestness and devout trust in God's providence, and especially by your love, the example of labor according to the Will of God. You cherished all the experiences common to family life and the sacred memories of the life, sufferings, and joys in the company of Jesus and Mary. Therefore the family is dear to you as the work of God, and it is of the highest importance in your eyes to promote the honor of God and the well-being of man. In your loving fatherliness and unfailing intercession you are the patron and intercessor of families, and you deserve a place in every home.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of living in the Holy Family and being its head. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain God's blessing upon my own family. Make our home the kingdom of Jesus and Mary — a kingdom of peace, of joy, and love.


I also pray for all Christian families. Your help is needed in our day when God's enemy has directed his attack against the family in order to desecrate and destroy it.  In the face of these evils, as patron of families, be pleased to help; and as of old, you arose to save the Child and His Mother, so today arise to protect the sanctity of the home.  Make our homes sanctuaries of prayer, of love, of patient sacrifice, and of work. May they be modeled after your own at Nazareth.  Remain with us with Jesus and Mary, so that by your help we may obey the commandments of God and of the Church; receive the holy sacraments of God and of the Church; live a life of prayer; and foster religious instruction in our homes. Grant that we may be reunited in God's Kingdom and eternally live in the company of the Holy Family in heaven. (Novena Prayer)





Seventh Day






Saint Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the Will of God that you and your foster-Son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for those who work with their hands!


It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth, He read the words of Isaiah and referred them to Himself:


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor..."

(Luke 4:18).


It was God's Will that you should be occupied with the work of common people,  that in this way Jesus Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, His foster-father, and by freely embracing it.  For the common people He has in store His richest graces, provided they live content m the place God's Providence has assigned them and remain poor in spirit for He said:


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is me kingdom of heaven."  (Matt 5:3).


The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced - a virtue most pleasing to Him.  He chose for His earthly surroundings not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man. What a touching example for the worker of today!


While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the

Divine Master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as He worked He adored His Father and recommended the welfare of the world to Him, Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with Him who said of Himself:


"I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."   (John 14:6)


As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Creator, formed this vast universe with divine skill and limitless power.  The light of divine faith that filled your mind did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the Youth working beside you was truly God's own Son.


Saint Joseph. I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me.  Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass in reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven. (Novena Prayer)




Eighth Day






Saint Joseph, your share of suffering was very great because of your close union with the Divine Savior. All the mysteries of His life were more or less mysteries of suffering.  Poverty pressed upon you and the cross of labor followed you everywhere. Nor were you spared domestic crosses, owing to misunderstandings in regard to the holiest and most cherished of all beings, Jesus and Mary, who were all to you.  Keen must have been the suffering caused by the uncertainty regarding Mary's virginity; by the bestowal of the name of Jesus which pointed to future misfortune.  Deeply painful must have been the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the disappearance of Jesus in the return from the Paschal feast.  To these sufferings were surely added greater sorrow at the sight of the sins of your own people.


You bore all this suffering in a truly Christ-like manner, and in this you are our example. No sound of

complaint or impatience escaped you — you were, indeed, the silent saint!  You submitted to all in the spirit of faith, humility, confidence, and love. You silently bore all in union with and for the Savior and His Mother; knowing well that true love is a crucified love. But God never forsook you in your trials.  The trials too, disappeared and were changed at last into consolation and joy.


It seems that God had purposely intended your life to be filled with suffering as well as consolation to keep before my eyes the truth that my life on earth is but a succession of joys and sorrows and that I must gratefully accept whatever God sends me and during the time of consolation prepare for suffering.  Teach me to bear my cross in the spirit of faith, of confidence, and of gratitude toward God.  In a happy eternity, I shall thank God fervently for the sufferings which He deigned to send me during my pilgrimage on earth and which after your example I endured with patience and heartfelt love for Jesus and Mary.


You were truly the martyr of the hidden life.  This was God's Will, for the holier a person is, the more he is tried for the love and glory of God.  If suffering is the flowering of God's grace in a soul and the triumph of the soul's love for God, being the greatest of saints after Mary, you suffered more than any saint but Mary.  Because you have experienced the sufferings of this valley of tears, you are most kind and sympathetic toward those in need.  Down through the ages souls have turned to you in distress and have always found you a faithful friend in suffering. You have graciously heard their prayers in their needs even though it demanded a miracle.  Having been so intimately united with Jesus and Mary in life, your intercession with Them is most powerful.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to suffer for Jesus and Mary.  As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to bear my suffering patiently for love of Jesus and Mary. Grant that I may unite the sufferings, works and disappointments of life with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass and share like you in Mary's spirit of sacrifice.    (Novena Prayer)





Ninth Day





Saint Joseph, how fitting it was that at the hour of your death Jesus should stand at your bedside with Mary, the sweetness and hope of all mankind. You gave your entire life to the service of Jesus and Mary; at death you enjoyed me consolation of dying in Their loving arms. You accepted death in the spirit of loving submission to the Will of God and this acceptance crowned your hidden life of virtue. Yours was a merciful judgment, for your foster-Son, for whom you had cared so lovingly, was your Judge, and Mary was your advocate.


You looked into eternity and to your everlasting reward with confidence.  If our Savior blessed the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, John the Baptist, and others, because they greeted His presence with devoted hearts for a brief passing hour, how much more did He bless you who have sanctified yourself for so many years in His company and that of His Mother?  If Jesus regards every corporal and spiritual work of mercy, performed in behalf of our fellow men our of love for Him, as done to Himself, and promises heaven as a reward, what must have been the extent of His gratitude to you who in the truest sense of the word have received Him, given Him shelter, clothed, nourished and consoled Him at the sacrifice of your strength and rest and even your life, with a love which surpassed the love of all fathers.


God showed His divine gratitude for your service by granting you many graces in your lifetime, especially the grace of growing in love, which is the best and most perfect of all gifts. Thus at the end of your life your heart became filled with the love of Jesus and Mary.


Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in me arms of Jesus and Mary.  As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death.  May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God's Holy Will, and die as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!


Prayer to Saint Joseph


O 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.   O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine foster Son all spiritual blessings through Him, Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly intercession, I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to God, Our Father, and you, the most loving of earthly fathers. 


O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you with 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.


Litany of St. Joseph


V. Lord, have mercy on us.                   

R. Christ, have mercy on us.

V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.    

R. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. God, the Father of Heaven,                  

R. Have mercy on us.

V. God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,        

R. Have mercy on us.

V. God, the Holy Spirit,                       

R. Have mercy on us.

V. Holy Trinity one God,                       

R. Have mercy on us.


Respond: "Pray for usfollowing each invocation:



Holy Mary,

Saint Joseph,

Renowned offspring of David,

Light of Patriarchs,

Spouse of the Mother of God,

Chaste guardian of the Virgin,

Foster-father of the Son of God,

Watchful defender of Christ,

Head of the Holy Family,

Joseph most just,

Joseph most chaste,

Joseph most prudent,

Joseph most strong,



Joseph most obedient,

Joseph most faithful,

Mirror of patience,

Lover of poverty,

Model of workers,

Glory of family life,

Guardian of virgins,

Safeguard of families,

Consolation of the poor,

Hope of the sick,

Patron of the dying,

Terror of the demons,

Protector of the Church,



V. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,

R. Spare us, 0 Lord,

V. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,

R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.

V. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,

R. Have mercy on us.

V. He made him Lord over his house,

R. And ruler of all his possessions.


Let us pray,


      O God, who in thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose

      blessed Joseph to be the husband of thy most holy Mother, grant

      that we may be made worthy to have him for our intercessor. This

      we ask in the name of Jesus, Our Lord and Redeemer.  Amen.

    [Note: The former but legendary practice of burying a St. Joseph statue upside-down in your front lawn in order to sell your house quicker---is sacrilegious.  Place the statue in a place of honor in your home and pray the St. Joseph Novena.]    

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