In popular practice, March has traditionally been devoted to St. Joseph. Here’s a kid-friendly explanation of the devotion, prayer prompts, a Bible memory verse, and activities to try throughout the month…plus a list of special Church days in March.
by Brian Smith
Back in the Middle Ages, many Catholics began observing special devotions around a particular theme each month—the Holy Name of Jesus in January, for instance, or the Blessed Virgin Mary in May (or November, in some places). Today, many families are reviving the practice as part of the way they observe the liturgical calendar at home. Observing a monthly devotion is another way to recognize Christ’s lordship over all time—plus, it’s fun!
Here are some ways to celebrate the popular devotion for March, the St. Joseph.
Talking with Kids about St. Joseph
Jesus’ true father is God, who lives in heaven. But because Jesus was to live life on earth, God asked St. Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly
St. Joseph is described in the Bible as a “righteous man.” Before Jesus was even born, Joseph needed to protect Mary while Jesus was in her womb. Since Mary and Joseph were not married, many people believed that it was impossible for Mary to have a child in her womb. Joseph’s job was to attest to the truth that Mary spoke and to encourage people to have faith in God and to believe.
Today, we celebrate St. Joseph as the patron saint of the entire Church! Joseph worked hard to care and protect Mary and Jesus. As Catholics, we believe that St. Joseph is in heaven praying for us that we might carefully listen to the lessons that Jesus teaches us. St. Joseph is the patron saint of many other things too, including dying (because Mary and Jesus were at his deathbed), carpentry and social justice.
Feast Days & Memorials
The dates of some feast days occur on different dates each year. For exact dates, consult the liturgical calendar, which can be found on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
3 St. Katherine Drexel
17 St. Patrick
18 St. Cyril of Jerusalem
19 St. Joseph
A take-a-way for kids to memorize and/or include in their daily prayer.
Such was his intention
Questions to help propogate the faith with your children.
- How can we help to protect the Church in our home and community?
- How can we listen to the words of Jesus better?
- What can we do to help others learn about Jesus?
Incorporate this month’s devotion with the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Grow your prayer life as a family.
Wednesday has been the day of the week traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph. Next Wednesday, lead your family in praying the Litany of St. Joseph.
If you have a special intention that you would like to pray for with St. Joseph, you may want to use the St. Joseph Novena prayer. A novena is a prayer that is recited for nine consecutive days.
St. Joseph Novena
O good father Joseph! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows and joys, to obtain for me what I ask.
(State your petition).
Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers, everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Be near to me in my last moments, that I may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen.
(Recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)
Learn about God’s infinite mercy.
The Chapel of Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has a mysterious staircase. When the church was built in 1852, the builder forgot to design a staircase to the choir loft. The Sisters of Loretto were told by the builder that constructing a staircase was impossible; there was no space for it given the design of the building. Dismayed, the sisters prayed a novena to St. Joseph.
After their nine-day prayer was concluded, a man knocked on the chapel’s door and said that he could build a staircase. The sisters had faith and agreed to let the man help.
When the man’s work was finished, the sisters entered the chapel and found a beautiful spiral staircase without any visible means of support. The man who built it was nowhere to be found.
Could St. Joseph himself have built the staircase? Whether he did or not, the Sisters were deeply grateful that their prayers had been answered so they could walk up to the choir loft instead of using a ladder!
Help the Church to grow within your own community.
Many of us are blessed with a comfortable home to live in. Yet many people around the world lack a safe place to sleep. In the spirit of Lent, let’s consider how we can be more like St. Joseph.
- Volunteer or bring supplies to a homeless shelter
- Donate food, or better yet your time, at a local soup kitchen or food pantry
- Give alms to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity
- Build a birdhouse to place in your prayer garden
- Build a prayer box to hold your rosary, religious cards, etc.
For more information about monthly devotions, see the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: #20, #32, #190-191 and the Catholic Encyclopedia: Special Devotions for Months
Brian Smith is a stay-at-home dad of two girls. He and his wife of more than 10 years enjoy traveling, the outdoors and discovering new things with their children. He can be reached at [email protected].