St Joseph is the beloved patron saint of carpenters and laborers. His titles include 'Husband of the Virgin Mary', 'the Worker', and 'the Holy Carpenter'. 'Go to Joseph,' is the advice and counsel given to every Catholic who both desires a favour and believes in the sanctity of the Holy Family. He will intercede for those who place their faith in him. The feast of St Joseph is 19 March.
Celebrate St Joseph's Day -- March 19
Learn about the imagery and customs associated with St Joseph's feast day.
St Joseph in Chicago
St Joseph is especially honoured by both the Polish and Italian communities in Chicago, where early Twentieth Century immigrants brought their St Joseph traditions to their new homeland. In immigrant Polish and Italian communities this commonality of tradition provided an alternative form of cultural identification and expression of loyalty in contrast to the Irish community in Chicago. Just two short days after St Patrick's Day, Polish and Italian Americans dressed in red to celebrate their patron. This became a means of publicly demonstrating their ethnic identity since both national flags include this colour as opposed to the Irish green. Particularly for those of school age, this created a peculiar link between the two ethnic groups who became a somewhat united front in contrast to the traditions of the Irish.
Symbolic imagery of St Joseph
This imagery can be seen in his stained glass windows, on prayer cards, and on the St Joseph's altars on his feast day.
- carpenter's tools such as a ladder, saw, hammer, nails
- white lilies
- a staff
St Joseph's table
St Joseph prayer card
One custom of this feast day is that of St Joseph's table. An altar with a statue of the good saint is erected. The food is prepared and set on a table draped in St Joseph's colours of red and white. Flowers are also displayed round the room, as are holy cards and votive candles. An offering bowl is placed on the table to receive monetary donations for the less fortunate. In some cases children are dressed up to portray the Holy family and the angels. When all have gathered around, a priest will bless the altar, table and everyone present.
The underground real estate agent
If you are having trouble selling your home, call upon St Joseph for help with a custom called 'degradation of the saints'. It is an old custom dating to pre-medieval Europe to bury statues of the saints to force them to answer a prayer. Put your faith in him by praying a novena to him daily, and your house will sell quickly.
How to bury St Joseph
Bury the statue head-down and facing toward the house. Near the 'for sale' sign is a popular location. If you have no yard, bury the statue in a flower pot. Leave the statue in place until the house is sold, then dig it up and place it in a place of honour in your new home.
The statue popped out of the ground! Now what?
Just rebury the statue. Try to keep an eye on it in case it starts to pop out again.
My house sold, but the statue is gone or broken. Now what?
Go buy a nice statue to replace it. Put the new statue in your home in a place of highest respect.
Why do this?
Doesn't hurt anything, and it might even help focus your intent.