Liturgical Feasts

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

19 March Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In the West, the oldest reference to the cult of Saint Joseph (Ioseph sponsus Mariae) connected with 19 March appears around the year 800 in the north of France. Thereafter, reference to Joseph, the spouse of Mary, becomes more and more frequent from the 9th to the 14th centuries. In the 12th century, the crusaders built a church in his honor at Nazareth. But it was in the 15th century that the cult of Saint Joseph spread due to the influence of Saint Bernadine of Siena, and especially of Jean Gerson (+ 1420), Chancellor of Notre Dame in Paris, who promoted the cause that a feast to Saint Joseph be officially established. There were already some celebrations in Milan in Augustinian circles, and in many places in Germany. It was in 1480, with Pope Sixtus IV’s approval that the feast began to be celebrated on 19 March. It then became obligatory with Pope Gregory XV in 1621. In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Saint Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church, and Pope Saint John XXIII inserted his name into the Roman Canon of Holy Mass in 1962. More recently, Pope Francis approved seven new invocations in the Litany to Saint Joseph: Guardian of the Redeemer, Servant of Christ, Minister of Salvation, Support in difficulties, Patron of exiles, Patron of the afflicted, and Patron of the poor.


See All...

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

25 March Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, BAV Chig. A. IV. 74, f. 56v

As early as the middle of the 6th century in the East, and the 7th century in Rome, there is evidence of this Feast celebrated on 25 March. Since this feast is connected with the Lord Jesus and to His entry into history, the revised liturgical calendar gave this feast the title of the “Annunciation of the Lord”, over the more popular Annunciation of Mary. The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is a Christmas feast even though it is not celebrated during the Christmas Season. Nine months before we celebrate the Lord’s birth, we celebrate His incarnation in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


See All...