Wednesday, 29 April 2020

The Solemnity of St. Joseph

The feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Spouse of the Blessed Virgin and Patron of the Universal Church is a Double of the First class with an Octave. It is the primary feast of St. Joseph (c.f. 19th March) although is now a feast that is largely forgotten or even sadly unknown after the liturgical changes of the last century. The feast was introduced into the Universal Kalendar by Pius IX in 1847 as the 'Patronage of St. Joseph' as a Double of the Second Class to be celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. In 1870 the feast was raised to a Double of the First Class and given an octave with 'Patron of the Church' added to its title. In 1911 the feast was renamed the Solemnity of St. Joseph and became a primary Double of the First Class. In 1913 the celebration was moved to the Wednesday after the second Sunday after Easter. Although relatively modern the feast is a fine example of typology with the Patriarch Joseph being used as a 'type' of the foster-father of the LORD.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Jacob autem etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was proper and the Office hymn was Te Joseph celebrent agmina Caelitum. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology.

The Office is proper. At Mattins the invitatory is Laudemus Deum nostrum In veneratione beati Joseph, protectoris nostri, alleluia and the Office hymn is, again, Te Joseph. The antiphons of the nocturns are proper and, as at Vespers, rather beautiful:

Angelus Domini apparuit in somnis Joseph, dicens: Surge, et accipe Puerum et Matrem ejus, et fuge in Ægyptum; et esto ibi, usque dum dicam tibi, alleluia.

Angelus Domini apparuit in somnis Joseph, dicens: Surge, et accipe Puerum et Matrem ejus, et vade in terram Israel; defunct sunt enim qui quaerebant animam Pueri, alleluia.

Consurgens Joseph, accepit Puerum et Matrem ejus, et venit in terram Israel; et habitavit in civitate, quae vocatur Nazareth, alleluia

In the first nocturn the lessons are from the book of Genesis and are extended in comparison to those for St. Joseph's 19th March feast. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a sermon on St. Joseph by St. Bernardine of Siena and in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Augustine on the Gospel fragment from St. Luke. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons from Vespers are sung with the Sunday psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Caelitum Joseph decus. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of St. Peter the Martyr.

At Prime the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii) are sung under the first antiphon of Lauds. At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschaltide Doxology.

Mass is sung after Terce and is proper, with the introit Adjutor. The Gloria is sung. (In private Masses the second collect is of St. Peter the Martyr). The Creed is sung and the preface is that of St. Joseph.

At second Vespers the antiphons, psalms and hymn are those that were sung yesterday at first Vespers. The Office hymn is Te Joseph. The versicle and its respond along with the antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to second Vespers. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Catharine of Sienna. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Solemnity of St. Joseph simply does not exist as this beautiful feast was suppressed in 1956 to be replaced by the appalling 'San Giuseppe Comunista'. The 19th March returned to being the primary feast of St. Joseph.  The vast majority of 'traditionalists', who vociferously support the 'liturgical books of 1962', are completely and blissfully unaware of the existence of the Solemnity of St. Joseph yet alone its abolition. A few who are aware of it substitute the Office of the feast for the execrable Joe the Worker travesty on May 1st.


Unam Sanctam said...

Few years ago we had a Mass on the Solemnity of St. Joseph in Padua. A 62ist partecipant, who wanted to make a photopost about it, wrote that it was a "votive Mass of St. Joseph", wondering why Gloria and Credo had been sung...

+DM said...

This is a beautiful Feast that always comes as a surprise to the '62 crowd. On this day I have the custom of sending felicitations to many of them - as I do on 1st May, to remind them that it is the Feast of SS. Philip & James, when they are observing "May Day" with St. Joseph "the Worker" - asking if they wear Red instead of White.

Peter said...

Is there perhaps an error in the Ordo concerning the Office for the octave day which is given as (fff) and (ff)? Should it not be psalmody as on the feast?

Rubricarius said...


No, on days within the Octave and Octave Day the psalms are ferial.

Peter said...

@ Rubricarius

Thank you for that explanation. Is it part of the reform of Pius X to put ferial psalms even for the octave day of common octaves? It just seems odd that, were May 6 this year not the octave day of St. Joseph, we would be keeping the feast of St. John at the Latin Gate and would therefore be using proper/Sunday/festal psalms, but because of the octave day (which outranks the Apostle's feast) we are using ferial psalms. Odd that the higher ranking day has "lesser" psalms that somehow override the festal ones.

Andre said...

It is quite odd. Yesterday according to Pius X rubrics, it was ferial psalms; but if it would have been first Vespers of St. John, it would have been dominical psalms for Vespers and Compline.

Rubricarius said...

@Peter and @Andre,

I agree it is very odd. Other examples would be within the Christmas Octave for the feasts of St Thomas (outside England etc) and St Sylvester, or a double feast within the Octave of the Ascension etc.