Wednesday 21 April 2021

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 originally 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 had '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 with an Octave. 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. Anselm.

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. Anselm). 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 SS Soter & Caius. 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 ignorant 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 of May 1st.


Paul said...

I believe the Octave was added only after the feast was moved to Wednesday. I checked a 1906 Roman Breviary: the Patronage of St. Joseph remained a Double of the Second Class and having no octave.

Rubricarius said...


Thank you. I had used the 'Bugnini Commission' Memoria sulla riforma etc Supplemento III for the history where it gives 1870 as the date for an octave.

Christoph Hagen said...

@Rubricarius: As to the preface. When the feast originally was first named a sollemnity caused this a change to Et te in Solemnitate, too or was this introduced for the new feast of 1956 first, please?

Christoph Hagen said...

The Patronage had a common octave since it was raised to Duplex primæ classis in 1911, as far as I know.