"Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55)
May 1st--I was on my home when I chanced upon the devotees of St. Joseph the Worker Chapel gearing to start the procession in honor of St. Joseph. Being an enthusiast, I immediately got off and joined the devotees in the enfolding activity.
The Ati-atihan group delivering a lively performance to the delight of the devotees, mostly children. A typical pinoy fiesta is not complete without street dancing and music.
Inside and outside the chapel.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19th for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1st for Joseph the Worker.
By this time, the organizers are doing a bit of crowd control outside; inside the chapel, the image of St. Joseph quietly awaits the start of the procession.
The image of St. Joseph the worker ironically does not show him as a worker, holding a hammer or a saw, instead we see the child Jesus holding the carpenter's tool kit (probably signifying father-son relationship...I am not familiar with the reason behind this, it's something I need to find out...)
Who is St. Joseph
The Catholic Church dedicated March 19th as the feast of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. He is also regarded as the Patron of the Universal Church, of fathers, carpenters, and social justice. He is the patron of the dying (or of those wishing for a happy death) because he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, something we also pray to be granted to us when it's our turn. I always pray to St. Joseph for this, to be surrounded by family and friends and peacefully surrender to the will of God, in the most beautiful way any man can leave this earthly life.
St. Joseph is normally depicted holding a staff with a white lily. My Lalang (grandma from mother side) told me, when I was young, that Mama Mary, being a true beauty had many suitors and to know who deserved to be her spouse, all her suitors were asked to line up in the town plaza, each holding their staff. Mama Mary knew St. Joseph was the right man because on his staff, a white lily suddenly bloomed. The Lily in catholic iconography stands for chastity. St. Joseph is also regarded as the chaste spouse of Mary for it is believed that even though she is the husband of Mary, he never did touch her, safeguarding her virginity. He is a good husband and a good father.
Most popularly, St. Joseph is regarded as a worker, a carpenter who lived a modest life but nonetheless very devout to his family and to God (however despite his humble work and means, he came from a royal lineage originating from King David). Thus, on May 1st, devotees also celebrate his feast day. And if I am not mistaken, May 1st is more well-known as his feast day than March 19th (for Filipinos at least). Most of the parishes I know who has him as titular patron celebrates their fiesta during May 1st, probably because March 19th always falls during the days of lent. However a more integral and strategic reason, I believe, do exist, establishing a connection between St. Joseph and the masses, the working class who serve as the backbone of all economies. May 1st is the international Labour Day (May Day) in many countries.
The image is now brought out of the chapel
And out the chapel...
O glorious Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to thee do we raise our hearts and hands to implore thy powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor we now request.
O guardian of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that thy prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
O glorious St. Joseph, through the love that thou didst bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Amen.
One last look, before I go on my way
Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen