The carpenter

St Joseph is one of the most beloved and revered saints in the Catholic Church and all knowledge about his life stems from Scripture.

Joseph was a carpenter, as the Nazarenes ask about Jesus: “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” Although he was descended from King David, he was not wealthy. When he took Jesus to be circumcised he offered a sacrifice of two turtle doves, the substitute for those who could not afford to offer a lamb.

We also know that Joseph was compassionate. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, he knew that the punishment would be death by stoning and so he resolved to “divorce her quietly” to protect her. However, an angel later appeared and said: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:19-25). Joseph then took Mary as his wife.

Flight to Egypt

St Joseph is revered as protector of the family because when he discovered that Jesus and Mary were in danger, he fled with them to Egypt, until an angel assured him it was safe to return home.

His concern for Jesus’s safety remained, evident in the account of losing Jesus in the Temple, when Joseph and Mary searched for him for three days.

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