How Holy Fathers Have Honored Christ's Earthly Father, St. Joseph, Throughout History

Updated: Mar 16

by Margaux Salcedo

While reading up on St. Joseph, inspired by the novena to St. Joseph held by the San Jose Manggagawa Parish in Manuguit, Tondo, in the days leading up to today, the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, I found that so many popes, not only Pope Francis, have had devotions to and paid tribute in their own way to St. Joseph.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, thanks to Pope Pius XII, who established it in 1955. This was meant to Christianize the month of May which was recognized as a Communist holiday.

Here are the other contributions of other popes to honoring Christ's earthly father and Mary's protector:

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX published the decree Quemadmodum Deus, declaring St. Joseph patron and protector of the universal Church

On December 8, 1870, The Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated this decree, which communicated the decision of Pope Pius IX to declare St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church.

Pope Pius IX also elevated Joseph’s feast to a Solemnity, the highest designation.

Quemadmodum Deus also raised St. Joseph’s feast of March 19 to a Solemnity. Until this time, St. Joseph, while acknowledged, was not considered a preeminent saint, with his feast day only Class II on the calendar and few devotions in his honor.

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII approved the St. Joseph Scapular

He also penned the encyclical letter Quamquam pluries, an encyclical on devotion to St. Joseph, published on August 15, 1889.

Pope Pius X

Pope Pius X endorsed The Litany of St. Joseph for public use.

Pope Benedict XV

Pope Benedict XV added St. Joseph's invocation to the Divine Praises.

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI designated St. Joseph as special protector against Communism