Our Patron, St Joseph

Statue of St Joseph at the entrance of the school

St Joseph’s Private School is named after St Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. Our patron, St Joseph, is also the patron of St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching which is nearby and the patron of SMK St Joseph.

St Joseph is also the patron of the universal church.

His feast day is 19 March. He is also honoured on 1 May as the patron of workers.

St Joseph is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus as the legal father of Jesus. Both the Gospel of Matthew and Luke contain a genealogy of Jesus tracing his ancestry back to King David, but the two are from different sons of David; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke follows a minor line from Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew, “Jacob was the father of Joseph”, while according to Luke, Joseph, or possibly Jesus, is said to be “of Heli”. Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph’s major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary’s minor line.

The Gospels describe Joseph as a τέκτων (tekton), which traditionally has meant “carpenter,” and it is assumed that Joseph taught his craft to Jesus in Nazareth. We know this from the question asked about Jesus by his country people, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55).

“Tekton” is a rather general word (from the same root that gives us “technical” and “technology”) that could cover makers of objects in various materials, even builders; because the Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone. It could also mean an itinerant worker rather than an established artisan, emphasizing his marginality in a population in which a peasant who owns land could become quite prosperous. Others have argued that it could equally mean a highly skilled craftsman in wood or the more prestigious metal, perhaps running a workshop with several employees.

Joseph was not rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

St Joseph, Guardian and Educator

On 19 March 2014, the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the first anniversary of the inauguration of his Petrine ministry, Pope Francis devoted his general audience to St Joseph and paid tribute to him as a model educator. St Joseph serves as a model for all fathers and educators.

Pope Francis first spoke of the mission and distinctive trait of St Joseph, that is, guardian to Mary and Jesus. Secondly, the theme of guardianship is under a particular aspect: the educational aspect. St Joseph watched over and accompanied Jesus as he grew in wisdom, age and grace.

According to Pope Francis, St Joseph is not Jesus’ father, because the father of Jesus is God. St Joseph is rather a father to Jesus; he was a father to Jesus in order to help him grow.

The first educational dimension: age. St Joseph helped Jesus to grow in age which is the most natural dimension: physical and psychological growth. Joseph, together with Mary, took care of Jesus in all that he needed for a healthy development. St Joseph also taught Jesus the trade of carpentry.

The second educational dimension: wisdom. St Joseph was for Jesus the example and the teacher of the wisdom that is nourished by the Word of God. We could ponder how Joseph formed the little Jesus to listen to Sacred Scriptures, above all by accompanying him on Saturdays to the synagogue in Nazareth.

The third educational dimension: grace. A father and mother do a lot to form their child to grow in the grace of God. St Joseph would have contributed to the favour of God resting upon Jesus.

Since St Joseph is the model of the educator and the dad, the father, Pope Francis, therefore, entrusts to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational role in the Church and in society. Pope Francis says, “And in your closeness to your children, be true educators.”