Ite ad Joseph

Some years ago I received the inspiration for these prayers to Saint Joseph. It was at a time of darkness and discouragement for many priests. Saint Joseph is the champion and protector of the weak, the vulnerable, and the poor. He is close to priests in their most intimate struggles, frailities, and fears. Go to Joseph.
Is it not significant that in this painting by Juan Simon Gutiérrez (1643–1718) the heads of the Child Jesus and Saint Joseph are touching? Note that the little Jesus and Saint Joseph together hold the fragile branch of lilies, the sign of chastity, in their hands. In most paintings of the Holy Family the most tender intimacy is between the Virgin Mother and her Child; here it is between Saint Joseph and the Child Jesus. The Virgin Mother understands the bonding that must take place between Saint Joseph and her Child; she holds the mystery of it in her Immaculate Heart.

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests
O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Protector of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod’s threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.

Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Particular Priest
Saint Joseph,
I present to you this day
Father N., priest of Jesus Christ,
and beg you to be to him
advocate and defender,
counselor and friend.
Open your heart to him
as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect his holy priesthood
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring him light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.
For the sake of the tender love that bound you
to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,
be for him, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul
so that, in spite of his weaknesses and sins,
his priesthood may bring glory to Christ
and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
in his bride the Church.

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