“Sagrada Familia del pajarito” or “The Holy Family with a Bird,” depicting St. Joseph holding Jesus with the Blessed Mother to the side, was painted in circa 1650 by Spanish baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682). (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the legal father of Jesus according to Jewish law, Joseph is a model of humility and obedience to God’s will.

He followed God’s instructions — given by angels in dreams — and took the pregnant Mary into his home as his wife, protected her and Jesus from the Child’s birth in Bethlehem through the family’s sojourn in Egypt, and provided for them as a carpenter in Nazareth.

This feast, which was celebrated locally as early as the ninth century, became a universal feast in the 16th century.

Pope Pius IX named Joseph patron of the Universal Church in 1870; he is also the patron saint of carpenters, the dying and workers.

Locally, he is the patron saint of St. Joseph Parish in Phoenix, St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Parish, also in Phoenix, and of St. Joseph Mission in Mayer.