St. Joseph was there in the beginning of Jesus' life when the shadow of Mary's pregnancy threatened his peace, Matt. 1:18 & 19. He was there when the cloud was lifted, and Mary's child was revealed to be of the Holy Spirit, Matt.1:20. He was asked to accept Mary, to give the family name to Jesus of the house of David, and to protect and raise the Son of God. St. Joseph was there for the joy of the Savior's birth and for the challenges which threatened their little family at every turn, Matt. 2:13 - 15. His life was not at easy one, but it was a greatly blessed one.
St. Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, but he was Jesus' father in every other way: protector, guide, teacher, provider, and model of what it means to be a virtuous man. St. Joseph ate with Jesus, played with Jesus, helped His mother, shared their home and traveled to Jerusalem on pilgrimages. It was a silent life, but one we will only begin to plumb the depths in heaven.
St. Joseph is the universal patron of the Catholic Church.
He received that title in 1870 from Pope Pius IX. There are many miracles attributed to St. Joseph. The people of Sicily are devoted to him and consider him their patron. The St. Joseph altar that so many parishes and schools set-up to honor him on March 19 developed out of their gratitude upon receiving the answer to their prayers for rain many years ago.
St. Andre Bessette of Montreal had a tremendous devotion to St. Joseph. Many miracles were worked by St. Andre through the prayers said to St. Joseph on behalf of the many sick and troubled souls who requested his intercession. St. Andre had such a great devotion to St. Joseph that he built the very beautiful St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, where many crutches and other medical aides hang from the walls in testimony to the numerous miracles received through St. Joseph's intercession.
St. Joseph's feast day is a solemn feast. It is of the highest liturgical rank. St. Joseph is a saint of universal importance. His feast day is one of the ten Holy Days of Obligation in the Universal Church. In the United States we are dispensed from observing it as a holy day of obligation, but we should honor St. Joseph by going to Mass if we are able or say some prayers that are dedicated to him. We can make and eat treats to celebrate his life and virtues with family and friends. Because his feast day is a solemn feast we are dispensed of our usual Lenten sacrifices; it is like a Sunday in Lent.
Here is a picture of cream puffs with the recipe to follow that you might enjoy making today or on a Sunday during Lent. The French custard filling is very delicious.
St. Joseph Cream Puffs
INGREDIENTS: Cream puffs
1/2 Cup of butter
1 Cup of sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 Tsp. salt
1. Melt butter in 1 cup of boiling water.
2. Add flour and salt all at once; stir vigorously.
3. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that does not separate.
4. Remove mixture from heat ; cool slightly.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each till smooth.
6. Drop by heaping tablespoons 3 inches apart on greased cookies sheet.
7. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes.
8. Remove from oven; split.
9. Turn oven off; put cream puffs back in to dry, about 20 minutes.
10. Cool on rack.
INGREDIENTS: French Custard Filling
1/3 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 Tsp. salt
1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Slightly beaten egg yolk
1 Tsp. vanilla
1/2 Cup whipping cream, whipped
1. In saucepan combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.
2. Gradually stir in milk.
3. Cook and stir till mixture thickens and boils. Cook and stir 2 - to 3 minutes longer.
4. Stir a little hot mixture into egg yolk; return to hot mixture in saucepan.
5. Cook and stir till mixture just boils. Add vanilla and cool.
6. Beat smooth and fold in whipped cream.
INGREDIENTS: Chocolate Glaze
1 1/2 Cups of sifted confectioners' sugar
2 Squares (2 oz.) semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tsp. vanilla
2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp. hot tap water
1. Melt seemisweet chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl on high for 40 seconds. Stir thoroughly.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and stir till smooth and of a glazing consistency.
3. Add a few more drops of water to thin, if necessary. Use immediately.
DIRECTIONS FOR ASSEMBLING CREAM PUFFS
1. Split cream puffs in half.
2. Place 1/4 cup of French custard filling in bottom half of puff. Cover with top half of puff.
3. Drizzle chocolate glaze over top of cream puff. Repeat. Makes ten cream puffs.