Our Patron Saints


Our Patron Saints

St. Joseph

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him. We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't 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).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was a man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

In His Footsteps: Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent.

Prayer: Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen.

Saint Damien

Fr. Damien de Veuster, SS.CC., was born in 1873 in Belgium and was ordained a priest of the congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Hawaii. After ten years of ministry on the Big Island of Hawaii, he volunteered to serve as chaplain to those suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy) at a primitive settlement on Molokai. He labored for the next 16 years transforming a lawless, hopeless place into a world-renowned example of Christian love and compassion. He gave his life for those cast off and abandoned by society, dying of Hansen’s disease at the age of 49. Damien was beatified in 1995. On Sunday, October 11, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Father Damien a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. 

Father Damien has held a special place in the hearts of St. Joseph parishioners as a result of the presence of the Sacred Hearts Fathers who served our Parish from 1983 until 2006. Since 1994 we have honored parishioners who exemplify Damien’s life of service and generosity of spirit through our annual “Damien Award.” Click here for a list of recipients. Recipients of the 2009 Damien Award were honored at the 5pm Mass on Saturday October 10 to coincide with his canonization.

As part of the celebration to honor St. Damien, actor Casey Groves performed the one-man show Damien in the Basilica on October 16, dramatizing his life, service and ministry. A reception followed.

Later that evening a relic of St. Damien was at St. Joseph’s, en route to Hawaii from Rome. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Diocese of Oakland and Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu joined us in the Basilica for a Prayer Service to welcome the relic and pray for God’s blessing on ourselves and our community. The spirit of the Sacred Hearts was also apparent through the presence of Father Patrick Goodwin (the first member of the Sacred Hearts to serve as our pastor) and Father Rich Danyluk, SS.CC., (the last member of that community to serve here).

St. Damien Prayer

Damien, brother on the journey, 
happy and generous missionary, 
who loved the Gospel more than your own life, 
who for love of Jesus left your family, your homeland, 
your security and your dreams,
Teach us to give our lives with a joy like yours, 
to be in solidarity with the outcasts of our world, 
to celebrate and to contemplate the Eucharist 
as the source of our own commitment.
Help us to love to the very end 
and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, 
to persevere in compassion for the poor and forgotten 
so that we might be good disciples of Jesus and Mary.

Contact Info.

1109 Chestnut St. Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 522-0181
Parish Office Hours:
           8:30 am to 5pm (closed noon to 1) 
           8:30 am to 12:30pm (volunteer staffing) 
           8:30am to 1:00pm. (volunteer staffing)

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