Ite ad Joseph! Go to Joseph!
Most powerful patriarch St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church,
which has always invoked thee in anxiety and trouble,
from the exalted seat of thy glory cast a loving glance upon the whole Catholic world.
Let thy fatherly heart be touched at the sight of the mystical spouse,
and the Vicar of Christ overwhelmed with sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies.
Oh by the bitter anguish thou didst experience upon earth,
dry the tears of the venerable Pontiff, defend him, liberate him,
intercede for him with the Giver of peace and charity,
that all adversity being removed,
and all error dissipated,
the entire Church may serve God in perfect liberty:
Ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis Ecclesia secura Deo serviat libertate.
On the 18th of December 1870 the Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the decree ‘Quemadmodum deus’ which communicated the decision of Blessed Pope Pius IX to declare St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church, and which also raised St. Joseph’s feast of March 19 to the rank of double of the first class.
I have copied the decree below as it is instructive to recall that the Church was placed under his powerful protection in a time of crisis. The solution always lies in prayer and sanctification of our individual lives, with the aid of Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother and those close to them.
Once more we should ‘go to Joseph’, asking his aid in the current crisis and imploring his assistance for the Holy Father to guide the Church wisely and with courage, as the Universal Church is attacked from all sides.
Decree Quemadmodum Deus (18th December 1870)
Blessed Pope Pius IX
As almighty God appointed Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, over all the land of Egypt to save grain for the people, so when the fullness of time had come and He was about to send to earth His only-begotten Son, the Savior of the world, He chose another Joseph, of whom the first had been the type, and He made him the lord and chief of His household and possessions, the guardian of His choicest treasures.
Indeed, he had as his spouse the Immaculate Virgin Mary, of whom was born by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord, who deigned to be reputed in the sight of men as the son of Joseph, and was subject to him.
Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection, and kissed. He most diligently reared Him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life.
Because of this sublime dignity which God conferred on his most faithful servant, the Church has always most highly honored and praised blessed Joseph next to his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, and has besought his intercession in times of trouble.
And now therefore, when in these most troublesome times the Church is beset by enemies on every side, and is weighed down by calamities so heavy that ungodly men assert that the gates of hell have at length prevailed against her, the venerable prelates of the whole Catholic world have presented to the Sovereign Pontiff their own petitions and those of the faithful committed to their charge, praying that he would deign to constitute St. Joseph Patron of the Church. And this time their prayer and desire was renewed by them even more earnestly at the Sacred Ecumenical Council of the
Accordingly, it has now pleased our Most Holy Sovereign, Pope Pius IX, in order to entrust himself and all the faithful to the Patriarch St. Joseph’s most powerful patronage, has chosen to comply with the prelates’ desire and has solemnly declared him Patron of the Catholic Church.
He has also ordered that his feast on March 19th by henceforth celebrated as a double of the first class, without any Octave, however, because of Lent. He arranged, moreover, that a declaration to this effect be promulgated through the present decree of The Sacred Congregation of Rites on this day sacred to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the most chaste Joseph’s Spouse. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.