Wednesday 17 March 2010

Votive Mass of S. Joseph

Today is Wednesday. On ferial wednesdays, it is permitted to say a Votive Mass of S. Joseph, and although I don't have the pleasure of being able to advertise such a Celebration, I will share the Mass propers from the English Missal. I don't know a great deal about the history of this Mass, or indeed about votives in general. However, it seems to me that this Mass was composed not too long before its entry into the Missal, as the scriptural material is selected from Genesis in reference to the Old Testament Joseph, merging the two "patriarchs", which I understand is a relatively late feature of devotions to S. Joseph. However, the Mass also makes reference to the "crowning" of Joseph, perhaps dating it a little earlier. I wonder if anyone could help me with that?

INTROIT. Ps. 33. Ajutor et protector

The Lord us our help and our shield: Our heart shall rejoice in him because we have hoped in his holy name. Ps. 80. Hear, O thou Shephard of Israe, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. V. Glory.


O God, who by thy ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of thy most holy Mother: grant, we beseech thee, that we who venerate him as a protector on earth may be found worthy to have him as an intercessor in heaven: Who livest.

LESSON. Genesis xlix. 22

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

GRADUAL. Ps. 21 Thou hast prevented him, O Lord, with the blessing of goodness: and hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head. V. He asked life of thee and thou gavest him a long life, even for ever and ever. Alleluia, Alleluia. V. Grant us, O Joseph, to lead our life in innoncency: and may it ever be safe under thy protection.

(After Septuagesima, omitting Alleluia and the Verse following, is said:)

TRACT. Ps. 112. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he hath great delight in his commandments. V. His seedshall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the faithful shall be blessed. V. Riches and plenteousness shall be in his house: and his rightenousness endureth for ever.

(In Eastertide, the Gradual is omitted, and in its place is said:)

Alleluia, alleluia. V. In whatsoever tribulation they shall cry unto me, I will hear them, and I will be their protector for ever. Alleluia. V. Grant us, O Joseph, to lead our life in innocency: and may it ever be safe under thy protection. Alleluia.

+ The Continuation of the holy GOSPEL according to Luke (ii.21)

At that time: It came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.


Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: for he hath made fast the bars of thy gates, and hath blessed they children within thee. (Alleluia.)


O Lord, forasmuch as we put our trust in the advocacy of the spouse of thy most holy Mother, we entreat thy mercy: that thou wouldest make our hearts to despise all earthly things, and to love thee the true God with perfect charity: Who livest.

(Preface of S. Joseph)


Jacob begat Joseph the Husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ (Alleluia)


We beseech thee, O Lord our God: that we whom thou hast refreshed with the fountain of the divine gift, may by thee be enabled so to rejoice in the protection of blessed Joseph; that, by his merits and intercession, we may be made partakers of thy heavenly glory. Through.


  1. The votive Mass of S. Joseph is the same as the Mass for the Feast S. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and is significantly different from that for the Feast of S. Joseph (and the later Mass for S. Joseph the Worker).

    A quick flick through on-line and I can't see it in the Roman Missal 1570. I would guess that it was composed for the feast with relevant alterations (Gradual, Tract) for use as a votive at other times. A quick look at the Catholic Encyclopedia suggests it may be a Spanish, Dominican or Carmelite composition, given whence that feast came.

  2. But the gradual is about crowning and tract is all about the house, which reminds me of the V.R. after the Litany of S. Joseph V. He hath made him the lord of his house. R. and the ruler of His possessions. Presumably that means the Mass for the Feast of the Patronage is a late addition, seventeeth? eighteenth century?

  3. Unless I am mistaken, votive Masses are permitted only on COMMON ferias, and not those of Lent (unless of course the votive Mass itself is privileged, such as the votive Mass of the Sacred Heart on First Fridays).