How to Pray the Litany of St. Joseph

Litany of St. Joseph

St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, is celebrated individually on two feast days. We celebrate St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on March 19 and St. Joseph the Worker a few months later on May 1. There are also other feast days on which we recognize St. Joseph as a member of the Holy Family and a model of holiness, humility, hard work, and loyalty.

Pray the Litany of St. Joseph on his feasts or any day to ask for his intercession in your life.

I have a great love for St. Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table, I have an image of St. Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him: Pray for this problem!” 

Pope Francis

Table of Contents

About St. Joseph 

St. Joseph is the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus. As we read in the Gospels, Joseph was from the line of David – connecting God’s promise in the Old Testament (the old covenant) with His promise in the New Testament (the new covenant, Jesus). Though we never hear from Joseph in the Gospels, we do know much about him through the stories we read of him. As St. (then Pope) John Paul II exclaimed in Redemptoris Custos

The Gospels speak exclusively of what Joseph “did.” Still, they allow us to discover in his “actions” – shrouded in silence as they are – an aura of deep contemplation. Joseph was in daily contact with the mystery “hidden from ages past,” and which “dwelt” under his roof.

JPII, Redemptoris Custos (August 15, 1989)

This first instance of silent action in the Gospels is Joseph’s first “yes” to God (Matthew 18). 

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  … When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son and he named him Jesus.

The Lord speaks to Joseph through a dream; Joseph gently discerns what to do and how to respond to this call. Joseph’s graceful acceptance of his vocation as a father, husband, and worker is present throughout the Gospels detailing the early life of Christ.

“The figure of St Joseph recalls the urgent need to give a soul to the world of work. His life, marked by listening to God and by familiarity with Christ, appears as a harmonious synthesis of faith and life, of personal fulfillment and love for one’s brothers and sisters, of daily commitment and of trust in the future.”

St. (Pope) John Paul II on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, 1997 

Many scholars believe Joseph passed away before Jesus began his ministry, given Mary’s presence in many Gospel stories without him. However, this hasn’t diminished his life as a robust model for holiness, discernment, and vocation among saints, theologians, and the greater Church. Devotion to St. Joseph also experienced a resurgence in 2021, which was declared the Year of St. Joseph by Pope Francis. 

Litany of St. Joseph

Pray this litany on the feasts of St. Joseph, or any day, to invoke his intercession in your life. Often called “The Worker,” many turn to St. Joseph for guidance in their work or professional lives. You can also turn to Him for intercession in your marriage or family life, as Joseph was chosen by God as the foster father of His Son, Jesus.

Time needed: 5 minutes

  1. Begin the litany by asking for mercy.

    Lord, have mercy. R: Lord, have mercy.
    Christ, have mercy. R: Christ, have mercy.
    Lord, have mercy. R: Lord, have mercy.
    Christ, hear us. R: Christ, hear us.
    Christ, graciously hear us. R: Christ, graciously hear us.

  2. Address the Holy Trinity.

    God the Father in heaven, have mercy on us.
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
    God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
    Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

  3. Recite the petitions for St. Joseph’s intercession.

    Holy Mary, pray for us 
    Saint Joseph, pray for us
    Noble son of the house of David, pray for us
    Light of Patriarchs, pray for us
    Husband of the Mother of God, pray for us
    Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us
    Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us
    Faithful guardian of Christ, pray for us
    Head of the Holy Family, pray for us
    Joseph chaste and just, pray for us
    Joseph prudent and brave, pray for us
    Joseph obedient and loyal, pray for us
    Pattern of patience, pray for us
    Lover of poverty, pray for us
    Model of workers, pray for us
    Example to parents, pray for us
    Guardian of virgins, pray for us
    Pillar of family life, pray for us
    Comfort of the troubled, pray for us
    Hope of the sick, pray for us
    Patron of the dying, pray for us
    Terror of evil spirits, pray for us
    Protector of the Church, pray for us

  4. Ask Jesus for His grace and mercy.

    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

  5. Acknowledge God’s plan for Joseph.

    God made him master of his household and put him in charge of all that he owned.

  6. Conclude in prayer.

    O God, who in your inexpressible providence, were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as spouse of the most holy mother of your son. Grant we pray that we who revere him as our protector on earth may be worthy of his heavenly intercession through Christ our Lord. Amen.

After praying the litany, consider praying the following St. Joseph Prayer for Protection, which is thought to be from the first century AD. 

St. Joseph Prayer for Protection

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,

before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession,

and obtain for me from your Divine Son

all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,

I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;

I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart.

Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and

ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, patron of departing souls – pray for me.


Other St. Joseph Prayers

In addition to the Litany of St. Joseph and Prayer for Protection, you can also ask for St. Joseph’s intercession in your life with the 30-Day Prayer or commit to consecrating yourself to St. Joseph, similar to a Marian consecration.

Related Prayers

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