Photo by Zenit's Vatican Correspondent Deborah Castellano Lubov

FEATURE: The Feast of St. Joseph — Also Father’s Day — Which Would Have Been Celebrated in Rome

San Giuseppe Prega per Noi—St. Joseph Pray for us! Here’s What to Look Forward to Again Next Year…

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ZENIT wishes all fathers and all with the namesake day of St Joseph many best wishes today, on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19th. To commemorate the day, we bring you, from our archives, to the annual celebration which would have taken place, if Italy were not in lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, for the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). Next year, Romans will make the celebration just as great as it had been in the past.

The Italian Bishops’ Conference has invited faithful around the country to remember the feast day by going to their windows with a light or candle at 9 pm this evening and saying the rosary together.

Pope Francis has also encouraged faithful to join in this initiative.

In the meantime, reminisce thinking about this celebration, and anticipate how next year no one in the Italian capital will take St. Joseph’s Day for granted…


FEATURE: The Feast of St. Joseph — Also Father’s Day — Celebrated in Rome

The Feast of St. Joseph was celebrated throughout Italy and the entire world on March 19.  The weather in Rome started with hail at 8:00 in the morning, followed by strong rain for several hours. Yet at 3:30 in the afternoon when clergy, religious, parishioners, pilgrims, and visitors gathered in front of the Basilica Parrochiale of San Giuseppe Trionfale in Rome the sun started to break through.  As the statue was carried outside to be the focal point of the procession, the sun shined so very bright that sunglasses were needed.

The procession was led by the Band of the Gendarmeria of the Vatican and presided over by His Excellency, Monsignor Paolo Ricciardi, Bishop for the Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Rome.

This beautiful procession started at the Basilica San Giuseppe Trionfale and continued through the neighborhoods of Prati and Trionfale with deep devotion, prayers and singing by family members of all ages and anziani (respected, revered older senior citizens), young people, babies in strollers, children on the shoulder of their fathers, little children making the sign of the cross and praying along with their parents and nonni (grandparents).

Traffic stopped, Rome transit buses waited patiently with the passengers on the buses craning to see the beautiful statue of St. Joseph with the child Jesus. Store keepers and restaurant employees and patrons exited their stores to join in the devotion. Romans opened their window shutters to watch, and stepped out to their terraces anxious to be part of this beautiful tradition. Beautiful songs and prayers, known by all, were recited together in Italian showing the strong devotion to Saint Joseph and of course asking “San Giuseppe prega per noi”, translation–Saint Joseph pray for us

The prayerful group extended to at least seven city blocks in length, and concluded at the parish where Mass was held.  This parish conducted a program for three days prior to the Solemnity of St. Joseph which included prayers, Masses, a bicycle event for the entire family and community, music and theater in preparation for this feast day. Later in the evening the sound of fireworks could be heard throughout Rome in celebration of this feast day.

St. Joseph is the patron saint of many causes, especially fathers, families, married couples, children, pregnant women, workers, craftsmen, against doubt, the dying, and a happy and holy death. He is also the guardian and protector of the Universal Church. He has two feast days: St. Joseph the Husband of Mary on March 19th, and St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st.


For March 19, St. Joseph’s Feast Day, Zenit wishes a warm St. Joseph’s Day to all Joseph’s and Josephine’s and to all the fathers worldwide 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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