Memorial : 19 March
Joseph was born of the royal line of King David in the town of Bethlehem. He worked as a carpenter in Nazareth and was betrothed to Mary. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream telling him that Mary was with child, begotten of the Holy Spirit, and that Joseph should marry her and raise the Child and protect and provide for the Holy Family. Reassured by the angel's message, Joseph accepted the will of God and married Mary. Everything known about Joseph suggests he was poor, yet he provided for his family as the Angel had instructed. Joseph is mentioned several times in the Gospels in the early life of Jesus; however, by the time of Jesus' ministry and Passion, Joseph is no longer mentioned so it is assumed that he had already died by that point.
St. Joseph was a faithful, patient man, obedient to the demands of God and willingly accepting of hardships. Matthew calls him "a just man", illustrated by his loyalty in protecting and providing for his family. In 1870, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Joseph as the Patron of the universal Church, honoring his role of support, protection and guidance and named March 19 as "the [heavenly] birthday of St Joseph".
St. Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters, engineers, and fathers. He is the protector of the Church and the symbol for social justice.
"Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity." - Pope Pius IX
Memorial : 14 February
Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers, lived in the 9th century and were born into Greek nobility. Although their mother is believed to have been of Slavic descent, their names at birth were Constantine and Michael, Michael being older by 10 years. Both were well educated, Cyril becoming a scholar and Methodius a politician. They were called to religious life in different ways. Cyril served as a deacon with public duties; Methodius entered a contemplative monastery. However, they traveled together at times to different parts of the Roman empire on religious missions. At the request of the Prince of Moravia, the two brothers travelled to Moravia to instruct the Slavs of that area in the truths of the faith. Cyril, aided by his brother, used his great linguistic gifts to translate the Scriptures and the Liturgy into Slavonic, the first writings in that language, a legacy which we still treasure. The Cyrillic alphabet was also a result of Cyril's work. This use of the vernacular was instrumental in the conversion of the peoples. Slavonic is still used in the Byzantine Church, though not spoken popularly now. The brothers prepared the Church to grow by training native clergy and new missionaries. St. Cyril died first, in Rome, while his brother continued their work for 16 years in spite of opposition and even imprisonment for 3 years by a Germanic faction. Sts. Cyril and Methodious are known as the Apostles of the Slavs and are patron saints of the ecumenical movement.
Let us venerate our two Holy Teachers, who, by translating the Holy Scriptures, gave us a fountain of God's knowledge, from which we abundantly draw to the present day. Therefore, we exalt you, Saints Cyril and Methodius, as you stand before the throne of the Most High and fervently intercede for the salvation of our souls.