23 January: Feast of the Espousal of Mary and Joseph

I learned from a friend that today is – was – is the Feast of the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.

I found an old office in an early rendering of the Breviarium Romanum HERE.

Here is are orations:

Famulis tuis, quaesumus Domine, coelestis gratiae munus impertire: ut quibus beatae Virginis partus extitit salutis exordium, Desponsationis eius votiva solemnitas pacic tribuat incrementum.

And…

Sanctissimae Genitricis tuae Sponsi, quaesumus Domine, meritis adiuvemur: ut quod possibilitas nostra non obtinet, eius nobis intercessione donetur.

You might offer your own perfect, yet smooth attempts in English.

And say a prayer for Mary, who clued me in and whose birthday it is.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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15 Responses to 23 January: Feast of the Espousal of Mary and Joseph

  1. stephen c says:

    Bestow, O Lord, we pray, on the servants of your household the gift of heavenly grace; so that all those to whom the newborn child, born to the Blessed Virgin, made clear a beginning of salvation, may be granted an increase of peace in this celebration of Her Espousal.

    We pray O Lord that we may be helped by the merits of Thy Most Holy Mother; that all that is needed to remedy our failings be supplied to us through Her intercession.

  2. deaconjohn1987 says:

    I posted about this on my blog this morning but only had the Collect for Our Lady and Saint Joseph. Check it out here:
    http://tridentine-mass.blogspot.com/2017/01/saint-raymond-of-pennafort-saint.html

  3. stephen c says:

    We pray O Lord that we may be helped by the merits of the Betrothed of Thy Most Holy Mother; that all that is needed to remedy our failings be supplied to us through His intercession.

  4. Clemens Romanus says:

    I believe the Oblates of St. Joseph still keep this feast. I’ll dig up their proper offices when I get home.

  5. Y2Y says:

    IIRC, this feast, also called simply “Espousals of Our Lady” was never part of the general Roman calendar, but was one celebrated in “Particular Places and Congregations”. It is often found in supplemental or appendix sections of older handmissals.

  6. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Catholic Encyclopedia has a nice 2 paragraphs on the development of the Feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary HERE

    The word “espousal” in today’s dictionaries often appears somewhat undecided in definition and offers an either/or type presentation – vacillating between engagement and marriage ; and betrothal and marriage.

    Catholic Encyclopedia’s article alludes to the word “espousal” in anticipation of the perpetual virginity of our Blessed Mother.

    It can a little upsetting /discouraging sometimes to come across that oversimplification appearing in frequent modern renderings of scripture which says (Matt 1:18) our Blessed Mother was “engaged” to Joseph. The operative word before that , had commonly been “betrothed.”

    It never should have been changed. “Betrothal” in Jewish law is markedly different from “engagement” as it is understood today. Effectively, in the eyes of the law the man and woman were already married, but there was a period of waiting before the Home-Taking occurred :

    A couple of snippets from the true sense of “betrothal” offered by Jewish Encyclopedia :

    The term “betrothal” in Jewish law must not be understood in its modern sense; that is, the agreement of a man and a woman to marry, by which the parties are not, however, definitely bound, but which may be broken or dissolved without formal divorce. Betrothal or engagement such as this is not known either to the Bible or to the Talmud, and only crept in among the medieval and modern Jews through the influence of the example of the Occidental nations among whom they dwelt, without securing a definite status in rabbinical law.

    . . . but when the agreement had been entered into, it was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that of actual cohabitation.

    The root (“to betroth”), from which the Talmudic abstract (“betrothal”) is derived, must be taken in this sense; i.e., to contract an actual though incomplete marriage. In two of the passages in which it occurs the betrothed woman is directly designated as “wife” (II Sam. iii. 14, “my wife whom I have betrothed” (“erasti”), and Deut. xxii. 24, where the betrothed is designated as “the wife of his neighbor”). In strict accordance with this sense the rabbinical law declares that the betrothal is equivalent to an actual marriage and only to be dissolved by a formal divorce.

    Weighing that stuff must’ve gnawed away at the heart of good St. Joseph . . . for a while. . . until God’s holy Angel enlightened him.

  7. Cafea Fruor says:

    Fr. Z, that painting in your post is really lovely. Do you happen to know who the artist is?

    [It is by Luca Giordano and it is in the Louvre.]

  8. Happy birthday to Mary, we share the same.

  9. Fr. Kelly says:

    How about:
    Impart to Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace; so that those to whom the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin, gave the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her Espousal may grant an increase of peace. (if that pacic is to be read pacis)

    We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be so aided by the merits of the spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother that what our power cannot obtain may be given to us through his intercession.

  10. Wendy says:

    Y2Y:
    Only if you consider the United States, Canada, and the British Isles (and its possessions) (aka the English speaking world) as “Particular Places”, for this feast is in their Catholic Almanacs for the 23rd of January from at least 1849 to 1905. Not having looked through any subsequent Almanacs, I don’t know when it ended up in appendix sections.

    The Irish Almanac calls it “The Desponsation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Lovely word.

  11. Y2Y says:

    “Y2Y:
    Only if you consider the United States, Canada, and the British Isles (and its possessions) (aka the English speaking world) as “Particular Places”, for this feast is in their Catholic Almanacs for the 23rd of January from at least 1849 to 1905. Not having looked through any subsequent Almanacs, I don’t know when it ended up in appendix sections.

    The Irish Almanac calls it “The Desponsation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Lovely word.”

    My source is a 1949 hand missal published in Montreal, where it is listed in the appendix.

    The real question here is why this feast was downgraded in 1962.

  12. Clemens Romanus says:

    January 23
    The Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph
    Feast

    Holy Father, you joined together by a virginal bond the glorious Mother of your Son and the just man, St. Joseph, that they might be faithful cooperators in the mystery of the Word Incarnate. Grant that we who are united with you by the bond of baptism may live more intimately our union with Christ and may walk more joyfully in the way of love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

  13. Y2Y says:

    “The Irish Almanac calls it “The Desponsation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Lovely word.”

    I agree, although I am certain that I have never encountered that word before.

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    ‘Desponsation’ seems a lovely and also straightforward ‘Englishing’ of ‘desponsatio’, a noun already in use in the Vulgate: “desponsationis” in Canticle Of Canticles (Song Of Solomon) 3:11 and St. Jeremias 2:2 (translated “espousals” in the online Douay-Rheims version in both cases) – but when first, and how widely, ‘desponsation’ was used, I do not find as easily…

    A matter I have not looked into properly, is the status of ‘betrothal’ in Catholic England, but the Edward IV Wikipedia article, for example, includes, “The grounds for Titulus Regius, passed to justify the accession of Richard of Gloucester, were that Edward had been contracted to marry another woman prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. Lady Eleanor Butler (a young widow, daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury) and Edward were alleged to have been precontracted; both parties were dead by this time, but a clergyman (named only by Philippe de Commines as Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells), claimed to have carried out the ceremony.”

  15. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Fagher Z, I neglected to thank you on “the day”. I was–am–grateful to have the proper prayers for this feast. The old breviary that you found on Goggle is interesting: I have a general interest in the history of the Roman Breviary . . .