Joseph vs. Joshua

Well, well, well. In what many pundits are calling the first upset of Lent Madness 2020, Herman of Alaska dispatched Elizabeth of Hungary yesterday 58% to 42%. This means that the first matchup of the Saintly Sixteen has been finalized as Herman will face Thomas More for a shot at the Elate Eight.

Today, it’s back to the Bible as Joseph — no, not the Israelite patriarch, but the “father” of Jesus — squares off against Joshua of Promised Land fame. Will Joseph be buried upside down? Or will the walls come a-tumblin’ down on Joshua. That’s the question of the day as the First Round continues. Go vote!


Worldwide, thousands of churches, cathedrals, cities, educational facilities, religious orders, hospitals, products, institutions, streets, regions, even sports teams are named for Joseph. Art, iconology, music, and books are dedicated to him or feature him. He looms large in Christianity and in the story of Jesus. He is an important saint and mentor, and his impact on our world is undeniable.

Nonetheless, the documented details about Joseph are limited. We do not know when Joseph was born, and scholars believe he died sometime after the twelve-year-old Jesus’ visit to the temple but before the baptism of the thirty-year-old Jesus. Joseph’s exact age is undetermined; however, his depictions usually show a kindly middle-aged or older man.

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Joseph was a descendant of the great King David. Joseph was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and lived in Nazareth. He lived his life in strict observance of the Jewish tradition. He was the earthly father to Jesus, teaching him the trade of a carpenter, guiding him in the religious traditions, and caring for him and his mother. As such, Joseph’s contributions to Christianity and to Jesus’ life are unsurpassed.

Joseph teaches us that God will help clear our doubts. Tradition holds that, upon learning that Mary was pregnant, Joseph considers ending his betrothal to her. Showing his strength of character and humility to God, he obeys the word of an angel who orders him to care and keep her.

Following the birth of Jesus, he obeys another angel’s instructions to travel to Egypt, escaping the wrath of the cruel Herod and bringing Jesus out of harm’s way. In time, Joseph returns with his family to Nazareth, settling into the life of a tradesman and observant Jew.

Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, stepfathers, carpenters, craftsmen, engineers, working people, families, immigrants, pilgrims, travelers, and realtors. He is also the patron of numerous countries and cities throughout the world; San Jose is the most common place-name in the world. Pray to Joseph for a happy death, to deter doubt, to halt hesitation—and when buying a house.

Collect for Joseph
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Neva Rae Fox



The guy who saved Israel from slavery. The one who literally parted the Red Sea to lead the people to safety. The first one in generations who spoke with God. Yup, Moses. That’s who Joshua followed as leader of Israel. It’s like having to take the stage after Beyoncé.

Joshua, son of Nun, was Moses’ right-hand man from the moment they left Egypt. This was no small task. When Moses went up the mountain to receive God’s Commandments? Joshua was there. When Moses would speak to God in the Tabernacle? Joshua was there. Every extraordinary step of the way as Moses led the people, Joshua was right alongside him.

When they first approached the Promised Land, it was Joshua and Caleb alone who advised that the Israelites should proceed forward. And for that, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from their whole generation to be allowed to enter Canaan—an honor denied to even Moses himself.

When it was time to choose a successor, the choice was easy for Moses. Even his own children couldn’t measure up to the leadership potential of Joshua.

After leaving slavery and wandering in the desert for forty years, Joshua still believed God’s promise. Just as Moses had parted the Red Sea, Joshua parted the Jordan and led the people of Israel into the Promised Land.

The story of what comes next—of Bronze Age warfare, the conquest of nations, the cruelty of war is uncomfortable for us. And yet, in the midst of a very culturally rooted story are some powerful universal messages. We see the power of Joshua’s trust in God. We hear a message of a God who will suspend the very laws of nature—suspending the sun in the sky—for his people. We hear of unexpected people like Rahab being entrusted by God and Joshua with the salvation of the people of God.

Joshua, which means “The Lord saves,” led the journey of an oppressed people living in slavery to those who live in the land promised to them. How important is Joshua to the story? Generations later, God makes a plan to intervene and save the people again, using a child who is given the name Yeshua—a form of the name Joshua. God saves.

Collect for Joshua
Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Joshua, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with him attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—David Hansen


Joseph vs. Joshua

  • Joseph (73%, 6,324 Votes)
  • Joshua (27%, 2,318 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,642

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Joseph: Asia [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]
Joshua: Eastern icon of Joshua (

159 Comments to "Joseph vs. Joshua"

  1. March 4, 2020 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    Jesus’s stepdad or Moses’s right-hand man?
    You decide!

    • Deirdre's Gravatar Deirdre
      March 4, 2020 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I decided in favor of Joseph. It must not have been easy to play second fiddle to Mary’s son.

      • Martha's Gravatar Martha
        March 4, 2020 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Or to play second fiddle to Moses? If Joshua had not been so faithful, would we have Joseph to vote for today?

        • Donna Kerry's Gravatar Donna Kerry
          March 4, 2020 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

          Good point!

      • March 4, 2020 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

        who could vote against a guy called Joe?

      • March 4, 2020 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Do you think he retreated to the roof often?

      • Monique Lowman's Gravatar Monique Lowman
        March 4, 2020 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Im going with Joseph, what a good man to have as an earthly father

    • Renee D's Gravatar Renee D
      March 4, 2020 - 11:38 am | Permalink

      You are hysterical! I love your cat memes!

    • Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
      March 4, 2020 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

      This wasn’t really hard, but it was good to read about Joshua and his support for Moses and his people, and his entry into Canaan – Joseph, however, is an almost universal model of family leader and artisan, a simple man who followed, and trusted, God’s word, cared for his family . . . an impressive list of attributes for living an honorable life – MBB

    • Beth Landrum's Gravatar Beth Landrum
      March 4, 2020 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      This was difficult to decide both special men but I would have liked Joseph as a father or husband. My father was not there,

    • Jeanette's Gravatar Jeanette
      March 8, 2020 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

      I vote for Joseph because of his profound effect in the life of Jesus.

  2. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 4, 2020 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    No warrior he, yet his courage was strong
    Young Mary he wed, whom another would wrong.
    With his eye for the true
    Did his young son imbue:
    To Joseph today do I offer my song.

    • Renee D's Gravatar Renee D
      March 4, 2020 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      Your limericks are the first comments I read. Enjoying them!

      • Henrietta L. Lavengood's Gravatar Henrietta L. Lavengood
        March 5, 2020 - 6:25 am | Permalink

        I agree, John Cabot’s limericks are charming and reflect so much spiritual Joy!

  3. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 4, 2020 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Considering Joseph was a real person and Joshua is just a character in a story, albeit an important and great one, I’m voting Joseph.

    • Patricia Evans's Gravatar Patricia Evans
      March 4, 2020 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      How does one “know” that Joshua is a character in a story and not a real person?

    • March 4, 2020 - 8:42 am | Permalink

      If, and it’s a big “IF”, either of these two is a real person, it’s likely Joshua. Since Mary’s first-born was aptly given his name, my vote goes to Joshua.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 4, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      On what authority do you make this claim? As far as I can tell, we only know about either man from stories in the Bible.

  4. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 4, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    The father of Jesus…….

  5. Jada Rain's Gravatar Jada Rain
    March 4, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Joshua, oh, you were super great
    And you could never hate,
    To you, I have everything to owe,
    To me, you shall never be a foe.

    • Diane Mc's Gravatar Diane Mc
      March 4, 2020 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Jada, I totally agree. This was a really hard, both men of incredible faith. It is nice that they have named a lovely cactus tree after Joshua. It provides shelter and even blooms in the desert, a tree with faith, strength and purpose. I voted for Joshua.

  6. March 4, 2020 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Joseph, for all the brave dads who get up every day and do the unexciting work of raising a family. They aren’t the men who people write great literature about, but they are good men who love deeply and wisely. And he was a kind man, even before God told him to have no fear in marrying Mary. He was not going to publicly shame her. So, he is a hero to me.

    • Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
      March 4, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      Ellen – I was thinking the same thing. I appreciate Joseph’s compassionate response to Mary, even pre-angel.

      But I loved your reflection about fathers everywhere. So in honor of my father, now at peace with his Creator – yes, I’ll be voting today for Joseph.

    • March 4, 2020 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Me too Ellen. I have known some really wonderful men who stepped in and did a great job loving and raising children not of their own genetic material. Some female friends also. In honor of all these folks I voted for Joseph.

  7. Loretta's Gravatar Loretta
    March 4, 2020 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Joshua had me at “It’s like having to take the stage after Beyoncé.”

  8. Librarycat's Gravatar Librarycat
    March 4, 2020 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    The tradition of St. Joseph’s table and St. Joseph’s bread is one I treasure. I remember the Italian bakeries in NYC selling the bread in quantities around the time of his feast. Get to the bakery a little late and you missed it! I have many wonderful memories of gatherings in St. Joseph’s Hall at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in NYC.
    St. Joseph!

  9. Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
    March 4, 2020 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Joseph is great but…

    You gotta have some faith to follow a dude aimlessly for 40 years and still convince everyone else it’s a good idea. It’s Joshua for me today.

    • Sandra Hunnicutt's Gravatar Sandra Hunnicutt
      March 4, 2020 - 11:26 am | Permalink

      I totally agree. An unsung hero!

  10. March 4, 2020 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I have to vote Joseph for all the step-fathers that choose to be a dad when they don’t have to be.

  11. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    March 4, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I was told by a scholar of religion that there is a tradition in some places that Joseph opens the back gate of Paradise so that all the unbaptised infants can come in. Seems like something he would do!

    • Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
      March 4, 2020 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      I haven’t come across this before, but it is a beautiful tradition. Thank you for sharing.

      • SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
        March 4, 2020 - 10:12 am | Permalink

        Might only be a tradition with no real authority or written orders!

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 4, 2020 - 11:58 pm | Permalink

        This tradition persuaded me to vote for Joseph. I’m also thinking about moving.

  12. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    March 4, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Have to vote for my namesake (and my grandfather’s too).

  13. Jennie's Gravatar Jennie
    March 4, 2020 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    A man who listens to his dreams will always get my vote.

  14. John B Blackwood's Gravatar John B Blackwood
    March 4, 2020 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Joshua, right hand man to Moses, spoke to God, parted the Red Sea and stopped the Sun with a lot of help from God) and completed the journey of the of the Israelites to the Promised Land…and yet, what could top being the father of Jesus Christ? I’m going with Joseph.

  15. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 4, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Really no contest today. Joseph was faithful, just, humble, determined to do the right thing even before the angelic message by divorcing Mary quietly to avoid public humiliation, then told by God to marry Mary does so, raising Jesus as his own. Yes, Joshua lived in difficult times, but Joseph wins for me.

    • SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
      March 4, 2020 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Divorcing Mary, quietly , never heard of this one before. Thought marriage was supposed to be forever and ever, a sin for some to DIVORCE,

      • Kelley's Gravatar Kelley
        March 4, 2020 - 10:44 am | Permalink

        Since you’ve left this comment at least twice, here’s the verse from Matthew 1:18-19 (NIV), “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Under the laws at that time, he could have divorced her for the supposed adultery (since she was pregnant and he knew it wasn’t by him). He not only could have divorced her, he could have had her put to death. His kindness and faithfulness saved Mary and Jesus multiple times. And as an adopted child, I will always vote for the man who raised Jesus as his own!

      • Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
        March 4, 2020 - 10:59 am | Permalink

        Matthew 1:19

      • Valerie's Gravatar Valerie
        March 4, 2020 - 11:21 am | Permalink

        I think Fiona meant divorce in the sense of breaking a betrothal to marry, which was a very big deal at that time and a promise not lightly broken. Because Mary was pregnant, Joseph could have humiliated her to everyone or even asked to have her stoned to death, but instead he was considering ending the betrothal quietly. This was an act of a compassionate and gentle man to whom no angel had appeared as yet. The angel spoke to Joseph after this decision, telling Joseph to go ahead and marry Mary and be the father that Jesus would need.

  16. March 4, 2020 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    And everyone knows Joseph is the GREATEST REAL ESTATE SALESMAN! Bury his statue (preferably upside down) in the back yard and your run down old house in a catholic ethnic neighborhood will sell PRONTO! Ours have never gone unsold! Joshua just led a Marching Trumpet Band to knock down walls.

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 4, 2020 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      It worked for my Episcopalian mother in an upper-WASP suburb. The house had been on the market for months. Mom buried St. Joseph’s statue upside down and the house sold in a couple of weeks.

    • Nancy C's Gravatar Nancy C
      March 4, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      I can vouch, on three different houses I’ve sold over the years – it’s Joseph for me!

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 4, 2020 - 11:03 am | Permalink

      Yep, I have a 3 3/4-inch St Joseph figure in my house right now, waiting to be buried upside down, because I am getting ready to sell the house and my neighbor told me about this tradition. Evidently being a builder makes Joseph care about the fate of houses and their owners! I suspect you are supposed to ask for his intercession, as well as bury Joseph’s image, and rely upon God’s help. My neighbor tells me that her little St Joseph statue has helped to sell 8 houses. She is descended from Mexican ancestors, so I had assumed this was a Mexican or Mexican-American tradition. But the Anglo names of commenters before me suggest that it’s more widespread.

      I see Joseph as embodying the virtue of humility, in addition to his other saintly qualities. Where I come from, there are many people who count the number of weeks between a wedding and the birth when a first child comes soon after a marriage, and I suspect that there were people like that in Joseph’s day, as well. He obeyed God, despite the risk to his reputation. Also, remember that sex outside marriage was a capital crime for a woman, in those days. He could have had Mary stoned to death, but he chose to love and care for her and her baby, instead. Joseph gets my vote today.

  17. March 4, 2020 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Never have understood the need some Christians have to co-opt the heroes of the Hebrew Scriptures and turn them into supposedly Christian saints. If Lenten Madness is a competition amongst the saints, Joshua isn’t even a contender.

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 4, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      Actually, a reasonable number of the contenders aren’t saints. Harriet Tubman comes to mind. Check the bracket for more.

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        March 4, 2020 - 10:01 am | Permalink

        Actually, all of the contenders are recognized as saints by one or more Christian denominations. Harriet Tubman is commemorated in the Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints on July 20th, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, and Sojourner Truth.

        For more details, see Note that rule #1 states that nominees must be dead (so no votes for Elvis, please!)

        • SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
          March 4, 2020 - 10:17 am | Permalink

          Divorcing Mary, quietly , never heard of this one before. Thought marriage was supposed to be forever and ever, a sin for some to DIVORCE! Like to offer to vote for ELVIS,

          • Sue Goodman's Gravatar Sue Goodman
            March 4, 2020 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

            The relationship was somewhere between our customs of engagement and marriage, not quite the same as either of them. And the option to divorcing her “quietly” was to drag her into the market-place and have her stoned to death for adultery.
            I voted for Joseph as a faithful (step)father who helped bring up the Son of God in an ordinary, humdrum family; he believed in Jesus’ divine origins and lived out those beliefs.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 4, 2020 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

      If I recall correctly, one of Jesus’s accomplishments during the period between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection was the harrowing of the underworld when he released the righteous souls to Paradise. Upon their release a number of Old Testament figures received the status of saints. Joshua is one such.

      In past years other Hebrew Scriptures figures have been on the bracket. Esther made it to the Final Four in 2018. Sarah was on the 2017 bracket and got past one round but lost to Franz Jaggerstatter. Anne (mother of Mary) and Simeon, who was a very old man when Jesus was born, have also been contenders.

      Lent Madness is a group of 32 holy people, not necessarily with “St.” before their names.

  18. Siobhan's Gravatar Siobhan
    March 4, 2020 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Joseph followed the guidance of the angels and showed great loyalty. Joshua had to lead and hold the Jewish people together and put up with all the difficulties of disgruntled folks ,showing he had great strength and focused determination to see his task through. Joshua has my vote

  19. Jill Reynolds's Gravatar Jill Reynolds
    March 4, 2020 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    As for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord!
    Also just read the book, pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
    About Joshua and God’s conquest of q Promised Land

    • Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
      March 4, 2020 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the book recommendation.

  20. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    March 4, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    It’s gotta be Joseph!!!

  21. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 4, 2020 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Joseph, that quietly supportive patron saint of dads, gets my vote.

  22. Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
    March 4, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve spent most of my career as second in command (so to speak), and been fortunate/blessed to follow wonderful leaders who made me a better one. Joshua has great appeal. For my dad, though, who has long lived among the angels, it’s Joseph today.

  23. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 4, 2020 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    In honor of my wonderful son born on St. Joseph’s day, I vote for Joseph

  24. John's Gravatar John
    March 4, 2020 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Some years ago, during a Bible study centered on Luke’s Infancy Narrative, the facilitator, Bill Kelley, S.J., noted we should consider the influence Joseph and Mary had on Jesus’ developments, especially in terms of his empathy and humility. Coupled with the fact I had a brother, Joseph Damien, who only lived overnight, had to go with Joe.

  25. KIm W's Gravatar KIm W
    March 4, 2020 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    As an engineer who has a son studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica, I have to go with Joseph. This is my first year taking part in this competition and I’m finding that it is very difficult to choose, frequently coming down to some personal connection such as why I’m voting for Joseph.

    • March 4, 2020 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      I love what Joseph is as a father….all fathers can take inspiration from him. His qualities of protectiveness, patience and faith in things unknown (led only by an angel) give an example to fathers everywhere.

  26. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 4, 2020 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Joseph’s job was not an easy one, as Mr. Bean teaches us.

  27. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 4, 2020 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Joseph’s tasks were not easy, as Mr. Bean teaches us.

    • March 4, 2020 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      Pure joy! Thank you for sharing. MJ

    • March 4, 2020 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      My absolute favorite Mr. Bean scenario! I was torn, but reminding me of this is good enough to push me over to Joseph’s side. Anyone who can deal with marching bands, daleks and dinosaurs has my vote.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 4, 2020 - 11:12 am | Permalink

        Wonderful video, but evidently Mr. Bean does not know that a Dalek is supposed to say “EXTERMINATE!”

      March 4, 2020 - 10:33 am | Permalink

      THANK YOU PEG for Mr Bean

    • Granny's Gravatar Granny
      March 4, 2020 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!

    • March 4, 2020 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

      For all the quiet men in the background of the churches (the building fixers and repairers and counters and treasurers and so much more), I must vote for Joseph. If you can, get a hold of Ann Weems “Kneeling in Bethlehem” and read “Getting to the Front of the Stable”. Thanks also to Peg for Mr. Bean – precious and laugh out loud funny! That’s why Joseph needs to be in front 🙂

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 4, 2020 - 1:56 pm | Permalink


  28. March 4, 2020 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Even though I admire Joseph as a good, caring man devoted to his wife, family and faith, my vote goes to Joshua for historical reasons. If Joshua had not led the children of Israel across the Jordan river, there would have been no history of David’s line. Joshua set in motion the generations leading to Joseph’s birth.

  29. Margaret Dunn's Gravatar Margaret Dunn
    March 4, 2020 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    St Joseph’s Day is March 19. There is a potential for President Joe! I sit on “St Joseph’s side” at Mass and ask him to watch over all Dads.

  30. L's Gravatar L
    March 4, 2020 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Joshua. We’ve got an election in progress (have you noticed?) and ALL the candidates (sorry Tulsi, forgot about you again) are over 70. (In literature as in life) I’m thinking sidekick with a decent finishing sprint is a crucial role.

  31. March 4, 2020 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Joseph, the uber-mensch — who else?

  32. Ellie Tupper's Gravatar Ellie Tupper
    March 4, 2020 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    For foster dads everywhere (and for my late brother), Joseph all the way.

  33. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 4, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Joshua was faithfulness and willing to risk is appealing, but has to be Joseph for me. When my late wife and I told her daughter that we’d gotten engaged, the first words out of her mouth were: “Stepdad!”

  34. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 4, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    No contest here. As faithful as Joshua was, he was no match for Jo-Jo.

  35. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 4, 2020 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    I like to keep track of which Celebrity Bloggers are advocating for which saints. Interesting that both yesterday and today Neva Rae Fox went head-to-head with David Hansen. You both, by the way, produce wonderful write-ups for your saints. Thanks — Lent Madness would be nothing without the Celebrity Bloggers!

    • March 4, 2020 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Kathy

    • John S.'s Gravatar John S.
      March 4, 2020 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Hear! Hear! Well said, Kathy in Nicaragua

  36. Kenneth Albrecht's Gravatar Kenneth Albrecht
    March 4, 2020 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph. As a father, I didn’t know he was our patron. I think this carpenter had much to do with his upbringing Also, I once belonged to a parish church named St. Joseph.

    • Karen A's Gravatar Karen A
      March 4, 2020 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Coming from the same ST Joseph’s, my vote is easy! Glad to see another local participant! Love lent madness!

  37. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 4, 2020 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Joseph today, as he did what needed to be done for his family, including being immigrants in a foreign country.

  38. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 4, 2020 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Poor Joseph. He always gets treated as a sort of spiritual eunuch: “spouse of the virgin mother.” He was, actually, her husband. However, that whole consummation issue, legitimizing a marriage, is a problem. What to do? Was it a real marriage? I’m heartened to hear that Joseph protects house purchases; does he also handle re-financing? With interest rates falling due to the botched federal preparation for coronavirus, should we all be selling short on the stock market? A few months back there was an uproar over people calling Joseph and Mary “refugees” for fleeing to Egypt; a certain sector of the polity didn’t want a connection drawn between Joseph and Mary border jumping and immigrants and sojourners in this country. Some talking heads on the bushy-tailed channel insisted that Joseph was well off, this was merely a bureaucratic trip, Joseph was the best of men, he had all the answers, he earned his wealth through real estate, laundering money for Herod. And yet the nation’s nativity scenes told a different story and insisted on the power of images. So which image do I want to choose today? I’m not going to vote for a “stepfather”; he has to be a real father, and what I mean by that is he has to be fully part of a marriage and a family. He can’t just be a bit player cast to fill out a hole in the play. He can’t be the comic cosmic cuckold. There’s a wonderful Incan image of Joseph and Jesus, both resplendent in solar adorned textiles. Joseph is practically the sun god, and he holds the lily typically associated with Mary. So in honor of an image that sees Joseph as blending both virility and femininity, I will vote for Joseph. As for Joshua, the spy, the figure who led the conquest against an indigenous population, sort of an early Andrew Jackson Indian Killer, nope, just nope. Here’s a prayer for all fathers today, that they be faithful to their families, and present.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 4, 2020 - 11:56 am | Permalink

      If I remember correctly, Jesus had siblings (Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56; thank you, Google). There are those who believe Mary was a virgin all her life and say that Joseph was an elderly widower with children by a previous marriage when he married Mary, I don’t think so, and neither does the writer of the Gospel of Matthew: “…he [Joseph] took her [Mary] as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.” (Chapter One, verses 24-25, New Revised Standard Version.)

  39. Brenda's Gravatar Brenda
    March 4, 2020 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Tough choice! Joseph, a peaceful man, protected and loved Mary and our Saviour. Joshua, warrior, protected and loved God’s people, Israel. I’m going with Joshua the fighter today.

  40. March 4, 2020 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    What has happened to our friend Oliver this year? I miss him.

  41. March 4, 2020 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’m with Leslie. Joshua paved the road for Joseph and his faith never doubted God. A good example for our day.

  42. March 4, 2020 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Joseph, patron saint of insignificant others…

  43. Amanda Williams's Gravatar Amanda Williams
    March 4, 2020 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    For my Dad, and from one of the many San Joses, I proudly cast my vote today!

  44. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 4, 2020 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    “And there is Joseph…the man who left his mark on the Son of God” So Mary Reed Newland concludes the chapter on St. Joseph in The Saint Book (New York: Seabury, 1979), p. 54.

  45. JoAnn Lumley's Gravatar JoAnn Lumley
    March 4, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    My grandfather, Simeon, was a carpenter. The tool chest he built for the back of his horse drawn wagon now sits in my daughter’s family room. Carpenters unite, I voted for Joseph .

  46. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    March 4, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Both are heroes, Joseph micro level and Joshua macro level. I voted for Joseph, because of his relevance to the concept that family is who loves you and raises you rather than a shared genetics. In our hurting world right now we need more micro level heroes.

  47. March 4, 2020 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Brilliant match up! It reminds me of the importance of humility in God’s plan.

  48. Pastor Rick's Gravatar Pastor Rick
    March 4, 2020 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    As Father to an adopted son I share the loving work of Joseph. It has been a privilege, though hardly saintly.

  49. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 4, 2020 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Thought this was an exercise in learning about the Saints? Never knew the OT people were canonized…. (they’re not).

    • Joscelin's Gravatar Joscelin
      March 4, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      It’s my understanding that Lent Madness uses the term “saint” in the broad context of heroes of the faith, not limited to those who have been formally canonized.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 4, 2020 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Nope, it’s those who have been canonized by one of the churches that canonize (RC, Episcopalian, Lutheran).

  50. Jenny Wall's Gravatar Jenny Wall
    March 4, 2020 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Joseph, because you can’t convince me that there was not a time in Jesus’ early teens that he didn’t go after him with “You’re not my REAL Dad!”

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 4, 2020 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Depending on when/if Mary and Joseph sat Jesus down and had a talk with the lad about how he came to be.

      Unless Jesus was blessed with divine intelligence (pun intended) and already knew the story of his conception, that must have been quite a conversation.

    • Heather White's Gravatar Heather White
      March 4, 2020 - 8:43 pm | Permalink

      I think Luke 2:41-52 could be thought of as Jesus saying “You’re not my REAL Dad!” When Joseph and Mary finally find him after he remains at the temple in Jerusalem after the family’s Passover visit, Jesus says, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

  51. March 4, 2020 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Joseph seems to fade into the background after the visit to the temple. Today he gets my vote!

  52. Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
    March 4, 2020 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    The last uncle in my mother’s generation passed last month. In our family, the favorite names were John and Joseph. Uncle Joe was a bit of an enigma, but much loved by his family—all of us. I have always admired Joseph (step-dad extraordinaire to Jesus), so I guess we know where my vote goes today.

  53. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 4, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Voted for Joshua today, though both are worthy. Keeping with our tradition this year of voting for the early underdog, only yesterday Herman gratefully won!

  54. Fr Richard Asmussen's Gravatar Fr Richard Asmussen
    March 4, 2020 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Joseph stepdad what ever the children do or say we must LOVE them God said I must do.
    Joshua was a real person we must check our faith, faith, before we speak.!

  55. Katrina S Soto's Gravatar Katrina S Soto
    March 4, 2020 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    A tough choice between two men who had unwavering trust in God.

  56. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 4, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    In honor and memory of my Dad George, who loved his family deeply and who was a talented woodworker and craftsman, I voted for Joseph.

  57. Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
    March 4, 2020 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Joseph – my very favorite children’s nativity book is “Joseph’s Heart: A Story of Adoption” by Mary Clare Evans. What a wonderful way to include adoptive families into God’s story!

  58. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 4, 2020 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    If Joseph wins this round he will go against Elizabeth in the Saintly 16. She is his relative-in-law. Will there be strife in the Holy Family?

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      March 4, 2020 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      “What happens at the family Passover celebration?”
      “Who does Mary vote for?”

      All these questions, and many more, will be answered in the thrilling March 20th episode of Lent Madness, beginning at 8 AM Eastern.

      Don’t forget to tune in!

  59. Kent Doe's Gravatar Kent Doe
    March 4, 2020 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Joseph gets my vote – his Day is my Ordination Anniversary – hoho go Joe!

  60. Cheryl Colby's Gravatar Cheryl Colby
    March 4, 2020 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    If Joshua is Charlton Heston’s right hand man in the movie The Ten Commandments then he has to be real right? No movie or the internet has ever been wrong. Correct? LOL

  61. Sara's Gravatar Sara
    March 4, 2020 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Having recently read (and gifted for Xmas) the book Joseph” and the Three Gifts,” I’m inspired to vote for Joseph, rather than the OT hero that St Joe & St Mary named their son after.
    In case anyone is interested:

  62. Marla Moore's Gravatar Marla Moore
    March 4, 2020 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest so far for me. Joshua has that great song which is thought to have been sung by enslaved people dreaming of the wall coming down and allowing them freedom. But he was also a warrior fighting many battles. So this pacifist is going with Joseph.

  63. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 4, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Crap, I was hoping the 4 Elizabeths would make it to the Final. Oh well, Alaska is lovely this time of the year.
    When I was a little girl I thought St. Joseph’s aspirin were for Catholics only.
    (Baptist got Bayer) & for Rev Sonny’s partner, Joseph gets my vote today. (Welcome 2 both)

  64. Tom Simpson's Gravatar Tom Simpson
    March 4, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Joseph was a good man but does not come close to the major role and impact of Joshua. Just think of the name.

  65. Joscelin's Gravatar Joscelin
    March 4, 2020 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Have always had a soft spot for Joseph, so had to go for him, but David Hansen’s excellent write up on Joshua made it a tougher choice than I was expecting.

  66. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 4, 2020 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Joseph for the Golden Halo!

  67. March 4, 2020 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    As a stepmother…I am on team Joseph!

  68. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 4, 2020 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Joshua! His miracle is one of the most difficult to produce. He got a person in a leadership position to recognize merit over nepotism.

  69. Richard Blake's Gravatar Richard Blake
    March 4, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Toughest decision so far. I voted for Joseph, as Joshua was mostly 2nd in command. Neither Pence or Biden get full credit/blame(?) for Donald/Barack. O.

  70. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 4, 2020 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    I looked up the question whether OT patriarchs are considered saints. A Roman Catholic website says that at least Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose spiritual descendants all Christians are, according to the apostle Paul) are venerated as saints in the RC calendar.

    Wikipedia says Joshua is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, with Sept 1st feast day, but “Catholic Online” does not list Joshua’s name in its list of saints with a Sept 1 feast day, although they do refer to him as “St Joshua.” See (re the feast day) and (narrative about St Joshua). Personally, I gotta rely on our SEC’s determination that Joshua is a saint who qualifies for Lent Madness! Some of y’all are such skeptics.

  71. James N Lodwick's Gravatar James N Lodwick
    March 4, 2020 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know anyone considered Joshua a saint, even though he was an important Israelite figure and Jesus’ ancient namesake. Jospeh is a wonderful example of how to act in response to God’s promptings, even in difficult situations. No wonder he’s been chosen as patron saint by so many people and professions! I choose Joseph–no contest!

  72. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    March 4, 2020 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Joseph ignites the imagination like no other Bible personality. The few details we are provided point to a man of character and magnanimity and yet his story simply fades…. Then we imagine what Joseph the man must have been made of – to have been given the nuts and bolts task of raising lil’God Incarnate!
    Joshua is a great fella and I am grateful for his contribution to the Faith, but Joseph has my vote!

  73. Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
    March 4, 2020 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I was torn. Joshua’s story is very moving but I don’t believe that Joseph gets enough recognition. So, I voted for Joseph.

  74. Nolan's Gravatar Nolan
    March 4, 2020 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Joseph reminds me of my grandfather, who after losing the family farm to bankruptcy and the tragic death of his father paid his creditors back in full and owned his own construction company. He and my grandma, who finished her teaching degree after the farm was lost, made it through losing my eldest uncle at a young age and raising my father and other uncle (no small feat knowing both of them). I know him as a carpenter, and two wooden angels he made me sit in my home altar. Given recent self discovery, I will very likely be adopting one day if I decided to have children. And coming from an Anabaptist peace church background, Joshua’s conquest are not my favorite part of the Bible though I appreciate Origin’s reinterpretation of them as a metaphor for the later Joshua (Jesus)’s cleansing of our hearts from sin.

  75. Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
    March 4, 2020 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that no one yet has mentioned that Joshua slaughtered the men, women, and children of Jericho and several other hill towns, and then attributed it to God’s orders. Even if Joseph weren’t my chosen confirmation name, I would have picked this little-sung, gracious, kindly and fatherly man over the murderous bully.

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 4, 2020 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Bingo, Bill Bosies! Amazing, isn’t it, how often human desires and failings, when acted upon, are attributed to the will of God?

  76. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 4, 2020 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, “[t]he story of what comes next” is the main reason I try to avoid reading the historical books, and if Joshua is complicit in it, he’s not my man. If I get into it, I’ll be accused of being anti-Semitic, so let’s drop it. Joseph may be short on documentation, but even quasi-mythically he comes across as pretty admirable. Faced a tough situation with grace. (“Uh, how did you say Mary got pregnant? . . . Oh, really?” “Well, an angel told me to go ahead and marry her.” “Oh, this gets better and better.”)

  77. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    March 4, 2020 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    How about “neither of them,” and then I could vote for the one I didn’t vote for yesterday? Most days, I want to vote for both anyway. Not today, though.

  78. Lucia's Gravatar Lucia
    March 4, 2020 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Those words of Joshua gave him my vote

  79. March 4, 2020 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    My Son’s name is Joshua Joseph. Prominently displayed in his house is “As for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord!” Joseph needed an angel to guide him. Joshua had faith and Moses’ example.
    Voting for Joshua, but could just as easily chosen Joseph.

  80. Bea Fosmidre's Gravatar Bea Fosmidre
    March 4, 2020 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    As sure as God chose Mary to be the mother of our Lord, He chose Joseph to be His earthly father. For that reason alone, I chose Joseph.


  81. Rita Hill's Gravatar Rita Hill
    March 4, 2020 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    As an oblate in the Community of St. Joseph, I am casting my vote for that good and kind man. Also as a thank you to my good and kind husband Kirk who became a wonderful stepfather and step-grandfather!

  82. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 4, 2020 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    This one was a very easy choice for me. I voted for Joseph because:-
    a) Joseph is the patron saint of Canada, my home and adopted land;
    b) I am keenly aware of the importance of a loving, caring, morally strong male in the life of a child (yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the death of my own dearly loved father, who supported his children with love and care and taught us the importance of loyalty and faith);
    c) For a man of his time, Joseph was unique. His treatment of Mary proves that, and his utter obedience to God is an inspiration.

    For loving and faithful fathers everywhere – be they biological or step – I choose Joseph.

  83. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 4, 2020 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Peg S. for the Bean nativity scene!

  84. Joe Colomb's Gravatar Joe Colomb
    March 4, 2020 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I was tempted to vote for Joshua (My son’s name). But being a Joseph, I couldn’t. I suppose that I am not following Joseph’s example of fatherhood.

  85. Randy Marks's Gravatar Randy Marks
    March 4, 2020 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I was teaching our Senior High School Sunday school class years ago. I had a “brilliant” idea: let’s explore what Jesus was like as a teenager. I was still relatively new to our faith (having grown up an atheistic religious humanist in the Ethical Culture movement) and thus, only after convincing my co-teachers it was a good idea, suddenly realized that the Bible contains only story about Jesus as a teenager: him teaching in the temple (Luke 2:39-52). So I had to improvise and went to the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” ( My favorite story was when Joseph made a mistake on a chair for a rich man and Jesus fixed it!

  86. March 4, 2020 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Hands down Joseph – let’s hear it for the man who used his privilege, self-emptying for his family and all humankind through prayerful discernment. His story is not well know and is not his own – he took a backseat to his wife supporting the matriarchy and his beloved child.

  87. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 4, 2020 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    St. Joseph’s feast day is March 19th – he gets my vote!

  88. March 4, 2020 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Joseph was a decent man. He has my respect.

  89. March 4, 2020 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    This was an easy one for me. For eight years, I was a chaplain at a St. Joseph’s Hospital which was sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

  90. Noelle's Gravatar Noelle
    March 4, 2020 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

    How hard was it to find that your bride-to-be was pregnant…not by you? Have to go Joseph!

  91. Peggy S's Gravatar Peggy S
    March 4, 2020 - 6:56 pm | Permalink

    My daughter, an adoptive mother, teaches a Sunday school class in which the majority of the children are adopted, and children of color.. They all come from traumatic beginnings. This Christmas they were talking about Joseph, and she was inspired to point out that Jesus was adopted, just like they have been. The kids were so excited. So of course I had to vote for Joseph.

  92. Karen Mallon Sharp's Gravatar Karen Mallon Sharp
    March 4, 2020 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

    A difficult decision. In the end, I chose to go all the way back to our Hebrew/Jewish roots.

  93. Cori K's Gravatar Cori K
    March 4, 2020 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I voted Joshua here; right now, I needed that bit of insight, that reassurance that I am where I’m supposed to be and doing what I am meant to do, and that yes, in the worst days, God saves.

  94. Laura G's Gravatar Laura G
    March 4, 2020 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I was born on March 19th, his feast day, and my daughter attends St. Joes in Philly. Joseph all the way!

  95. March 4, 2020 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    No doubt, this was a tough choice today, but in the end I had to stay with Joseph. Why is that, you may ask? Honestly I’ve always thought Joseph got the short end of the stick in the Bible. Think about the absurdities he was asked to endure. He’s betrothed to a 14-year-old virgin who suddenly ends up pregnant and he’s supposed to buy the story that she’s still a virgin and stick by her. Then he’s expected to raise this child, who just happens to be the son of God? Sure. But the real kicker to me is that some point, Joseph just vanishes from the Bible, never to be heard from or spoken of again. Really? I’ve always felt sorry for him.

  96. Nancy Tinkham's Gravatar Nancy Tinkham
    March 4, 2020 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Of all the metaphors that Jesus could have used for God, his favorite was “father”. I conclude from that that Joseph must have been an amazing father to Jesus. My vote is for Joseph.

  97. Judith Delaney's Gravatar Judith Delaney
    March 4, 2020 - 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Joseph gets my vote because I have an amazing husband who is a loving stepdad to my daughters.

  98. Mary C.'s Gravatar Mary C.
    March 4, 2020 - 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Right now I’m in the middle of rereading Norah Lofts’ marvelous novel How Far to Bethlehem?, and my husband of fifty years is getting excellent heart care at a St. Joseph’s Hospital. How could I not vote for that man who married the girl whose name I bear?

  99. March 4, 2020 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Nancy, I’ve read this entire string and your’s is the most insightful and thought provoking comment of them all! Thank you!!

  100. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 5, 2020 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    I am also voting for Brother Lawrence. Anna’s sentence about finding God “in the boring, the painful, and the moments we wish we could rush through” caught my attention. Between my addiction to my phone and my desire to slow down the rush of my days, I suspect that the “mindfulness” of Brother Lawrence (and our Buddhist friends) is what I need these days. I’m not sure that all makes sense, but I’m hanging my hat on this.

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