Wednesday, July 26, 2006
St. Joachim and St. Anne

Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne (1969 Calendar): July 26
St. Anne: Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): July 26
St. Joachim: Double (1955 Calendar): August 16

Sts. Joachim and Anne are the parents of Mary, the Mother of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. They were privileged to be the grandparents of Jesus Christ.

What we know about the Blessed Virgin Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, comes from Protoevangelium Jacobi (The Gospel of James). It is not part of the Bible, but the document, which was written c. 170 AD gives insight into the life of Mary and her parents. Joachim was a prominent and respected man, however, he had no children, and he viewed this as a punishment from God. In an answer to his prayers, he and Anne, his wife, were given the daughter Mary, who was conceived without sin. She remained sinless, ever-virgin, and was the Mother of God. Their prayers were answered greater than they could have ever imagined!

There is a great Shrine to St. Anne in Canada - Ste. Anne de Beaupre. It is a site of constant miracles. Cripples have entered the Shrine on crutches and left by walking through the door because they were completely healed. Another Shrine is Ste. Anne d'Auray in Britanny, France. There is also a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem, and the church is believed to have been built on the location where Sts. Joachim and Anne lived.

The feast of St. Anne was made a holy day of obligation under Pope Gregory XV who reigned from 1621 to 1623 as Dom Gueranger relates: "Gregory XV, after having been cured of a serious illness by St. Anne, had ranked her feast among those of precept, with the obligation of resting from servile work." The Feast of St. Anne was listed as a Holy Day in Pope Urban VIII's 1642 Universa Per Orbem, and it remained as such in some places like Quebec for some time.

Dom Gueranger also adds: "It was not until 1584 that Gregory XIII ordered the celebration of this feast of July 26 throughout the whole Church, with the rite of a double. Leo XIII in recent times (1879), raised it, together with that of St. Joachim, to the dignity of a solemnity of the second class. But before that, Gregory XV, after having been cured of a serious illness by St. Anne, had ranked her feast among those of precept, with the obligation of resting from servile work."

While no longer a holy day of obligation, the Feast of St. Anne is a day we should honor by assisting at Holy Mass, if possible, and honoring our grandparents with our visits (if they are alive) or our prayers (whether they have passed on to the next world or not).

Patronage of St. Anne: against poverty; barren; broommakers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; poverty; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners; women in labour; Brittany; Canada; France; Quebec; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; Santa Ana Indian Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico.


O God, Who didst vouchsafe to bestow upon blessed Anne such grace, that she was found worthy to become the mother of her who brought forth Thine only-begotten Son: mercifully grant that we who celebrate her festival, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

In the Protoevangelium of James, St. Joachim is described as a rich and pious man of the house of David who regularly gave to the poor and to the temple.  However, as his wife was barren, the high priest rejected Joachim and his sacrifice, as his wife's childlessness was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdrew to the desert where he fasted and did penance for forty days. Angels then appeared to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child. Joachim later returned to Jerusalem and embraced Anne at the city gate. The cycle of legends concerning Joachim and Anne were included in the Golden Legend and remained popular in Christian art until the Council of Trent restricted the depiction of apocryphal events.

No liturgical celebration of Saint Joachim was included in the Tridentine Calendar. It was added to the General Roman Calendar in 1584, for celebration on March 20, the day after the feast day of Saint Joseph. In 1738, it was transferred to the Sunday after the Octave of the Assumption of Mary. As part of his effort to allow the liturgy of Sundays to be celebrated, Pope Pius X transferred it to August 16, the day after the Assumption, so that Joachim may be remembered in the celebration of Mary's triumph.  It was then celebrated as a Double of the 2nd Class, a rank that was changed in 1960 to that of 2nd Class Feast.

Dom Guaranger on the Feast of St. Joachim:

From time immemorial the Greeks have celebrated the feast of St. Joachim on the day following our Lady's birthday. The Maronites kept it on the day after the Presentation in November, and the Armenians on the Tuesday after the Octave of the Assumption of the Mother of God. The Latins at first did not keep his feast. Later on it was admitted and celebrated sometimes on the day after the Octave of the Nativity, September 16, sometimes on the day following the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, December 9. Thus both East and West agreed in associating St. Joachim with his illustrious daughter when they wished to do him honour.

About the year 1510, Julius II placed the feast of the grandfather of the Messias upon the Roman Calendar with the rank of double major; and remembering that family, in which the ties of nature and of grace were in such perfect harmony, he fixed the solemnity on March 20, the day after that of his son-in-law, St. Joseph. The life of the glorious patriarch resembled those of the first fathers of the Hebrew people; and it seemed as though he were destined to imitate their wanderings also, by continually changing his place upon the sacred cycle.

Hardly fifty years after the Pontificate of Julius II the critical spirit of the day cast doubts upon the history of St. Joachim, and his name was erased from the Roman breviary. Gregory XV, however, re-established his feast in 1622 as a double, and the Church has since continued to celebrate it. Devotion to our Lady’s father continuing to increase very much, the Holy See was petitioned to make his feast a holiday of obligation, as it had already made that of his spouse, St. Anne. In order to satisfy the devotion of the people without increasing the number of days of obligation, Clement XII in 1738 transferred the feast of St. Joachim to the Sunday after the Assumption of his daughter, the Blessed Virgin, and restored to it the rank of double major.

On August 1, 1879, the Sovereign Pontiff, Leo XIII, who received the name of Joachim in baptism, raised both the feast of his glorious patron and that of St. Anne to the rank of doubles of the second class.

Patronage of St. Joachim: fathers, grandfathers, grandparents


O God, Who of all Thy Saints didst choose the blessed Joachim to be father to the Mother of Thy Son: grant, we beseech Thee that we who honor his festival, may evermore experience his patronage. Through the same our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Note: No commemoration is made of the octave of the Assumption under the 1954 rubrics (common octaves are not commemorated on doubles of the I or II class).

2 comment(s):

del_button November 16, 2010 at 9:51 PM
Anonymous said...

very informitive

del_button July 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM
Unknown said...

The catholics are very careful with what they do before you can be named a saint amongst humans...GLORY TO JESUS HONOR TO MARY.

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