Wedding picture of Vicente A. Pinaula and Oliva M. Paulino
St. Joseph Church, Inalåhan
(courtesy of Tente Flores)
As you can see in this photo, St. Joseph Church in Inalåhan used to have written above its front doors a Latin phrase : ITE AD JOSEPH.
The phrase has since been removed. I wonder why?
Since many people still remember that phrase, and younger ones see the phrase in photos such as this, and do not understand what it means or why it was written above the doors, here's the background.
THE OLD TESTAMENT JOSEPH
Joseph, as an Egyptian official, deals with his needy brethren
The Church has traditionally seen the Old Testament Joseph as a forerunner of the New Testament Joseph. There are a number of similarities between them. They both had dreams; they both were chaste; both their fathers were named Jacob. And, perhaps most important of all, they both came to the rescue of their families.
The Old Testament Joseph was one of twelve sons of Jacob. His older brothers harbored a grudge against him and sold him into slavery to merchants heading for Egypt. After a series of trials and difficulties in Egypt, Joseph rose to become a trusted highest adviser of Pharaoh and was put in charge of the granaries of Egypt. Joseph stored so much surplus grain during seven years of abundant harvest that when seven years of famine occurred, Egypt did not suffer because of all that reserved grain.
The famine touched Israel, where Joseph's family had remained. Jacob sent his sons to seek food in Egypt, not knowing that the brother they sold into slavery had become the second most powerful man in Egypt. But Joseph had pity on his family and saved them.
Jacob and his family were not the only ones who sought help from Egypt. People from all over that part of the world, starving from the famine, looked for food in Egypt. When they would approach Pharaoh with their request, Pharaoh would say :
"Go to Joseph and do what he tells you." (Genesis 41:55)
In Latin, "Go to Joseph" is "Ite ad Joseph." So :
ITE AD JOSEPH.
GO TO JOSEPH.
Why go to Joseph? Because he will take care of you, save you, protect you.
THE NEW TESTAMENT JOSEPH
So, lo and behold, we find such a similarity between the Old and the New Testament Josephs. When the Holy Family was in trouble, with King Herod threatening the life of the newborn Jesus, the New Testament Joseph took the Virgin and Child to safety in Egypt, the same Egypt where Jacob and his family found salvation when they were starving.
Saint Joseph was just like the Old Testament Joseph, giving protection and safety to the family.
An angel symbolically offers the Church to St Joseph as her protector
The Church sees in Saint Joseph this role even to this day, and for another family, the family of the Church, which is like another Holy Family, because the Church is Christ's Bride, His Body, His family. Thus, Saint Joseph was made the Universal Patron of the Church, and we ask that he continue to provide us his protection. When in need : Ite ad Joseph. Go to Joseph.