July 25, 2016

July 26th: The Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne

Sts. Joachim and Anne with the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saints Joachim and Anne where the parents of the most holy Virgin Mary. Sacred Scripture does not mentioned them. Much of what we know of them comes from pious tradition. Among holy parents Joachim and Anne are unique. By God's divine grace their daughter was born the Immaculately Conception. From them Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Devotion to Ann and Joachim is an extension of the honor accorded our Blessed Mother. They serve as the consummate role models for parents. As the grandparents of Jesus, they have a direct bloodline to Christ Incarnate. In their devotion to God and Our Lady, they should be revered and emulated. By virtue of their intimacy with the Holy Family, Sts. Joaquin and Anne are the most powerful of intercessors. (See homily below.)

The Lives of Sts. Joachim and Anne

Who does not know about the great shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, where miracles abound, where cured cripples leave their crutches, and where people come from thousands of miles to pray to the grandmother of Jesus? At one time, July 26 was the feast of St. Anne only, but with the new calendar the two feasts of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been joined and are celebrated today. Our information about Mary's parents comes from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi (or Gospel of James), written about the year 170. According to this story, Joachim was a prominent and respected man who had no children, and he and his wife, Anne, looked upon this as a punishment from God. In answer to their prayers, Mary was born and was dedicated to God at a very early age.

From this early Christian writing have come several of the feast days of Mary, particularly the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, and her Assumption into Heaven. Very early also came feast days in honor of SS. Joachim and Anne, and in the Middle Ages numerous churches, chapels, and confraternities were dedicated to St. Anne. The couple early became models of Christian marriage, and their meeting at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been a favorite subject of Christian artists.

Anne is often shown in paintings with Jesus and Mary and is considered a subject that attracts attention, since Anne is the grandmother of Jesus. Her two great shrines — that of Ste. Anne d'Auray in Britanny, France, and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada — are very popular. We know little else about the lives of Mary's parents, but considering the person of Mary, they must have been two very remarkable people to have been given such a daughter and to have played so important a part in the work of the Redemption.

There is a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem and it is believed to be built on the site of the home of SS. Joachim and Anne, when they lived in Jerusalem.

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints, Rev. Clifford Stevens.

Collect Prayer

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily: Sts. Joachim and Anne

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