Monday, July 26, 1999
Monday July 26:
Feast of Saint Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
First Reading: Exodus 32: 15-24, 30-34
Psalms: Psalm 106: 1, 19-23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 31-35
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOACHIM AND SAINT ANNE, PARENTS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
The apocryphal Protoevangelium of St. James claims that the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne were sterile, yet an angel predicted Mary's birth to Joachim after he had spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying. Anne was too old by biological standards to give birth, but God in His Providence miraculously allowed Anne to be impregnated with the wondrous Immaculate Conception. At Mary's birth she was given the name Miriam which was shortened to Mary and, at a very early age, Joachim and Anne consecrated her to God sending her off to the Temple to study and live her Hebrew faith. St. Anne or Ann, which means "grace," was, along with Joachim, given special graces for their faithfulness, and the greatest grace was that they were chosen to be the parents of the Mother of God and the grandparents of Jesus, Son of God. St. Anne is considered the patron of mothers and of special importance to children and she is greatly venerated in Canada, specifically at the massive St. Anne Beaupre Basilica in Quebec. At first St. Anne was the only one recognized in the Church dating back to the crusades, but St. Joachim was added in 1584 by Pope Gregory XIII and the two feasts were combined into one day; originally this was March 20, the day after the feast of St. Joseph, but in 1969 the Church, through recommendation of the Second Vatican Council, moved the date to July 26th.