Joachim and Anne
Feast Day: July 26
Claim to fame: Even though they appear
nowhere in the Bible, Joachim and Anne are honored
as the parents of Mary and the grandparents of
Jesus. Their story is told in a second century
apocryphal book called The Proto-Evangelium of
Little-known fact: July 26 as the feast of
St. Joachim and Anne together dates only from the
time of Vatican II. Before that, the feast belonged
to Anne alone, who was more popular than her spouse.
Veneration of St. Anne dates from the fourth
century, while interest in St. Joachim didn’t emerge
until the 15th century. He didn’t even get his own
feast day until 1913.
What made them saints: In a time when
children were considered a sign of God’s favor,
Joachim and Anne were mocked for being childless.
Instead of becoming bitter, Joachim and Anne each
prayed to God for a child; angels appeared to each
separately and promised that they would conceive.
The church honors Joachim and Anne for their role in
God’s plan for salvation. Their daughter, Mary, grew
in grace and holiness under the loving care of her
parents, who dedicated her to God’s service from the
time of her conception. Joachim and Anne are also
honored for their trust in God and their gratitude
for his blessing in giving them a child.
Best quote: While we have no actual quotes
from either St. Joachim or St. Anne, The Proto-Evangelium
of James attributes the following to St. Anne after
she received news from the angel that God would
bless her with a child: “As my God lives, if I
should conceive either a boy or a girl, the child
will be a gift to my God, serving him in holiness
throughout the whole of its life.”
How they died: Tradition says that Joachim
and Anne both lived to see the birth of their
grandchild, Jesus, and died of old age.
Prayer: Jesus, your grandparents provide
families with a model of a loving, faith-filled home
dedicated to the service of God. Strengthen all
Christian families, and help all grandparents to be
living examples of love and family unity. Amen.
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