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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Swallows Return to Capistrano: The Feastday of St. Joseph

Happy Feastday of St. Joseph!

Dori, via wikimedia commons,Click for license

Tradition has it that the cliff swallows return today, from their winter home in South America, to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, in San Juan Capistrano, California.

They return to nest for the Spring.  Swallows take the choice of a nesting site seriously.  They require the presence of a cliff, the availability of mud for nestmaking, and a source of food.

The "cliff" need not be a natural one, though. The walls of a mission will do just fine.

In celebration of their return, the mission bells are rung,the faithful visit, and a parade is held. The mission is one of the oldest buildings in California, and was founded on the Feast of All Saints, November 1, 1776, by the Franciscan priest, Blessed Junipero Serra.

Fountain at Mission San Juan Capistrano
By DDauri Daniel D'Auria (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (],
 via Wikimedia Commons

St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus, Guido Reni, PD-OLD
Apparently the swallows know a good man when they see one.

Today is the Feastday of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, and earthly father of Jesus Christ.

Joseph did a brave thing when he took Mary, who was with child, as his wife.  It was not a practice that was culturally acceptable at the time.  But, he stood fast, obeyed, and trusted God.

He went on to be the protector, leader, and provider for the most important family that the world has ever seen.

We live in an era when the value of fatherhood, and of men in general, is minimized, but the positive impact of a godly father upon his family is irrefutable.

Today, we are blessed with the opportunity, to, along with the swallows, honor the greatest earthly father, and the fathers that bless our own homes.

The Ringing of the Bells to Welcome the Swallows Home to Mission San Juan Capistrano:
(You can scroll down to the music player in the bottom right hand corner of the page, and use the pause button to silence the music, before watching the video.)

Pax Christi, friends!


  1. Beautiful! The Swallows, the nesting - and the reminder of Joseph. I thought that The Nativity did a beautiful job bringing to life what Joseph and Mary went through on the journey to Bethlehem and how they must have reached toward each other with respect and trust. Then dealing with a boy Jesus who got separated on a trip. Beautiful reminder. Thank you for sharing this Feast Day!

  2. Oh, sweet. As an amateur birder, this one is close to my heart. Such a lovely tradition. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Saint Joseph is one of our favorite saints -- an amazing model of trust in God. He shows us so many things -- trust in God, care for our family, an excellent work ethic, all while shunning the spotlight.

    Thanks so much for linking up this post! Great to see you!

  4. I was just thinking about the sort of man Joseph was. A man who would knowingly and willingly accept a child who is not his own. And then raise that son up unto God. We often hear about Mary, and rightly so. But what of Joseph? I agree that fathers and men in general have become the target of jokes and are vilified and ridiculed on all sides. I am so glad that there are still moments when they are remembered and cherished. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on NOBH!

  5. What a coincidence that I finally have time to read this and today is the feast of St. Joseph the wonder worker. I love the sparrow.


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