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St Joachim and St Anne – Catholic Saints, Parents of Mary and Grandparents of Jesus

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Saint Anne and Saint Joachim
Parents of Mary
Feast Day: July 26
Symbol: door, often depicted with Mary as a child and a book of Scripture

Learn more about how you can honour and thank Saints Joachim and Anne at
Young Families

Joachim and Anne were the parents of Mary and the grandparents of Jesus.

The name “Hannah” means grace. In Galilee, where she lived, Mary’s mother was probably called “Hannah” even though we know her as Saint Anne. So, if you are named “Hannah” or “Anne” you are named after the mother of Our Blessed Mother.

It was in the womb of Saint Anne that Mary was immaculately conceived. From the first instant of her life, she was in a state of grace and free from all stain of Original Sin. It was her parents, Anne and Joachim that raised her to be faithful to God’s word and remain free of sin.

Anne is the patron of Christian mothers, and Joachim the patron of fathers. They were given the great honour and responsibility of raising Mary to be the Mother of God, and can help mothers and fathers today to raise their children to love and follow God too.

Practiced Families

Joachim the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, belonged to the tribe of Judah and the house of David. Tradition tells us that he and his wife came from Galilee. They lived in Nazareth and there the Blessed Mother lived.

Anne and Joachim were childless for many years. At the time that they lived, this was considered to be a punishment of God among the Jews. They continued to pray and finally God answered their prayers when the Virgin Mary was born. This was their greatest honour, to be the parent’s of Mary, the Mother of God and the Grandparents of Jesus.

The couple offered their little daughter to God in the Temple. As a young girl, she spent time in service to the Temple. working and learning with other girls. But it was problbly her parents who taught her to read, and certainly Joachim and Anne who taught her to love and follow God’s word and to know and understand the Scriptures.

When the Angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation, Mary knew the prophecies of Jesus’ life and death. She knew the full extent of the honour and pain she would experience when she gave her ‘fiat.’

Mary loved her mother and father. In this she is a beautiful example for children. Joachim and Anne loved their daughter and followed God’s plan in raising her. In this, they are a shining example and intercessors for Christian parents.

Experienced Families

Saints Joachim and Anne, both of the tribe of Judah of the royal house of David and venerated by the Church as the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was probably their only child.

There is another Mary mentioned in the Gospels as being the ‘sister’ of the Mother of God, but this was probably her cousin. Two Marys in one family stretches reason and this was a customary way of designating relatives in the East.

Saint Anne has been honored from early Christian times. Churches were dedicated in her honor, and the Fathers, expecially of the Eastern Churches, loved to speak both of her sanctity and her privileges of being chosen to raise the Mother of God.

Saint Joachim has also been honored from the beginning in the Churches of the East, and since the 6th century, public devotion to him has been observed in all countires. However, we know little about the lives of either Joachim or Anne, since the Gospels are silent on this account.

Some traditions grounded in very old testimonies, tells us that Saints Joachim and Anne in their old age came from Galilee to settle in Jerusalem. As a childless couple, they may have simply wished to spend their old age close to the Temple. But God, in his Wisdom and Mercy, granted them a child, and Mary was born and raised in Jerusalem.

The sainted couple is often depicted with Mary and holding a book of Scriptures, teaching their daughter to read. A church was built in the 4th century, possibly by Saint Helena, on the reputed site of Saint Joachim and Anne’s house in Jerusalem.


Lord, God of our fathers, through Saints Joachim and Anne You gave us the Mother of Your Incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation You promised to Your people. Amen.


Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

October 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Florida Catholic – ‘Grandparents – a great gift from God’

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On Sept. 26, the Diocese of Palm Beach honored grandparents and their contributions to their families with the first U.S. National Grandparents Pilgrimage.

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Posted: 10.02.09

PALM BEACH GARDENS | Sixteen-year-old Kalyla Jefferson said her grandmother, 80 years young, is definitely a belief and ethics role model, whom she has looked up to and learned from.

“We love my grandma,” she said. “She has always been there for my mom and dad and for us. She is very supportive of everything we do.”

Kalyla and her sister, Kelsey Jefferson, 13, traveled south more than 100 miles from Melbourne Sept. 26 to be there for their beloved granny, West Palm Beach Mary Immaculate parishioner Olga Gidion, for a Mass to honor the older and more experienced. The Mass celebration was part of the National Grandparents Pilgrimage, the first in the United States, and it was held here in the Diocese of Palm Beach at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola.

“This was an important day for me to be here with my grandma,” said Kelsey. “I love her so much.”

More than 150 attended the morning event that included worship, song and liturgical dance, followed by a tribute and cookie reception. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito was main celebrant for the Mass.

“Grandparents are a wonderful gift – a great gift from God,” he said during his homily that touched on the lives of Sts. Joachim and Anne, maternal grandparents of Jesus, and their powerful example. “God gives us grandparents for a reason and that is to reveal to us more about his life and his love.”

As people arrived, greeters handed out programs and asked children to write prayers dedicated to their grandparents. The prayers were placed on the altar moments before Mass started.

Myriam Ambroise of St. Francis of Assisi in Riviera Beach wrote a simple but lovely prayer. “Dear God, please grant my grandparents longevity and good health. Grant them the desires of their heart.”

Mary Jane Watterson, a parishioner of St. Ignatius Loyola, attended with granddaughters Kate Koedam, 8, and Hannah Koedam, 11. When asked about her relationship with her grandchildren, she smiled and said, “They are in my heart all the time.”

Watterson takes care of her local grandchildren at least once a week, when their mother, Mary Koedam, volunteers at a nonprofit center that helps struggling women in pregnancy crisis. “My grandchildren are very special,” said Watterson. “I have five grandchildren on earth and I have three in heaven.”

The grandparent’s day held here is the first of its kind in America, patterned after pilgrimages in England and Ireland initiated by Catherine Wiley, a part-time resident of Delray Beach, who attends Ascension and St. Joan of Arc parishes in Boca Raton.

“I am moved to tears,” said an emotional Wiley moments before the cathedral celebration. “We are very honored and privileged.”

The grandmother of 10 approached Bishop Barbarito with her pilgrimage concept in December 2008. The idea was well-received and from there she began working with the diocesan Office of Family Life and Marriage to initiate the event that she is hoping will grow like an annual event held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, which began July 2003 around the feast of Jesus’ maternal grandparents. The England event inspired Ireland’s grandparent’s pilgrimage that launched in 2007. The annual September event is held at Our Lady of Knock Shrine.

“There were 14,000 participants this year,” said Wiley, about the event in Ireland she attended along with Father John Gallagher, parochial vicar of St. Joan of Arc. “Father Gallagher was representing the Diocese of Palm Beach,” she explained. The two overseas events include music, talks, worship, fellowship and prayer.

During the event here, Wiley presented a framed prayer for grandparents to Bishop Barbarito. The prayer idea is also something that came from Wiley’s heart. She presented the concept to the Vatican, and it was embraced by Pope Benedict XVI, who authored the prayer now printed in several languages.

Bishop Barbarito thanked Wiley for the prayer and for proposing the National Grandparents Pilgrimage in America. He also thanked grandparents for their prayerful presence, wisdom, example and inspiration to grandchildren and to faithful in parish communities.

“May you continue to know how much you are loved, how much you are appreciated, how important you are,” said Bishop Barbarito.

An October 2003 Census Bureau report, based on data collected on the long form in the 2000 census, shows that grandparents living in households with their grandchildren are not only teaching the children through their example and knowledge, but also taking on major financial roles in the family life. The report indicates that 42 percent, or 2.4 million of the nearly 5.8 million grandparents, were the main providers responsible for basic needs of children.

Diocesan organizers hope to continue to honor these unsung heroes, showing them how much they are loved for all they do.

“Those who attended were very positive and really wanted another one next year,” said Janice Petersen Minshew, event organizer and coordinator of the diocesan Office of Family Life and Marriage. “I think it went well.”

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

October 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Grandchild’s Prayer- Dear God…

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Prayer for grandparents



Dear God,

I Want to thank you for grandparents because my grandparents are great.

They are really special to me. Without them I would be lost.

Soo many times there would have been no one to pick me up from school. Soo many times I would have no one to play with. Soo many times I would have no one to cudle with. Soo many times I would not have understood why my parents were cross. So, I just want to say thank you lord.


This is dedicated to my grandma Jenny and Grandpa Tom

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Grandads gather with grannies at Knock shrine

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Grandparents Pilgrimage at Knock Shrine

Grandparents Pilgrimage at Knock Shrine


GRANDPARENTS HAVE finally found their voice, the founder of the new Catholic Grandparents Association said yesterday as an estimated 14,000 grandmothers and grandfathers gathered at Knock shrine, Co Mayo.

They were attending the third annual National Grandparents Pilgrimage and the launch of the new organisation by Co Mayo grandmother Catherine Wiley.

She said the response from pilgrims had “stunned” her and people from all over the country told her that they wanted to be involved in the new association.

“People are coming up to me saying ‘I want to start a branch’. I think there will be branches in every town in the country . . .

“The association will be a voice for grandparents and will also offer them practical assistance. In many cases, grandparents are the ones holding families together.”

Among the pilgrims at yesterday’s event was Michael Lambert (102) from Co Roscommon and Tom Ketterick (95), the Mayo man who recently reached the final of the World Cup Brown Trout Angling competition.

Seán and Margaret Davin travelled from Dublin for the event. Mr Davin said it was “an extraordinary day” for grandparents. The key role played by grandparents had often been overlooked, he said, but now a “fascinating new consciousness of that role has been raised”.

The Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, said the “Bank of grandma and grandad” was critical to the success of the Celtic Tiger and the resources of grandparents would be critical to our economic recovery.

In years gone by, it was commonplace for children to take on financial responsibility for their parents as they grew older but that situation had reversed, Cardinal Brady said. “It is your time and money which is now holding many families in this country together as they struggle with the consequences of the global economic crisis,” he told grandparents.

He also alluded to the controversy over civil partnerships and gay marriage. “Any society which diminishes the value of the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, diminishes the very foundation of society itself.”

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm