Feasts of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim – July 26
Early legends [and tradition] tell us that Ann is from Nazareth where she lives with her husband Joachim. She is from the tribe of Levi, and Joachim is from the tribe of Judah. This unusual match from different tribes has occurred because their fathers are close friends and have promised their children in marriage to each other. Joachim and Ann feel the social reproaches of being childless among their Jewish friends who consider children a special blessing from God. This disgrace makes Joachim decide to go to the desert to pray and fast. Meanwhile, Ann remains at home where she, too, fasts and prays with great fervor to the Almighty that he will take away their punishment. During her prayer an angel appears to Ann and says, “Ann, the Lord has heard your prayer, and you will conceive, and the entire world will speak of the fruit of your womb.”
Ann promises to dedicate Mary to God. She presents her to the high priest. Mary remains in the temple precincts from three years of age until she marries St. Joseph.
The early legends [and tradition] continue. Joachim dies while Mary is attending school and working in the temple precincts. Ann lives alone as a widow from the time of the birth of her grandson, Jesus. She dedicates her life in the service of the Lord in the temple where she performs all sorts of charitable works of mercy, especially toward the poor. When Jesus, Mary and Joseph come back to Nazareth from their flight and exile in Egypt, they live for a time with Ann.
Some call July 26 the Feast of Grandparents. On this day the Church desires that all grandparents acknowledge their responsibility to preserve the faith and religious traditions for future generations. We remind young people that the wisdom and experience of their elders are a mighty source of spiritual enrichment.
Rev. Capistran Haas, O.F.M.,
The Family, Vol. 34, No 11, Dec. 1986