WelCom February 2021
Pope Francis has declared a Year of St Joseph in honour of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church.
To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special ‘Year of St Joseph,’ beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2020, and extending to the same feast in 2021, according to a decree by the Pope, announced 8 December.
The decree said Pope Francis had established a Year of St Joseph so that ‘every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfilment of God’s will’.
It added that the Pope had granted special indulgences to mark the year. In addition to the decree, Francis issued a new Apostolic Letter dedicated to the foster father of Jesus.
In the letter entitled Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis describes St Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
The letter marks the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
The Pope explained in the letter, he wanted to share some ‘personal reflections’ on the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
‘My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic,’ he said, noting many people had made hidden sacrifices during the crisis in order to protect others.
‘Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,’ he wrote.
‘St Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.’
Pope Pius IX proclaimed St Joseph patron of the Universal Church on 8 December 1870, in the decree Quemadmodum Deus.
A daily prayer to St Joseph… and a challenge
In his letter, Pope Francis notes how, ‘Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]’ he has ‘recited a prayer to St Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. This prayer’, he says, ‘expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to St Joseph, on account of its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.”’
At the conclusion of his letter, Pope Francis adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
Source: CAN/Vatican News
The Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North are planning a series of activities to mark this year of St Joseph.