Te Tau o Hāto Hōhepa – The Year of St Joseph

WelCom December 2021 Pope Francis published his Apostolic Letter, ‘Patris corde’ – ‘With a Father’s Heart’, on 8 December 2020, to commemorate the declaration of the 150th anniversary of St…

WelCom December 2021

Pope Francis published his Apostolic Letter, ‘Patris corde’ – ‘With a Father’s Heart’, on 8 December 2020, to commemorate the declaration of the 150th anniversary of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. Blessed Pope Pius IX, made this declaration on 8 December 1870, for St Joseph to become known and loved universally among the members of Christ’s faithful. 

Pope Francis proclaimed a ‘Year of Saint Joseph’ from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – the patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Wellington. 

As a tribute to the conclusion of the Year of St Joseph, featured are four prayerful reflective poems about Joseph’s journey, by Fr James B Lyons.

Joseph’s Journey [1]

Nazareth knew you for your goodness
Integrity and honour
These served you well when Mary shared her news.
To shield her shame you put your love aside
Then the dream
Pushed its way into your struggle
You were to share with Mary
The child of God’s own promise
You wove the dream into your life
Becoming shelter guide and guard
Your trust confirmed your honour
Your goodness and integrity
A shelter guide and guard.
Teach us
To trust beyond our doubt
To love beyond our fear.

Joseph’s Journey [2]

Thanksgiving comes easy
With the thrilling joy of new life.
Presenting the child to God
Humbly yet proudly displays
Gratitude and love.
There is wonder and peace in this moment
The child is blessed and the law fulfilled
‘til four words from Simeon break the spell
A sword will pierce!
Wonder turns to worry
Is there need to take more care?
Family life continues seemingly trouble free
Tell us Joseph did the sword remain a problem
Niggling deep within keeping you awake
Or was your trusting heart strong enough?
We can be troubled for those we love
And gratitude can wane.
Help us with you to trust the goodness of God
To let wonder conquer worry
Hold us in your wide and wise embrace
That we might be presented to God
With gratitude and love.
[Luke 2:22-40]

Joseph’s Journey [3]

The dream came sharp and furious
With a voice you’d heard before
The child’s a threat to Herod’s throne
You must leave before the dawn.
This time there was an urgency
No room to reason why
Your family would be refugees
While other children died.
How close you are to those who live
The tragedy of loss
You show the power of faith to trust
No matter what the cost.
Far from home, from friends and kin
Strangeness everywhere
No real place to call your own
And feeling no one cares.
Yet in your charge is life itself
To build your strength anew
You hold the hope of all in pain
Their refuge lies in you.
In sorrow and adversity
Though disconnection reigns
Your silence speaks a quiet peace
And no one weeps in vain.
[Matthew 2:13-18]

Joseph’s Journey [4]

It was just another visit
You went there every year
To mark the feast of Passover
Route and routine so clear.
Not so easy this time
With a twelve-year old in tow
You lose him in the city crowd
A tragic frightening blow.
Three days you search the streets and paths
With Mary at your side
The screams within your heart returned
Like before she was your bride.
Then suddenly he’s there before you
As though nothing has gone wrong
How could you do this to us?
Do you think we are so strong?
Mary spoke for both of you
Your anguish knew no bounds
It’s every parent’s nightmare
When your child cannot be found.
Safely home the visit done
But the mystery remains
Travelling ever deeper
Who is this boy your son?
[Luke 2:41-51]