The Year of St Joseph

WelCom March 2021 In his apostolic letter Patris Corde, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the many aspects of Joseph’s life as the father of Jesus – a tender…

WelCom March 2021

Statue of Hato Hōhepa – St Joseph, at St Joseph’s Māori Girls College, Napier. Photo: WelCom

In his apostolic letter Patris Corde, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the many aspects of Joseph’s life as the father of Jesus – a tender and loving father of a child; an accepting father and husband who trusted Mary unconditionally; a working father who earned a living to provide for his family; an obedient father who took his family to Egypt to escape persecution; a creatively courageous father in the face of difficulties.

Cardinal John Dew advises that special prayers are offered to St Joseph on Wednesdays, and has suggested to parishes that Masses on Wednesdays – when not another Feast day – should be celebrated as a Votive Mass of St Joseph. 

In February year, the archdiocesan Valentine’s Day Mass and the two Teachers’ Commissioning Masses spoke of St Joseph, and a series of planned events will contribute to the Year of St Joseph. In the archdiocese these events will include the following.

19 March: Feast of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – please support parishes, schools and organisations bearing the name and inspiration of St Joseph on this special Feast Day. Resources will be sent to schools and parishes to assist these celebrations.

1 May: Feast of St Joseph the Worker – The Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission will host a Mass at St Joseph’s Church, Mt Victoria; time to be confirmed. There will also be a short forum on the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work). 

June (day to be confirmed): Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants – Caritas resources will highlight St Joseph as the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution, and poverty. Wellington Catholic Social Services will highlight aspects of work with refugee families. 

18 August: Mass for those affected by separation and divorce – with a special focus on parents who parent alone and from a distance; venue to be advised.

4 September: With a Father’s Heart – an invitation to all fathers to spend a day of reflection before Father’s Day in the company of St Joseph, 10am–3pm, hosted by Archdiocese of Wellington Family Ministry. Venue to be advised.

14 November: Mass for the World Day of the Poor – celebrating St Joseph as the ‘father of orphans and protector of widows’. Venue to be advised.

In the Diocese of Palmerston north, parishes and schools named after St Joseph are being encouraged to mark one of his feast days (March 19 or May 1) in a special way and share photos of their celebration on the diocese’s social media pages and website. Parishioners are invited to share reflections on how they are inspired by St Joseph or how they live out St Joseph’s values of in their own lives. These reflections will be collected and shared with the diocese via Tumanako throughout the year. Cards with Pope Francis’ Year of St Joseph prayer have been handed out. In the Diocese there are 13 schools and least 10 parishes named after St Joseph.

The National Liturgy Office advises there will be resources available from its website ( the week of 19 March.