From Our Pastors
You may have missed it at the time, but on Dec. 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter, Patris corde, on St. Joseph, spouse of Our Lady and Patron of the Universal Church. From Dec. 8 2020 to Dec. 8 2021, the universal Church are marking the Year of St. Joseph. Francis makes this proclamation born from his witness of this year of global pandemic. He is motivated by the struggles in societies around the world of immigrants, refugees and marginal persons as well as the “unseen” people that have brought us through the pandemic so far. The link above will bring you to the full document, but here are some excerpts worthy of reflection.
Francis invites us to consider Joseph as a model and guide: “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. St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.”
The Holy Father encourages us during this year, as we seek to move out of the pandemic, to look at societal structures from a very personal point of view acknowledging our human frailty. “The Evil One makes us see and condemn our frailty, whereas the Spirit brings it to light with tender love. Tenderness is the best way to touch the frailty within us. Pointing fingers and judging others are frequently signs of an inability to accept our own weaknesses, our own frailty. Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser (cf. Rv 12:10).... Even through Joseph’s fears, God’s will, his history and his plan were at work. Joseph, then, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses.”
Joseph is not only a person from the margins of society and facing his own frailty but also a person actively seeking the will of God as he finds his way forward. “Joseph is certainly not passively resigned but courageously and firmly proactive. In our own lives, acceptance and welcome can be an expression of the Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude. Only the Lord can give us the strength needed to accept life as it is, with all its contradictions, frustrations and disappointments.... Joseph’s attitude encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak, for God chooses what is weak (cf. 1 Cor 1:27)."
Perhaps we might join Francis to seek the intercession of St. Joseph for our ongoing inner conversion to the will and way of God this year.
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.
Fr. Michael Callaghan, c.o. and Fr. Mark Lane, c.o.