In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint 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 Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph 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 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.
The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
A copy of the Letter can be found here.
On Friday, 19 March, we celebrated the Solemnity of Joseph, perhaps concluding the Novena of prayer you may have made, and perhaps formally beginning our keeping of this Year of St Joseph that Pope Francis has called for. In this year we renew our awareness of the eternal role of St Joseph of guardian of the Church everywhere and of each of us too.
Our Year of St Joseph page will be updated as we go along this year with suggestions and resources for devotion to St Joseph Here are a few:
- Use the Year of St Joseph prayer every day.
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.
- If you haven’t yet made a Novena of Prayer, you can do this at any time, although leading up to a major feast day is most appropriate. 1 May is another feast of St Joseph, of Joseph the Worker.
- Make a special visit to our shrines of St Joseph in each church. At South Harrow the image of St Joseph has been placed at the front of church now for this purpose.
- Consider making a personal Consecration to St Joseph at some point in the coming months. Here is a link to an explanation of this from the American Diocese of Charlotte. The book mentioned, Consecration to St Joseph by Donald Calloway is written by one of the Marian (MIC) fathers and can be obtained from Amazon, or from our friends at the Divine Mercy Apostolate in Ealing, link here our local base for the MIC fathers.
- Prayers and monthly themes of prayer to St Joseph: Again, from the Diocese of Charlotte here, use these traditional themes to shape your prayers in the coming months.
- Saint John Paul II wrote a beautiful Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos about the role and the person of St Joseph. Here is a link to the text.
Although originally written in preparation for the Solemnity of St Joseph (10th – 18th March), a Novena for St Joseph can be found here.