A Day for St. Joseph in The Year for St. Joseph
Last December, in issuing the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – “With a Father’s Heart” – Pope Francis recalled the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, he proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. While St. Joseph’s feast day is in March, this year Father’s Day seems an appropriate time to again recognize St. Joseph and his close association with fatherhood and families. Pope Francis had declared that St. Joseph has also been embraced by advocates of an emerging male spirituality, as an example and source of encouragement.
“The family is under attack, and I believe fatherhood is at the bull’s-eye of this attack on family,” said Steve Wood, founder of the St. Joseph Covenant Keepers, one of the groups turning to Joseph for inspiration. “St. Joseph, he’s been the quiet guy,” Wood said. “He’s been in the shadows. But I definitely think it’s his time.”
For Wood and his group, Joseph epitomizes husband and father – solid, quiet, there when he needs to be there, dependable. As a husband to Mary, he said, recall that his betrothed was suddenly found pregnant. “There was every temptation for St. Joseph to bolt, but he was faithful.” And to Jesus, Joseph was the protector who took him to Egypt to save his life and who taught him his trade.
“A lot of guys are a little mystified as to what is the role of a father today,” said Wood. “They may have grown up in a fatherless family, or didn’t have a good father-son relationship. St. Joseph shows us what a Christian father is – he’s a model for us to follow. St. Joseph is that kind of guy who stands out for men today.”
The significance of St. Joseph’s presence in Jesus’ life reminds us how important fathers are in our own lives. We can look to his inspiring example as the patron saint of fathers, workers, and the Universal Church for his obedience, humility, selflessness, courage and the love he showed to Mary and Jesus. If we can emulate St. Joseph even a little each day, we will be that much closer to becoming the men we are called to be.
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