Celebrating A Year of St. Joseph
Editorial: This year, meet your spiritual father, St. Joseph
Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board - Dec. 14, 2020
The newly-declared Year of St. Joseph is a great blessing for the Church. It provides a beacon of hope during a dark time and an opportunity for people of faith to focus on a just and righteous man who has much to teach us.
In his surprise announcement on Dec. 8 – the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as patron saint of the universal Church – Pope Francis said it was the coronavirus pandemic that encouraged him to write and reflect on St. Joseph, that strong presence in salvation history who accomplished so much so quietly.
“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,” Pope Francis wrote in his apostolic letter Patris Corde (“With a father’s heart”). “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
This Year of St. Joseph, which began this Dec. 8 and ends Dec. 8, 2021, offers Catholics the chance to grow in their relationship with the foster father of Jesus, learning from him and striving to be more like him.
In his letter, Pope Francis gets us started. Defining Joseph as a father, the pontiff describes him in part as beloved, tender, loving, obedient, accepting and creatively courageous. While reflecting on St. Joseph, Francis also shows how we can emulate him. For example, describing how Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally, trusting in the angel’s words that her son had been conceived through the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis counsels: “Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. Unless we are reconciled with our own history, we will be unable to take a single step forward, for we will always remain hostage to our expectations and the disappointments that follow” (No. 4).