March is a traditional time of devotion to St. Joseph. This March holds particular grace, as Pope Francis has declared a Year of St. Joseph.
I strongly encourage everyone to read the pope’s beautiful apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart). The purpose of this letter, the pope explains, “is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.” I welcome this invitation.
Not one word is attributed to St. Joseph in the Gospels, but his faith and trust in God speak volumes, and this is exactly where Pope Francis is directing our focus. While we may not have as lofty a role as St. Joseph in this life, God entrusts to each of us a mission. Like St. Joseph, we are to discover God’s will and be ready to carry it out with “creative courage,” humility and trust in God.
St. Joseph accepted many challenges as the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. God did not spare him from the difficulties of life, but always provided him the means by which to rise to those challenges.
As the Holy Father writes: “We need to set aside all anger and disappointment, and to embrace the way things are, even when they do not turn out as we wish. Not with mere resignation but with hope and courage. … God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.”
St. Joseph can help us embrace the reality of our lives with grace and faith, allowing God to show us the path forward.
We as an archdiocese are now embarking on a new chapter. This Pentecost, we will promulgate a new pastoral plan. In addition, we are now making strategic decisions that will affect a number of parishes. We turn to St. Joseph seeking his intercession that we may face our future with faith and creative courage, together seeking the face of God and trusting him to provide for our needs according to his plan.
I remember clearly a moment in my life as a pastor. A number of difficult issues needed attention; things were happening that were very unsettling to me and many parishioners. While I was walking back to the rectory one afternoon, a voice spoke to the depths of my heart: “Embrace the reality.”
In somewhat similar fashion, during a recent moment of prayer, the Lord clearly assured me he would show me what to do. This was the experience of St. Joseph, and it can be the experience of all who put their faith and trust in God.
I encourage you to join our archdiocesan family in praying a novena to St. Joseph March 10–18 (see page 24). On March 19, I invite everyone to attend Mass for the solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As we renew our love for St. Joseph, we ask that with a father’s heart he may guide us to walk more closely with his son, Jesus.
St. Joseph, pray for us!