Marking the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph being declared patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis proclaimed a yearlong celebration dedicated to the Foster father of Jesus.
In his apostolic letter given on the feast of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, PATRIS CORDE ("with a fathers heart"), Pope Francis said Christians can discover in St. Joseph, who often goes unnoticed, an "intercessor, a support and 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", he said.
Our parish over these past months has sought St. Joseph's blessing and consecration. Petitions at his shrine are bringing his help and intercession. As a parish we will continue to seek his powerful support. Our diocese led by Archbishop John will in due course suggest ideas how we can invoke St. Joseph's help and honour him now in this very special year ahead.
The year is going to be extra special for many good reasons including Indulgences which we want to make happen for you.
If you get a chance to read and reflect on the link here, please do so. It is a powerful message to us all.
Apostolic Letter Patris Corde of the Holy Father Francis on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church (8 December 2020) | Francis (vatican.va)
Pope Francis also highlighted St. Joseph's "creative courage," not only in finding a stable and making it a "welcoming home for the Son of God (who came) into the world," but also in protecting Christ from the threat posed by King Herod.
"The Holy Family had to face concrete problems like every other family, like so many of our migrant brothers and sisters who, today, too, risk their lives to escape misfortune and hunger. In this regard, I consider St. Joseph the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty," the pope said.
As a carpenter who earned "an honest living to provide for his family," Christ's earthly guardian is also an example for both workers and those seeking employment and the right to a life of dignity for themselves and their families.
"In our own day, when employment has once more become a burning social issue, and unemployment at times reaches record levels even in nations that for decades have enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which St. Joseph is an exemplary patron," he said.
The Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, also issued a decree December 8 stating that plenary indulgences will be granted to Catholics not only through prayer and penance, but also through acts of justice, charity and piety dedicated to the foster father of Jesus.
Among the conditions for receiving an indulgence are a spirit detached from sin, receiving sacramental confession as soon as possible, receiving Communion as soon as possible and praying for the Holy Father's intentions.
However, the decree also highlighted several ways to obtain the indulgence throughout the year, including to those who "meditate on the prayer of the 'Our Father' for at least 30 minutes or take part in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph."
As a "just man," the document continued, who guarded "the intimate secret that lies at the bottom of the heart and soul," St. Joseph practiced the virtue of justice in "full adherence to the divine law, which is the law of mercy."
"Therefore, those who, following the example of St. Joseph, will perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy, will also be able to obtain the gift of the plenary indulgence," it said.
Indulgences will also be granted to families and engaged couples who recite the rosary together and thus imitate the "same climate of communion, love and prayer lived in the Holy Family.”
Other acts of devotion include entrusting one's daily activities and prayers for dignified employment to St. Joseph, reciting the litany or any "legitimately approved" prayer to St. Joseph.
During this time of pandemic, the Apostolic Penitentiary also decreed that special indulgences will be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who "for legitimate reasons are prevented from leaving their home" by "reciting an act of piety in honour of St. Joseph and committed to fulfilling the conditions as soon as possible."
We will put prayers on our website on a regular basis to honour St. Joseph.
Remember, you can also send in your petitions to our shrine to Saint Joseph. We will during the course of the year also celebrate Votive Masses in his honour - you will be remembered in those Holy Masses.
Dear Friends, go to Joseph! Pray to him and ask for his guidance and protection for yourselves, your families and for the Church. Imitate St. Joseph in his virtues, his fidelity, his constancy, his love, his gentleness, his strength, his courage and his faith.
St. Joseph, patron of men, of husbands and fathers pray for us!
Pray for our Parish Family,
St. Joseph, patron of workers, pray for us!
St. Joseph, protector and guardian of families pray for us!
St. Joseph, patron and defender of the Universal Catholic Church, pray for us! Pray for us,