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  • Fr. Daniel Okafor

Patris Corde: The Year of St. Joseph

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

With the Concluding Rite Part 2 we come to the end of the Mass Moment, which coincided with our Archdiocesan Year of the Eucharist; a year in which we are called to deepen our understanding, love, and devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, to attend Mass regularly, and to receive Holy Communion. On the other side of the coin, the universal Church celebrates the Year of St. Joseph, which in the next couple of weeks will be the focus of this corner.

Pope Francis has drawn the attention of the faithful to St. Joseph in his apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), issued on the elevation of St. Joseph to Patron Saint of the entire Church 150 years ago by Blessed Pius IX (December 8, 1870). He, thus, declares the Year of St. Joseph (December 8 2020- December 8 2021- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) asking us to rediscover and reflect on his seemingly silent and biblical absence which speak eloquently more than ever. For Pope Benedict, in his interview with the German Catholic weekly Newspaper Die Tagespost, “His silence is in fact his message. It expresses the ‘Yes’ that he took upon himself by uniting with Mary and thus with Jesus.”

Think about the heated months of the pandemic, amid the crisis we experienced how “…our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, religious men and women, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone… How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents, and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead, and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices, and interceding for the good of all” (Patric Corde (PC)).

Each of us can discover in St. Joseph— the man who goes unnoticed— a daily, discreet and hidden presence, an intercessor, a support and a 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 (PC).

Therefore, in this year of St. Joseph we are enjoined to get to know the man that God entrusted to be the father of his Son and entrust our own family to his loving protection. There are innumerable virtues to learn from him 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. And because of his role at the “crossroads between the Old and New Testament, he has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people” (PC, 1).

As we devote an entire year to St. Joseph’s honor, we will undoubtedly unlock many special graces not only for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, but for each of the faithful who increase their devotion to him during this special year. There is no greater model than St. Joseph from whom we can learn how to live virtuously in imitation of Jesus and Mary.

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