Pope Francis declared the 2021 Year of St Joseph. Last December 8, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of The Declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by Pius IX, he published the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde,“With the Heart of a father”, to “share with us some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our human condition”. As always, Francis lets us touch base with his words, words that refer to a concrete reality, in close relation to the historical moment that we have to live, in this simple way:
This desire (to share with you some reflections) has grown during these months of pandemic (a year I would say today), in what we can experience, in the midst of the crisis that is hitting at us, that our lives are woven and sustained by ordinary people – commonly forgotten – who do not appear on newspaper and magazine covers, nor on the big stage… but, without a doubt, they are writing today the decisive events of our history. How many people each day show patience and instill hope, taking care not to sow panic but to co-responsibility. Everyone can find in St Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, the man of daily presence, discreet and hidden – an intercessor, support, and a guide in times of difficulty. St. Joseph reminds us that all who are seemingly hidden or in the “second line” can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.
Today, the feast of St Joseph, we invite you to read this letter from the Pope where Joseph’s life and greatness as a beloved father, father in tenderness, father in obedience, father in acceptance, father in creative courage, hardworking father, and father in the shadow.
How all this resonates with what Mother Candida told Sr. Josefa González, in a letter written on March 29, 1895!
“I suppose the feast or function of the patriarch and blessed St. Joseph would be very nice. This saint can very, very much with God. Oh! Who could imitate their virtues! What modesty! What patience! What a presence of God! What humility! What poverty! What chastity! What obedience! What a prayer! What love for Jesus and Mary! What to sanctify yourself at work and every moment of your beautiful life! What a saint his precious death! We’re happy if we really love him. He will watch over our bodies and keep our souls to serve God in this life, and then we will sing his praises in heaven with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Amen.” (CMF 63)