It is common in faith formation sessions when the subject of saints is discussed to ask the participants if they know their patron saint. The one who protects, intercedes, and inspires us with their unique charisms and gifts. Recently during a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) session, I was able to express with excitement that Pope Francis proclaimed, “Year of St Joseph” with the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”). It might be nice to think the Holy Father had Deacon Joe in mind, but the occasion was much bigger than me. Pope Francis recalled the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the event, Pope Francis proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. Pope Francis beautifully presents why St Joseph my patron saint has been an inspiration to me as a father and deacon.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, Pope Francis presents Saint Joseph as an “ordinary” person outside of the limelight, who exercised patience and offered hope to those around him, like many today who are selflessly serving those in need. Through his “discreet and hidden presence”, a “support and guide in times of trouble” played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
A beloved and loving father who sacrificed for his family and shared the tender love of God with Jesus, Joseph teaches us that “faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses.” How freeing to know that God’s will reigns, despite our fears.
Joseph was obedient to the will of God in protecting his family and collaborating with God’s plan, accepting challenges and those around him, especially those in greatest need — widows, orphans, poor and the persecuted. A creatively courageous father who reminds us that dignified work collaborates with building the reign of God.
Take time this coming week to reflect on your patron saint or seek one out through the many Catholic online resources. The saints inspire the faithful to strive for holiness and find true joy and peace in this life and eternity with Christ in heaven.