Why Honor St Jospeh?
“We must be convinced that, in consideration of his great merits, God will not refuse St. Joseph any grace he asks for those who honor him.”ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ chose to enter the world through the human family; He came as an infant born into the marriage and home of the two holiest human creatures who ever lived: Joseph and Mary.
Although He was God, He was obedient to them as a Child, and under their watchful care “Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52). In this Jesus gave us an example, that we too as His disciples are meant to entrust ourselves to Joseph and Mary, learning from them how to grow in holiness as the adopted children of God (Eph. 1:5).
As Christians we are blessed to have sweet Mary as our spiritual mother and valiant Joseph as our spiritual father. Just as Mary guides us from heaven with loving devotion, so too St. Joseph diligently provides for the needs of the family of God, the Holy Catholic Church.
Because of his special role as foster-father of the Child Jesus, St. Joseph has merited singular privileges in heaven unmatched by any saint excepting the Blessed Virgin Mary. Certain saints have received special insight into his holiness and the wonderful power of his heavenly intercession.
The Catholic Church as always fostered a tender to St. Joseph as the Head of the Holy Family; yet he has become increasingly prominent in the spiritual life of the Church over the last 150 years, as Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, lists in his new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father:
- 1870 – Blessed Pope Pius IX declares St. Joseph the “Universal Patron of the Church.”
- 1879 – Apparitions at Knock, Ireland. St. Joseph appears with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Apostle, and Jesus (appearing as the Lamb of God).
- 1889 – Pope Leo XIII writes Quamquam Pluries, an encyclical letter on St. Joseph.
- 1908 – St. Luigi Guanella begins constructing a church dedicated to St. Joseph in Rome. It is completed and consecrated as a basilica in 1912.
- 1917 – Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. During the last apparition on October 13, St. Joseph appears holding the Child Jesus and blessing the world.
- 1921 – Pope Benedict XV inserts the phrase “Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse” into the Divine Praises.
- 1955 – Venerable Pope Pius XII establishes the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, to be celebrated on May 1.
- 1962 – Pope St. John XXIII inserts St. Joseph’s name into the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
- 1989 – Pope St. John Paul II writes Redemptoris Custos, an encyclical letter on St. Joseph.
- 2013 – Pope Francis, echoing and fulfilling the intentions of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, inserts the name of St. Joseph into all Eucharistic Prayers. He also consecrates Vatican City State to St. Joseph.
Through this providential sequence of events, it’s clear that the Holy Spirit is at work teaching us the importance of devotion to St. Joseph at this moment in salvation history. “Now is the time of St. Joseph!” writes Father Calloway, “In our day, Jesus wants the Church to know, love, honor, and seek refuge in the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph.”
How do I celebrate the year of St Jospeh?
“Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church.”POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II
“Devotion to St. Joseph is one of the choicest graces that God can give to a soul, for it is tantamount to revealing the entire treasury of our Lord’s graces,” wrote St. Peter Julian Eymard, “When God wishes to raise a soul to greater heights, he unites it to St. Joseph by giving it a strong love for the good saint.”
Below are ideas for how to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph:
- Begin the Year of St. Joseph with a special intention for his intercession, for which you will offer your prayers and St. Joseph devotions throughout the year.
- Learn about St. Joseph’s virtues and try to imitate them
- Participate in the 33-day consecration to St. Joseph
- Pray the Holy Rosary daily, reciting the Year of St. Joseph prayer at the conclusion
- Plan a pilgramge to one or more of the St. Joseph parishes across the diocese
- Adopt St. Joseph traditions into your prayer life and family life
- Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on his feast days: March 19th and May 1st
- Include prayers to St. Joseph in your morning and evening prayers
- Encourage others to foster as greater devotion to St. Joseph
How do I receive a Plenary Indulgence?
The plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions) to Christians who, with a spirit detached from any sin, participate in the Year of St. Joseph on these occasions and manners indicated by the Apostolic Penitentiary:
- The plenary indulgence is granted to those who will meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer, or take part in a Spiritual Retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph. “St. Joseph, an authentic man of faith, invites us”, the decree reads, “to rediscover our filial relationship with the Father, to renew fidelity to prayer, to listen and correspond with profound discernment to God’s will.”
- The indulgence can also be obtained by those who, following St. Joseph’s example, will perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. St. Joseph “encourages us to rediscover the value of silence, prudence and loyalty in carrying out our duties,” the decree notes.
- The recitation of the Holy Rosary in families and among engaged couples is another way of obtaining indulgences, in order that “all Christian families may be stimulated to recreate the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was in the Holy Family.”
- Everyone who entrusts their daily activity to the protection of St. Joseph, and every faithful who invokes the intercession of St. Joseph so that those seeking work can find dignifying work can also obtain the plenary indulgence. On 1 May 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph “with the intent that the dignity of work be recognized by all, and that it inspires social life and laws, based on the fair distribution of rights and duties.”
- The plenary indulgence is also granted to the faithful who will recite the Litany to St. Joseph (for the Latin tradition), or the Akathistos to St. Joseph (for the Byzantine tradition), or any other prayer to St. Joseph proper to the other liturgical traditions, for the persecuted Church ad intra and ad extra, and for the relief of all Christians suffering all forms of persecution. Because, the decree notes, “the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he runs away, where he experiences rejection and abandonment.”