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06 February 2021 - The Year of St Joseph
2021 THE YEAR OF ST JOSEPH
Pope Francis has proclaimed 2021 as a year of celebration of St Joseph marking the 150th anniversary of St Joseph being declared patron of the Universal Church. In his apostolic letter 'Patris Corde” ('With a Father's Heart), the pope said Christians can discover in St Joseph, one who often goes unnoticed, “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.“...”those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
We know from the scriptures that St Joseph was a man of honour. When faced with the dilemma of Our Lady's unexplained pregnancy he acted with compassion and integrity, not wanting to expose her to public shame. He was second only to Our Lady as one who listened to the word of God and carried it out. He obeyed what he was told in dreams, to take Mary and the child into his home, to name the child Jesus and to take them into Egypt when danger threatened. In doing these these things he added his own 'fiat' to that of Our Lady for the salvation of the world.
Pope Francis writes, “All this makes it clear that St Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood and that, in this way, he cooperated in the fullness of time in the great mystery of salvation and is truly a minister of salvation.” St Joseph was a skilled artisan and craftsman, “who earned an honest living to provide for his family.” He is an example for all kind of workers and employers of the dignity of work and workers.
The Vatican has issued a decree that a plenary indulgence 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. There are several ways to obtain the indulgence including:
- meditating on the Our Father for at least 30 minutes or
- take part in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes meditations on St Joseph.
Conditions for receiving the indulgence are:
- a spirit detached from sin
- receiving sacramental confession as soon as possible
- receiving Holy Communion as soon as possible
- praying for the Holy Father's intentions
We should endeavour to make this a special year of increased devotion and prayer to our parish's patron Saint.