Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, names 2021 as a Year of Saint Joseph on the 150th anniversary of his proclamation as Patron of the Catholic Church. As Pope Francis states,
“Each of us can discover in Joseph—the man who goes unnoticed, a daily discreet, and hidden presence—an intercessor, a support, and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
Keep reading for a reflection from Father Lobo, conditions for the plenary indulgence, and a prayer to Saint Joseph! Make sure to join us at 12:10 Mass on Friday, March 19 to celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph!
St. Joseph the Just
Reflection by Father Lobo
No words of St. Joseph are recorded in the scripture. He is honored as the husband of Mary, the foster-father of Jesus, and the patron saint of the universal Church.
God himself, in the Holy Gospel, pronounces the encomium of St. Joseph by calling him “just”. (Mt:1:119).
The great Doctor, St. Jerome, thus expounds the term: “Joseph is called just on account of having possessed all the virtues in a perfect degree.”
The word justice, in fact, comprehends every virtue, inasmuch as it leads man to render to each his due: to God, to his neighbors, and to himself.
What does “just” mean? It means that he was a holy man. A righteous man. A man of honesty, integrity, and virtue. St. Joseph is the greatest and holiest saint after the Blessed Mother herself. In fact, some of the Doctors of the Church said that there was no grace ever given to any of the Saints (except Mary) that was not given to St. Joseph as well.
St. Thomas Aquinas says that God gives grace proportionate to our office and to our state in life. So, if you are a husband/wife and father/mother, you will be given the grace to be a holy husband/wife and father/mother. When someone has been ordained a priest, he will be given the grace to be a priest. Think how much grace St. Joseph received to be the foster father of the Son of God and the virginal spouse of the Immaculate Conception. So St. Joseph is that just man. He is the greatest of Saints because he was the closest one to Jesus and to the Blessed Mother.
As member of the Church, we all are called to holiness. It is not just the priests and nuns, but everyone is called to holiness. Every single person has this vocation ‑ the universal call to holiness. May St. Joseph patron of the universal church help us to understand our call.
St. Joseph: pray for us.
Conditions for the Plenary Indulgence in the Year of Saint Joseph
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.”
- A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who will recite any legitimately approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, for example, “To you, O blessed Joseph” especially on “19 March, on 1 May, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, on St. Joseph’s Sunday (according to the Byzantine tradition) on the 19th of each month and every Wednesday, a day dedicated to the memory of the saint according to the Latin tradition.”
A Prayer to Saint Joseph
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.