In an Apostolic Letter entitled ‘With a Father's Heart’, the Pope has proclaimed a special ‘Year of St Joseph’, which will run until 8 December 2021. It is written against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble St Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence," who nonetheless played "an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
Bishop David says “St Joseph doesn’t make a noise in the Gospel, he is gentle and hidden, full of humility and in so many ways a model for us, therefore of how we should deal with the world today.”
We will be honouring our parish patron throughout this special year.
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Novena to St Joseph
The month of March is dedicated to St Joseph and we celebrate his Feast Day on 19 March. We are invited to pray a Novena to St Joseph where, in this special year dedicated to him, we can pause to ask for his intercession.
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Our beautiful banners that hang in the church are inspired by the Litany of St Joseph (see below). It sums up the qualities that made him such an important part of the Holy Family. Each month we reflect on one of his many virtues.
June 2021: St Joseph, Foster Father
In his recent Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” on the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis reminds us on the first page that when an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, he did not hesitate to become the legal father of Jesus, giving him the name revealed by the angel – “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). From this point onwards the Pope always refers to Joseph as "the father of Jesus", clearly encouraging us to do the same.
As a result of the key role he played in salvation history, Saint Joseph has always been looked upon by the Church as a father, and we see this in the numerous worldwide religious institutes and churches (including our own) that have been dedicated to him. His fatherly example has also inspired great devotion, and the month of March is traditionally dedicated to him. Joseph’s experience from the time he responded to God’s call to take Mary as his wife when his first inclination had been to “dismiss her quietly” (Matt 1:19), clearly shows us that faith in God means trusting him even when we have no idea what this will involve. God spoke to Joseph in a number of dreams during his early years as a husband and father, all of which he promptly obeyed – an inspiration to all of us.
As Pope Francis reminds us in the same letter, the spiritual path that Joseph demonstrates to us as the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus, is not one that always requires explanation, but one that simply and courageously accepts the will of God (Matt 1:24) and immediately puts it into practice. Jesus needed to be cared for, protected and brought up by loving parents, and shown the example of a spiritual, hard-working and skilled father, who would provide for both the spiritual and material needs of his family – a role the carpenter Joseph fulfilled to perfection.
Although very little is written about Saint Joseph in the Scriptures, what we do find offers us a remarkable example of a good father. He is devoted to his family, exercising care and responsibility for them whilst earning an honest living and providing for their needs. In so doing, he reminds us that when we take up responsibility for the life of another person, we can see ourselves as becoming a “father” or a “mother” to that person, with all the challenges and opportunities that may involve. Joseph clearly found happiness and self-fulfilment in his roles as husband and father – even though he knew that the child Jesus was not naturally his own. He must have been amazed by the many unusual events that began within hours of the birth of the child of whom he was the legal father.
So in this special year dedicated to Saint Joseph, loving husband of Mary and earthly father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, let’s pray that he will guide us in our own spiritual and practical journeys through life, and that we will be continually inspired by his encouragement to place all our trust in God our Heavenly Father, just as he always did.
© Charles Whitehead
Prayer to St Joseph for Workers
Silent and well-known carpenter in Nazareth, model of workers, by the work of your hands you gave your contribution to the work of the Creator, you earned your living, and you provided for the needs of the Holy Family.
Intercede for all workers, in the difficulties of their daily lives especially for the unemployed, in their anxieties for tomorrow, so that through the guidance of God, the great Architect and Builder, they all may use their strength and talents to make visible God’s new creation, to offer a concrete service to society, and to earn wages worthy of their efforts.
With confidence and trust we make this prayer through Jesus. Amen.
From Prayers for Catholic Living
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Prayer to St Joseph
Pope Francis shares this prayer for each of us to pray:
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.
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Litany of St Joseph
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Guardian of the Redeemer, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Servant of Christ, pray for us.
Minister of Salvation, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most courageous, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Support in difficulties, pray for us.
Comfort of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of exiles, pray for us.
Patron of the afflicted, pray for us.
Patron of the poor, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of His household:
R. And prince over all His possessions.
Let us pray.
O God, who in Thine unspeakable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thine own most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we reverence as our defender on earth: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.