"With a father's heart…" A newly proclaimed apostolic letter, titled "Patris corde," begins with the appeal to live with fatherly love.
In memory of the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's proclamation of Saint Joseph as the "Patron of the Universal Church," Pope Francis proclaimed a special "Year of Saint Joseph," together with a proclamation from the Apostolic Penitentiary about special plenary indulgences extended to the elderly, the sick and the dying, from Dec. 8, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021.
Pope Pius XII proposed Saint Joseph as the "Patron of workers," and Saint Pope John Paul II proposed Saint Joseph as the "Guardian of the Redeemer." Saint Joseph is also invoked as the "Patron of a happy death." So, we pray to him that our time of death may be a moment of joy despite the presence of sorrow.
In general, Saint Joseph is mentioned in a most modest way in the Gospels according to Matthew (Cf. 1:18-25; 2:1-23;13:55-56) and Luke (Cf. 1:27; 2:1-39). Joseph was a lowly carpenter and a just man, betrothed to Mary. Nevertheless, Joseph was always ready to do God's will and to follow God's providence in faith and fidelity.
In "Patris corde," Saint Joseph is described as "the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence ― an intercessor, a supporter 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."
Pope Francis says that he proclaimed this apostolic letter "to increase our love for the great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession, and to imitate his virtues and his zeal". With this goal, "Patris corde" urgently encourages us to cultivate hope and dream in patience in the midst of the expanding pandemic. It also inspires us to have the strength to overcome this miserable crisis through the exemplary life of Saint Joseph.
Seven particular features of Saint Joseph are described in the following definitions: a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father and a father in the shadows.
Many years ago, "Father schools" were created across the country to recover the true identity of a father in the family. With the catchphrase, "A family can live only when a father lives," various organizations have offered some programs regarding the spirituality of fatherhood. Truly, fathers are not born but made. Being a father means to be responsible for another life and to take care of others.
We also pray to Saint Joseph every Wednesday with a special intention, and the feast days of March 19 and May 1 are dedicated to him.
Pope Francis concludes his apostolic letter with the following 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. Amen.
The author is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul (fsp.pauline.or.kr)) living and giving the Good News to the world by means of social communication.
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