When Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the Diocese of Venice would celebrate a “Year of St. Joseph” from March 19, 2020 to March 19, 2021, the Bishop promised a number of resources would be made available to help in this celebration.
“St. Joseph is a figure who led by example, while also offering powerful prayer and protection,” Bishop Dewane said of the saint who was the foster-father of Jesus Christ, is the Patriarch of the Universal Church and serves as guardian and protector of the Church and Her faithful.
Therefore, as Father’s Day approaches on June 21, 2020 and as we continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is fitting that the Diocese has made available a “30 Days of Prayer to St. Joseph” on the Diocesan website at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/. Available in English and Spanish, these 30 days of prayer symbolically honor each of the 30 years that Joseph spent with Jesus and Mary on earth, as according to tradition St. Joseph died just before Jesus entered public ministry. It is during these 30 days of prayer that we petition St. Joseph by his sufferings, sorrows and joys to hear our requests and carry them to God’s throne on high.
Saints and Popes through the centuries have spoken on St. Joseph’s influence to intercede as the faithful have turned to the saint as a powerful patron and faithful guardian, father and friend. Many seek the intercessions of St. Joseph for healing and conversion, help with their children, a new job or home, and for all their needs of body and soul.
St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Doctor of the Church, frequently directed her sisters to “go to St. Joseph.”
In her autobiography, St. Teresa wrote: “Would that I could persuade all men to be devout to this glorious saint, for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God.”
Not only is St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church, but he is also the patron of fathers, carpenters, woodworkers, cabinet makers, laborers, bakers, confectioners, and pastry-makers. As a father and laborer, St. Joseph’s intercession is often sought by those fathers who are unemployed or under employed. Sacred Tradition also holds that Joseph was blessed to die with Jesus and Mary at his side, and as such is invoked as the patron of a happy death.
This “Year of St. Joseph” also coincides to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being solemnly declared Patron of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in his decree Quemadmodum Deus.
Pope Leo XIII wrote in his 1889 encyclical on devotion to St. Joseph “Quamquam pluries,” “Men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph,” especially fathers of families.
St. Joseph is the patron saint of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the devotion to the saint by Pope Francis is well documented.
Pope Francis formally inaugurated his papacy on St. Joseph’s Feast Day, March 19, 2013, and he has a spikenard, the flower used as a symbol of St. Joseph, on his coat-of-arms.
At the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis confirmed a directive, which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had made, to include the name of St. Joseph permanently in the Eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin Rite.
Pope Francis spoke about the importance of St. Joseph during his weekly general audience March 18, 2020, which was livestreamed during the lockdown in Italy caused by the pandemic. The Holy Father said, “In life, in work, in family, in joy and in sorrow, he (St. Joseph) always looked for and loved the Lord, earning the praise Scripture offers of being a just and wise man. Always invoke him, especially in difficult times, and entrust your lives to this great saint.”
Pope Francis also invited Catholics, especially in the midst of the pandemic, to put their families “under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family and of our families.”
During the Feast Day livestreamed Mass on March 19, 2020, the Pope said God chose “a just man, a man of faith” to raise His Son on earth.
The 30 days of prayer can be said during any 30-day period, but with Father’s Day upon us, now is a particularly opportune time to turn to St. Joseph, asking his help and guidance for all your needs, the needs of your family, loved ones, friends, and all those in need of prayer.