A Catholic Monthly Magazine

St Joseph the Protector

by Bridget Taumoepeau

Pope Francis has always told us of his devotion to St Joseph. He has a statue of the sleeping St Joseph, to whom he offers petitions, reminding us that God came to St Joseph, a humble and faithful man, in dreams, while he was sleeping.

The Pope’s inauguration occurred on March 19th, 2013, the feast of St Joseph, and on that occasion his homily was devoted to the person of St Joseph, especially in his role as a protector - of Mary, Jesus and the church. Francis referred to the importance of all of us being protectors, especially if we are in roles of responsibility. Although we did not know it at the time, this homily foreshadowed much of what was to come in his pontificate. He alerts us to being protectors of creation; to the dangers of hatred, envy and pride; the responsibility of power; the importance of never being afraid of goodness and tenderness.

In referring to his own role as the Successor of Peter, he tells us that authentic power is service and that he, as Pope, should be inspired by the lowly and faithful service that marked St Joseph. That he must open his arms like St Joseph to protect all of God’s people, especially the poorest, weakest and the least important, serving with love those St Matthew lists in the final judgement on love.

On May 1st of the same year, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a directive, Paternas Vices, with the authority of the Pope, stating that the name of St Joseph, as in 'Joseph, her spouse,' be included in each Eucharistic Prayer (not just the first as previously), after the name of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Again we are given an indication of how important St Joseph is to the Pope and to the life of the church.

On reflection, this may have been a sign of the Pope’s thoughts about the subject for the Synod he was planning – on the Family. St Joseph, who accepted, protected and loved Mary, in what must have been the hardest of times for him; who led the family away from the persecution of Herod; who took on the role of father; who searched for the lost child Jesus; who taught Jesus the skills of carpentry. St Joseph the protector – the loving family man.

In this month of March, when we celebrate St Joseph’s feast day, let us pray that we too will be protectors of all  - creation, all whom we meet, but especially of our families – so precious to St Joseph and to Pope Francis.

Tagged as: ,

Comments are closed.