Pope dedicates year to St. Joseph

St. Joseph and the Child Jesus
St. Joseph with the Child Jesus

Marking the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared Patron of the universal church, Pope Francis proclaimed a yearlong celebration dedicated to the foster father of Jesus. In a Dec. 8 apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (“With a father’s heart”), the pope said Christians can discover in St. Joseph, who often goes unnoticed, “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”

As Mary’s husband and guardian of the son of God, St. Joseph turned “his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home.” Despite being troubled at first by Mary’s pregnancy, he added, St. Joseph was obedient to God’s will “regardless of the hardship involved.”

St. Joseph’s unconditional acceptance of Mary and his decision to protect her “good name, her dignity and her life” also serves as an example for men today, the pope added. “In our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence toward women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man,” he wrote.

How can I receive a plenary indulgence during the year of St. Joseph?

The plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions:

  1. Go to confession
  2. Receive Eucharistic Communion
  3. Pray for the intentions of the holy family
  4. Choose from the following during the year of St. Joseph:
    • Participate in a spiritual retreat for at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph.
    • Pray for St. Joseph’s intercession for the unemployed that they might find dignifying work.
    • Recite the Litany of St. Joseph
    • Entrust one’s daily work and activity to the protection of St. Joseph the Worker.
    • Follow St. Joseph’s example in performing a corporal work of mercy.
    • Perform one of the spiritual works of mercy
    • Pray the rosary together with one’s family
    • Engaged couples can also receive an indulgence from praying the rosary together.
    • Meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer,
    • Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph on March 19 with an act of piety in honor of St. Joseph.
    • Pray an approved prayer to St. Joseph on the 19th of any month.
    • Honor Joseph with an act of piety or approved prayer on a Wednesday, the day traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph.
    • Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 with an act of piety or prayer.

The Year of St. Joseph Prayer

To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.