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Pope Francis has declared this year to be the Year of Saint Joseph, marking the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of him as patron of the Universal Church. We are focusing our attention this year on this great man in an intentional way as we remember his fatherly care of Jesus and husbandly devotion to his wife, Mary.
St. Joseph was an example of great love, courage, and openness to the will of God. Although he could have divorced Mary quietly, he had an interior relationship with God that allowed him to hear the voice of the angel letting him know that the events surrounding the conception of Jesus were of divine origin and a part of God’s saving plan for the world. He was a man, working and living mostly in the shadows of the Gospel, who allowed God to work in and through his wife and foster child. And he encourages us to have the humility and steadfastness needed to foster the presence of Jesus in the world, as well as a great devotion to Mary, his wife.
At the conclusion of his Letter, Pope Francis adds this prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:
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.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.