The Year of St Joseph
A letter from Bishop Terry
On December 8 2020, Pope Francis wrote a letter to all the faithful to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. It is called Patris Corde or in English, With a Father’s heart (which can be found below.)
Among many other things he declared a year dedicated to St Joseph from December 8 2020 through till December 8 2021.
As St Joseph is the guardian of the Holy Family, so he is the guardian of the whole Church, our local churches, our families, and he is a ready protector and intercessor for each of us. The traditional way of expressing this has always been the exhortation – Ite ad Joseph – Go to Joseph.
So many saints and mystics in the Church have promoted devotion to Joseph built on their personal experience of his protective care for them. I quote from the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila, chapter 6:
“I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him (St Joseph) which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favours which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul.”
In order to celebrate this year of St Joseph and to help each of us grow in devotion to him, I would propose that we focus on the following suggestions.
- A Novena to St Joseph beginning on March 10 in order to prepare for his feast day on March 19 this year. You will find the prayers for the Novena here. The Novena could be prayed at home as a family of by individuals, or in church in the form of a public service, depending on the circumstances and Covid-19 restrictions.
- Each Wednesday, if there is no other feast or obligatory Memoria, the Votive Mass of St Joseph might be celebrated (see page 1422 of the Roman Missal); readings could be taken from the feasts of either March 19 or May 1, if so desired, but better to use the readings provided by the Church for that day.
- The Litany of St Joseph could be used as part of our daily devotions or incorporated into the Novena or other paraliturgical services that are celebrated in our Churches, Prayer Groups/Meetings etc. The Litany can be found here together with other helpful resources about St Joseph and the Year of St Joseph.
- Schools, both primary and secondary, are warmly encouraged to enter into the spirit of the year by helping our children and young people to come to know St Joseph as their personal guardian and helper, the man appointed by God the Father to nurture and educate Jesus as he grew from infancy, childhood and into adolescence. He was the one who taught Jesus his trade – carpentry. What a powerful and attractive patron we have in St Joseph! Surely the way Jesus saw the world, treated others, spoke, and prayed to his heavenly Father must have been influenced by his interaction with St Joseph.
As time goes on and we move further into the year, more things will be suggested and different ways of celebrating this year will be offered.
There is also a Plenary Indulgence connected with the year and the devotions to St Joseph. Information on this can be found on the link already mentioned above – and scroll down the page until you come to the part entitled Conditions For The Plenary Indulgence During The Year Of St Joseph.
Within the next few weeks, the diocese will be producing a prayer card with the Holy Father’s prayer to St Joseph to be distributed to every parish and school in the diocese.
During the course of this year, may we, as the Diocese of Middlesbrough, experience St Joseph’s care and protection for us, and as we grow in devotion to him, may we come to know and love Jesus, our Saviour and be wrapped in the maternal love of Mary, our mother, the Mother of God and the spouse of St Joseph.
Yours in blessed hope,
Prayer for the Year of St 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.
Litany of Saint Joseph
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of his household,
R. And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray, — O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.