On December 8 2020, Pope Francis declared a “Year of St. Joseph” marking the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as the Patron Saint of the Universal Church. This year continues until December 8, 2021, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Although we read little about St. Joseph in the Bible, we know that he holds a central role in both the life of Jesus and in salvation history. In Patris Corde: With a Father’s Heart, Pope Francis writes, “After Mary, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in the papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse.” He is the Patron Saint of many – workers, fathers, travelers, unborn children, immigrants, dying a happy death and is the Patron Saint of Canada. His quiet strength and obedience serves as a model of faith for all.
St. Joseph was a carpenter by trade, which allowed him to support Mary and Jesus. His actions show us of his deep faith and trust in God’s plan, from accepting Mary’s pregnancy to becoming a refugee in Egypt to protect Jesus; he entered fully into the plan of salvation. In Patris Corde: With a Father’s Heart, Pope Francis highlights seven characteristics of St. Joseph, each meant to inspire us to live our own faith more deeply by emulating his qualities.
Pope Francis describes St. Joseph as a beloved, tender and loving, obedient, accepting, creatively courageous, working father and ultimately a father in the shadows. All the characteristics show us how Joseph loved Jesus - with a father’s heart. By his loving devotion, he is both a model for Christian living and a visible sign of how God loves each of us.
Pope Francis writes that, “The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.” We encourage you to read the letter and discover anew the great attributes of St. Joseph, Patron Saint of the Universal Church.