YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH
Tools for Enflaming Our Homes in the Year of St. Joseph
On Dec 8, 2020, Pope Francis announced the beginning of the year of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is a model of individual surrender to God and availability to divine appointment. As part of the Archdiocese’s three year apostolic initiative to Enflame our Hearts, Homes, and Communities, we are prayerful that this year of St. Joseph will be a catalyst to Enflame our Homes.
St. Joseph is widely honored as the foster Father of Jesus, husband to the Virgin Mary and protector of the Catholic Church. Through this year, we encourage individuals and parishes to consider the individual virtues that strengthened him in these roles. Specifically, St. Joseph displayed incredible humility, obedience, surrender of personal will and openness to the divine appointments in his life. Each of these virtues are necessary components for any individual striving in holiness and key themes in our Enflame initiative. St. Joseph modeled a life of listening — to God and to others. As we all work to strengthen our marriages and families, let us look to St. Joseph to be better listeners, valuing relationships of connection and accompaniment in our homes. Through the intercession of St. Joseph, let us focus on the close relationships in our lives. Let us listen more closely to Christ’s message for our hearts and to the deep desires of the hearts in our home, shrinking the distance between ourselves, our family members and Jesus.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mathew 22: 36-40)
He will turn the heart of fathers to their sons, and the heart of sons to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with utter destruction. (Malachi 3:24)
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. (Mathew: 18-25)
Celebrating the Year of St. Joseph: Ideas and Tools for Individuals, Families and Parishes
Ideas for Individuals:
· Pray the Holy Rosary daily, reciting a prayer to St. Joseph at the conclusion
· Listen to homilies and reflections on St. Joseph that have been preached by priests of the Archdiocese (Homilies Coming Soon)
· Plan a pilgrimage to one or more of the St. Joseph parishes across the Archdiocese
· Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on his feast days: March 19th and May 1st
· Participate in the year of St. Joseph events in your parish, online and across the Archdiocese, as you are able.
· Include prayer to St. Joseph in your morning and evening prayer
Ideas for Parishes:
· Recite a prayer to St. Joseph after daily Masses, such as the Litany of St. Joseph
· Educate your parishioners on the importance of the “Value Them Both amendment” and through the intercession of St. Joseph, pray for and advocate for the passage of this important amendment that protects mothers and the unborn.
· Offer the Votive Mass of St. Joseph on Wednesdays, the traditional day given to his honor.
· Father’s Day Idea: Encourage families to buy dads a St. Joseph statue or framed picture for his home workbench or work desk, and encourage them to bring that image to Mass on Father’s day. At the end of Mass on Father’s Day offer a blessing for dads and for the St. Joseph images. Consider having simple St. Joseph images available for dads without an image.
· Create and post Instagram/Facebook/Parish website quick blurbs on St. Joseph with compelling images.
· Offer homilies and reflections on the titles given to St. Joseph in his litany.
· Encourage children and families to attend Camp Tekakwitha to receive potent and age appropriate formation about St. Joseph.
· Offer opportunities for parishioners to participate in a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph, with the final consecration prayer said in unison at the parish led by the priest.
- Parish St. Joe Service Day: See if parishioners need anything done to their homes and set up a family or other group of people to do service day. Parish could create and offer pre and post St. Joseph questions.
- Promote the Year of St. Joseph opportunities on social media channels
- Plan special prayers and activities during March, the month the Church dedicates to St. Joseph
- In addition to welcoming people back face to face…also ask for prayer intentions and service needs
· Include a link to the Year of St. Joseph website on the parish website
Ideas for Families:
· Download the St. Joseph Tuesday Toolbox that helps family’s answer the questions of: Plenary indulgence: What is it? Why do we want to gain this? How do we gain it this year? The Tuesday toolbox provides ideas on what families can do for the year of St. Joseph.
· Pray together once a week, beyond meal times, asking St. Joseph to strengthen your family.
· Host a St. Joseph table for your family on March 19
· Honoring St. Joseph the Listener, have your family commit to more deeply caring for each other by intentionally listening to each other and caring for the needs that you uncover through listening.
· Commit to a weekly family huddle meeting (Fall Semester 2021)—by watching weekly short 3-5 minute video that families can watch together. Questions to allow opportunities for family members to share with each other (example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y3tGEBHSHs) Provided by St. Joseph in Shawnee
· St. Joseph Family Service Day: See if any elderly family or neighbors need anything done to their homes and have your family complete a doable project or two. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph and teach your family about the sacredness of work and service.
· As family members, we must earn the right to be heard by respectfully treating each other with humility and compassion like St. Joseph. Through the intercession of St. Joseph, pray for and work to develop a culture of humility and respect in your family.
· Register your children or your family to attend Camp Tekakwitha to receive potent and age appropriate formation about St. Joseph.
· Through the intercession of St. Joseph, pray for the Holy Spirit to shrink the distance between your hearts by engaging in day trips, strengthen marriages by encouraging date nights, playing catch, shooting hoops, and/or playing board games.
· Father’s Day Idea: Encourage families to buy dads a St. Joseph statue or framed picture for his home workbench or desk, and that they bring that image to Mass on Father’s day. At the end of Mass on Father’s Day offer a blessing for dads and for the St. Joseph images. Consider having simple St. Joseph images available for dads without an image.
Ideas for Catholic Schools and
- St. Joseph means, “the increaser.” Ask for St. Joseph’s intercession to increase the fervor of faith in your school.
- Offer a faculty and community Novena to St. Joseph.
- Find opportunities to highlight the holy and humble masculinity of St. Joseph and other saints like St. André Bessette.
- Offer father (figure) and son retreats
- Preach homilies about St. Joseph at selected all-school Masses
- Highlight St. Joseph in Theology of the Body and Religion Classes in mini units
- Offer a Daily prayer to St. Joseph over the intercom or in the classroom at the beginning of the school day.
- After school masses, the priest could lead the students in a St. Joseph prayer.
- On the 19th of each month, students could do a simple service project in honor of St. Joseph. This could include: making cards for their fathers (father figure), making cards for parishioners, making cards for priests and religious and praying the rosary for all fathers
- Learn St. Joseph patronages: Universal Church, Unborn children, fathers, workers, travelers, immigrants, and a happy death.
- Offer enhanced celebration on St. Joseph feast days
- Schools of Faith Formation on St. Joseph for faculty
- St. Joseph is known as the listener. Help teachers develop time for listening (listening to students, listening to God)
- Father/child evenings within the schools
- Use Ruah Woods (K-8 Theology of the Body organization) lessons on St. Joseph
- Donuts with Dad (father figure) – Socially distanced in person
- Choose 1 or 2 readings
- Provide 1 to 3 discussion questions
- Suggest possible song
- Donuts with Dad will be in the morning just before school begins
- PTO or similar organization provide the donuts and juice/water
- Rotating St. Joseph Statue
- Each classroom has a small St. Joseph statue, the St. Joseph Prayer included above, and a notebook for petitions.
- Students in each class take turns taking the items home and praying the St. Joseph prayer as a family.
- Families could write their prayer intentions notebook, and each family would include all the petitions in their prayers.
- Schools to come up with some template to brings dads together with children (donuts for dads, after all school Masses, in the evenings with RE) and have readings and reflections to do between dads and children
- Create and share St. Joseph posters in the schools
- Prayer to St. Joseph in every classroom
- Include Year of St. Joseph prayer on school website and school newsletter
- Listen to St. Joseph Rosary Meditation Podcast
- Listen to Meditations on Patris Corde: Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father Pope Francis—1. A beloved father 2. A tender and loving father 3. An obedient father 4. An accepting father 5. A creatively courageous father 6. A working father 7. A father in the shadows
Knights of Columbus and Men’s Group Resources:
- Read: Into the Breach – https://dphx.org/into-the-breach/An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, my Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix by Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix
- Explore Knights of Columbus Into the Breach Website – https://www.kofc.org/en/campaigns/into-the-breach.html
- Watch Into the Breach: A Series for Catholic Men (videos) – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ss0i4xuSffQ
- March 20- Cor: Retreat with the Heart of St. Joseph. Prairie Star Ranch invites all adults to dive deeper into the heart and mystery of St. Joseph in this day-long guided retreat. In-person and virtual options are available.
- Date TBA-Retreat for dads of children with special needs with particular attention give to the example of St. André Bessette.-Tom Racunas to develop