On December 8th 2020, Pope Francis issued a Letter proclaiming 2021 as the Year of St Joseph entitled “With a Father’s Heart” (Patris corde).
As part of his Introduction the Pope wrote the following:
“ … I would like to share some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience. For, as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34). My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how “our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone… How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all”. Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.”
In the Letter, His Holiness looked at St Joseph under seven headings:
A Beloved father
A tender and loving father
An obedient father
An accepting father
A creatively courageous father
A Working father
A father in the shadows
It is a very powerful Letter with many, many quotable statements, eg, “The man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence who nonetheless played an incomparable role in the history of salvation”.
As an accepting father, Joseph is portrayed as the man who accepted Mary unconditionally – an important gesture even today, Pope Francis says, “in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident”.
St Joseph in the “special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty”
St Joseph “teaches the value, dignity and joy of work”
Today, March 19th, is the Feast Day of St. Joseph