Towards the end of 2020, Pope Francis announced the ‘Year of St. Joseph’ (8 December 2020- 8 December 2021) and published his Apostolic letter, ‘Patris Corde’: “With a Father’s Heart”. He begins his letter: “With a Father’s Heart – that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as the ‘son of Joseph’.
We are invited to reflect on this message written against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic. Pope Francis recognizes that during this pandemic, we have experienced how ‘’our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked…men and women working to provide essential services and public safety….How many fathers and 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.” The Pope continues that in this way, “Each of us can discover in St. Joseph, the man who goes unnoticed, a daily discreet and hidden presence, a support and a guide who played an incomparable role in the history of salvation”.
Through the centuries, the Church has faced numerous crises including our present pandemic. This is not the time to be afraid and to panic. The Spirit-filled Christian Community has survived and thrived even in the worst situation and has continued to fulfill the mission handed on. What matters most is to believe and trust, to be filled with hope and to give that hope to others, and be filled with love and express this concretely to others as we strive to heal the world. The dream is to look for innovative forms of solidarity, new ways of exercising leadership and governance, and in so doing, to continue to explore the new digital technology and social media avenues to sustain our spiritual communities.
‘Fratelli Tutti’ calls us to the possibility of sharing the same dream of a better world, in which dignity of all is recognized, in which relationships of solidarity are generated in search for the Common Good. We constantly strive to share a dream that becomes a source of personal and social energy, to open ourselves to the dialogue that leads to producing the necessary changes to generate a culture of encounter, in which spaces and hearts are opened.
Here is the lovely prayer taken from Pope Francis’s “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as a Patron of the Universal Church. For those wishing to participate, the prayer may be used to pray a Novena from 10 March – 18 March in advance of the feast day of St. Joseph on 19 March.