Sunday, 02 May 2021 09:45

The Year of St. Joseph

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On Dec. 8, 2020, Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, announced a Year of St. Joseph in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the foster father of Jesus as patron of the Universal Church. The Holy Father said, “The aim of this Apostolic Letter,” and one might also presume of this special year, “is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal” (Patris Corde, 7). The Year of St. Joseph will conclude on Dec. 8, 2021.

St. Joseph and Jesus statueWhat follows is intended as a resource to help you and your parish celebrate the Year of the St. Joseph.

Plenary Indulgences

During the course of the Year of St. Joseph, the Apostolic Penitentiary, with the authority of Pope Francis, has made available to the faithful a number of special plenary indulgences throughout the course of this special year. These indulgences may be obtained in the following ways:

  • Meditating for 30 minutes on the Our Father;
  • Participating in a spiritual retreat that includes at least one meditation on St. Joseph;
  • Carrying out a corporal or a spiritual work of mercy in imitation of the example of St. Joseph;
  • Reciting the holy rosary together as a family or as an engaged couple;
  • Entrusting one’s daily work to St. Joseph the Worker and invoking his intercession for those who are without work;
  • Reciting the Litany of St. Joseph for the persecuted church and for Christians suffering persecution; or,
  • Reciting a legitimately approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph (especially on May 1, the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker), on the 19th of each month, and/or on each Wednesday.

In order to obtain the above plenary indulgences, the usual conditions apply, namely, sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father, and detachment from sin. These “may be carried out several days preceding or following the performance of the prescribed works. But it is more fitting that the Communion and the prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the day the work is performed” (Handbook of Indulgences, Norms for Indulgences, 23.3).

The sick and those unable to leave their homes because of the pandemic may obtain the plenary indulgences if they are detached from sin and intend to complete the usual requirements as soon as possible.
Those desiring to obtain an indulgence “must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the time the prescribed works are completed” (Handbook of Indulgences, Norms for Indulgences, 20.1).

What is an indulgence?

Many misconceptions remain regarding indulgences, but the Catholic Church has never done away with them. Put simply, an indulgence is a gift the church attaches to a pious work (to certain prayers and devotions, pilgrimages, carrying out the works of mercy, reading the Scriptures, etc.) to encourage such devout practices as aids to growth in holiness. But this does not answer the question of what an indulgence does. The Handbook of Indulgences describes an indulgence as:

“… the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has already been taken away. The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church, which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively distributes and applies the treasury of the expiatory works of Christ and the saints” (Norms for Indulgences, 1).

An indulgence can be either plenary (that is, full) or partial.

A Saint for All

05 02 2021 year of st. joseph mosaic cathedralSaints are powerful intercessors for us. Turning to saints by asking them to pray for us is part of our Catholic tradition. For St. Joseph, Saints are powerful intercessors for us. Turning to saints by asking them to pray for us is part of our Catholic tradition. For St. Joseph, he is the patron saint of many causes:

  • The Universal Church
  • Families
  • Fathers
  • Expectant mothers
  • Travelers
  • The dying
  • House sellers and buyers
  • Craftsmen
  • Working people in general

Ways you can honor St. Joseph

Check out these wonderful prayers by looking them up online as they are too long to print in Catholic Times:

  • Prayer to St. Joseph after the rosary
  • 30 Day Prayer to St. Joseph
  • Seven Sundays Devotion

The Litany of St. Joseph

The litany of St. Joseph has been approved for both public and private use. As such, parishes might consider publicly praying the litany of St. Joseph on Wednesdays and on the 19th of each month.

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Jesus, hear us. Christ, 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.

St. 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 takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God,
who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

He made him the lord of his household, And prince over his people.

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 in whom on Earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer to St. Joseph

The prayer below, The prayer below, composed by the Holy Father Pope Francis, is taken from Patris Corde, 7:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,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 fatherand guide us in the path of life.Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,and defend us from every evil. Amen.