Full Transcript of Father Rocky’s first 19-minute talk on Saint Joseph.
Hi everybody, Father Rocky here in the Chapel of the Nativity in Green Bay, WI, the headquarters of Relevant Radio and thank you for signing up for our Experience the Year of Saint Joseph with Relevant Radio. Today is December 19th and because you signed up for this experience for the year, every 19th day of the month we’re going to send you a 19-minute talk about Saint Joseph.
And we’re already 35 seconds into the talks. I’m timing myself.
And we’ll have topics on the life of Saint Joseph that I hope enrich your life and also teaches you more about the great saint of Saint Joseph. It was our Holy Father who just 11 days ago, surprised us with an announcement that we’re going to have a Year of Saint Joseph, and it began that day, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. And it will last until December 8th next year, 2021 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. So here at Relevant Radio, we were very happy with this announcement. Excited, actually, because Saint Joseph has been a great friend and intercessor for us.
And we also want to help the Holy Father advance this idea of having a Year of Saint Joseph. You know how it happens so many times an announcement is made. Everybody is excited about it. It’s in the newspaper. It’s in the headlines. It runs all over social media and 24 hours later, 48 hours later, people forget it.
And they move on to the next thing. Well, we know how that works, I know how that works, so we’re going to make a commitment to you because you signed up for this experience, a Year of Saint Joseph with Relevant Radio to keep you informed and reach out to you.
Not only on a monthly basis, every 19th day of the month, but also here at Relevant Radio whenever possible. We’re going to have the Mass on Wednesday in honor of Saint Joseph. Why? Because Wednesdays are devoted to Saint Joseph. I say whenever possible, because the Mass on Ash Wednesday can’t be in honor of Saint Joseph, because that has to be Ash Wednesday Mass. But many others can.
We’ll also celebrate in a wonderful way the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday after Christmas, we’ll celebrate in a great way the Feast of Saint Joseph on March 19th. We will renew the consecration of Relevant Radio to Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1st and whenever possible, also have a Mass in honor of Saint Joseph the 19th day of each month. Because the 19th of each month is dedicated to Saint Joseph, and many of you never knew that. Or that the 19th was dedicated Saint Joseph each month and Wednesdays are. So we’re going to keep that alive.
So today I want to speak to you about the story of Saint Joseph and Relevant Radio. So let’s go back 10, 11 years: 2007, 2008. And the Chairman of the Board, who was also our CEO at that time, Tom Vorpahl, was having a conversation with our local Bishop Bishop David Ricken, who’s on our board. And the Bishop asked him how are things going at Relevant Radio? And Tom said, spiritually over the top. The testimonials as we get from people are very, very, moving, inspiring and humbling. But, he said financially it’s really, really difficult. In fact, it was a train wreck.
And the Bishop got very thoughtfully, said, well, Tom, what you need to do is get a statue of Saint Joseph, put it by the door, and then get a prayer and pray to Saint Joseph every day. And that’s what he began to do. But a year later he saw the Bishop and I was with the Bishop at the same time I had just started at Relevant Radio full time. The Bishop asked, how are things going at Relevant Radio? It was the same story: spiritually it’s over the top, souls are being saved, testimonies are amazing, but financially it’s a train wreck. And the Bishop very thoughtfully said, “Oh. Oh! Oh well, you need a miracle.” Thanks, bishop, that’s pretty obvious. He said, “No, you really do.” I said, “I know we really do.”
He said, “You know what you need to do? You need to go to the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal. And there’s where you can pray to Saint Joseph.” I had never heard of the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal. I’ve heard of Montreal, I’ve heard of Canada. I never heard of the Oratory of Saint Joseph. Maybe you hadn’t either.
And then the Bishop said, “In fact, I’ll take you.” Which is amazing. I mean how many times does Bishop clear his calendar for four days? Well that’s exactly what he did. Bishop Ricken, Tom Vorpahl, myself, another board member John Cavil, we got in a plane. We flew up to Montreal in February of 2010. It was really cold and we stayed at the one-star hotel at the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal, that’s part of the deal. It’s clean, there’s no bugs in it, all right, but it’s a one-star hotel; nothing fancy.
And we prayed there for two or three days. You have to go to Confession. You have to put your hands on the feet of Jesus on the crucifix. You have to pray to this beautiful statue of Saint Joseph in the Crypt Church. You go and place your hands on the tomb of Blessed Andre. He was Blessed Andre back then. Now is Saint Andre Bessette. And his feast day is January 5th or 6th every year and we’ve got a stained glass window of him in our Chapel out of gratitude, and you go to Confession and you bring your needs to Saint Andre. Saint Andre will take you to Saint Joseph and Saint Joseph will take you to our Lord and your problems are solved. And that’s how the Bishop explained it to us.
Well, I remember being there in the little Chapel of Saint Joseph thinking about how are we going to rectify our situation at Relevant Radio. And I realized we needed a very big gift to have any chance of digging ourselves out of a hole. I won’t go into the specifics of it, but I remember giving him a number and within a year we had received that and ever since that time we’ve been going forward. Well, when we came back from that pilgrimage in February of 2010, we were in our pledge drive. And we told the people on air what we had done and our audience reacted in the most extraordinary way. There were so many phone calls that day, so many gifts, so many pledges over a half million dollars we raised that day. The phones are almost melting down! Smoke was almost coming out of the computers, and I said, wow, Saint Joseph doesn’t wait! He really accomplishes things and ever since that moment, the needle’s been moving in the right direction. 10 years later, we’ve grown by 1000% from reaching 20 million people to 230 million people. We’ve gotten things in order and part of the deal with Saint Joseph, the Oratory of Saint Joseph, is that if he answered your prayer, you had to go back the next year to thank him. So the next year we went back there to thank him.
And after thanking him for about an hour or so, still had a couple hours on our hands, we said, well now what do we do? I said, well, might as well ask him for more! So we asked him for more, and every year he’s come through in a big way. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do this year because Canada’s been closed down and I don’t know how we can go in there. Maybe we’ll parachute in there and I’m running out of time but I will do my best will do my best to go back and thank him because every year he’s helped us in a great, great way.
So over the years, Saint Joseph in our Chapel, you can see his statue right here. It’s a traditional statue. He has the lily there, which is a sign of purity and chastity. He’s holding baby Jesus there. He started out on the floor near the door and there’s a little draft down there. It was kind of cold and after he came through the first big gift, I said, well, dog-gone-it Saint Joseph deserves a promotion and we put him up there on the wall where the Holy Family is now and there was a light there.
And then he helped us in another big way and I said, well, he deserves another promotion. So I brought him over here and John Cavil, who knows all the master craftsmen, had somebody design this backdrop in wood, it’s hand carved. You can see above Saint Joseph, there’s a mallet, there’s a chisel, there’s a saw. You know, Saint Joseph the Worker.
Well he came through in another big way and I said, we need to get Saint Joseph and Baby Jesus some golden crowns. And the people that are on Mission Team looked at me like, “Golden crowns? Come on, Father! These aren’t dolls! You don’t put crowns on them!” I said, sure, take a look. You’ll see all sorts of pictures of the Blessed Mother with a crown like Our Lady of Fatima or Jesus Christ, Christ the King. You’ll see a crown and you’ll see pictures of Saint Joseph with crown. That took a while and after, I don’t know a year or two, we got the crowns. These nice golden crowns for Saint Joseph and baby Jesus. We got them from the Talleres de Arte Granda studio in Madrid.
In that was, I’m going to say March of 2016 and I think it was Saint Patrick’s Day we put the crowns on. And within a month, we had a handshake deal with the Immaculate Heart Radio in California for a merger and acquisition and within the year and a half, because of Saint Joseph’s intercession, we doubled our size.
Now, let me tell you this. Back in 2010, when Saint Joseph came through in a big way, and we received a $7,000,000 gift from a saintly woman from the Twin Cities. She had a stipulation on that gift. You could use only half of it to pay off debt.
The other half had to be used to grow the network and I was thinking, oh my goodness, but we’ve got so much debt this is no time to buy another station, but anyway, that was the stipulation, and that was the seed money for us to buy a station in Providence, RI. When many people thought Relevant Radio was out for the count that it was going to collapse, we went ahead and bought us a new station in Providence, RI. 550 AM, WSJW.
Before we owned it, Salem Communications owned it and their call letters were WBEZ. It was a business station. So when we applied to purchase the station from the FCC, that’s the Federal Communications Commission, Washington DC, we asked them if we could change the call letters to SJW, Saint Joseph the Worker. And you know what? We got their answer on March 19th. I think it was the year 2012 and that’s the Feast of Saint Joseph and we got our call signal Saint Joseph the Worker. That’s quite a story and he’s been working for us ever since that time.
So I wanted to tell you this story about Saint Joseph and Relevant Radio. There have been other moments in our history where we’ve had a very urgent and serious need. And we prayed to Saint Joseph. We prayed that novena prayer, which I’ll tell you about some other time in one of the talks. It begins, O Glorious Saint Joseph. It may be the oldest prayer to Saint Joseph around. And he came through for us in a very big way for our station in New York City, that was back in 2014, and recently in a very big way when we changed our stations from commercial stations to non-commercial stations so that we would not be obligated to take the ads from any political candidate running for federal office because sometimes the candidates who are running for office may promote policies which are against our Catholic and Christian faith. For those who have ears to hear, let them hear. You can understand what I mean. An it was a very serious and tense situation, and we prayed that prayer for nine days to Saint Joseph. And by golly, he’s come through once again. So Saint Joseph has been a great and powerful intercessor for Relevant Radio.
We’re very grateful for him and grateful to him, but he’s more than just an intercessor for Relevant Radio. He’s a role model for all of us and I would say in a special way for men, because he’s male, just like our Blessed Mother is a special role model for women because she’s female. He’s a role model for men, especially because of his humility, which is an extraordinary virtue. It’s a hard virtue to acquire, right? And when you acquire it and you say, “boy, I’m humble,” you just lost it, right? He’s a great example of humility. Saint Joseph is a great example of obedience. He’s a great example of loyalty and of chastity, a virtue we don’t hear much about and is commonly misunderstood. He’s a great example of generosity and perseverance and over the coming months we’re going to learn more about Saint Joseph so that we can imitate him. That’s what we have planned over the next 12 months.
And I have a list of topics that we’re going to be speaking to you about over the next 10 months, 12 months. Maybe I’ll give some talks. I’d like to invite some of the other priest like Father Simon, who you hear every day on Father Simon Says. Or Father Matthew Spencer, who used to have his own show every night and he belongs to the religious order of Saint Joseph – he’ll give some talks. I think Father Eric Nielsen, who’s a frequent contributor to The Inner Life.
And here’s some of the topics that we’re going to take a look at over the next 12 months: Today, the story of Saint Joseph and Relevant Radio. In January is Part One of the Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of Saint Joseph. There will be three parts on that theme. Then we’ll have a talk on Saint Joseph and the lives of the Saints – St Josemaria, St Damien of Molokai, Saint John Vianney, St Teresa of Avila and such. And we’ll talk about Pope Francis’ own wonderful and simple devotion to Saint Joseph, so much known now about the Statue of the Sleeping Saint Joseph. That’s what Pope Francis has brought to our attention. Then we’ll have an entire talk on March 19th about the O Glorious Saint Joseph Prayer. It’s my favorite and you’ll get a prayer card with that prayer on it. Then we’ll speak about Pope Francis and St Joseph, we’ll have a talk about the shrines of Saint Joseph. Will have a four-part series on the Litany of Saint Joseph. And that’ll round out our year of offerings to you on the theme of Saint Joseph during this year.
Because you have signed up for our Experience the Year of Saint Joseph, you should be receiving soon a booklet which will have the letter of the Holy Father about the Year of Saint Joseph called the Heart of the Father, “Patris Corde”. It’ll have a section on the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows of Saint Joseph. It will also have the Litany of Saint Joseph and some powerful prayers of Saint Joseph. It will have a list and guideline about how you can qualify to receive a plenary indulgence on the various feast days of Saint Joseph throughout the year.
And remember to receive a plenary indulgence in the first place, we need to go to Mass and Communion. We need to go to Confession that week, that’s within eight days before or after. We need to be detached from any desire to sin. We need to pray for the Holy Father and we need to do the specific deed that’s been asked of us. It might be to visit a church dedicated to Saint Joseph. It may be to say a prayer in honor of Saint Joseph. It may be to pray the Litany of Saint Joseph.
But the key thing is to be detached from sin, and the Church promotes these plenary indulgences so that we take advantage of something which is good for our soul anyway. And what could be better for our soul than to receive the Holy Eucharist in the state of grace at Mass? What could be better for the soul than to go to Confession? So it’s going to be a great year. We’re going to try to keep it alive for you here at Relevant Radio. Tell your friends it’s not too late to sign up. We’re going to be staying with you throughout the year.
And next month, look forward to a talk on the first part of the Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of Saint Joseph, and being the 19th of December, just try to imagine where Saint Joseph would have been right now. He and Mary, Mary on a donkey, making their way from Nazareth in the North all the way down to Bethlehem. The Star of David was leading them on and Saint Joseph had just one concern. He had to take care of Mary. He had to take care of the Child. At great inconvenience to himself. At night, it would get down in the 50s or 40s. During the daytime, the sun would be in their eyes. All sorts of people on the road. All sorts of traffic and congestion. I know they didn’t have cars back then, but there was congestion. Horses and carts and donkeys and all the rest. And there was Saint Joseph focused on the Blessed Mother.
So just six days from now is Christmas and I hope it’s a very, very Merry Christmas for you and your family and Saint Joseph intercedes for you and blesses you.