Surprise! We’re in the Year of St Joseph. The special year, announced by the Holy Father on Tuesday, goes from December 8, 2020, until December 8, 2021. The announcement came on the same day as an Apostolic Letter, Patris corde, was released by Pope Francis to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
Patris corde means “With a Father’s Heart”. The letter describes St. Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, and a father in the shadows. In the letter, Pope Francis explains that the aim of his apostolic letter is “to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.”
The Holy Father connects St. Joseph to the current times, speaking about how ordinary people, even those who are making the biggest difference, are often overlooked. “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,” he writes.
Also on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced a special Plenary Indulgence for the Year of St. Joseph. The plenary indulgence will be granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, detachment from sin, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions) to those who participate in the Year of St Joseph in any of the following ways:
- Meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer or take part in a Spiritual Retreat with meditation on St. Joseph
- Perform a spiritual or corporal act of mercy following St. Joseph’s example
- For families or engaged couples who recite the Holy Rosary together
- Entrust your daily work to St. Joseph or ask St. Joseph’s intercession for the unemployed to find dignifying work
- Recite the Litany of St. Joseph or any other Prayer to St. Joseph for the persecuted Church and relief of all Christians suffering from persecution
Other provisions for the plenary indulgence can be found here.
At the end of Patris corde, Pope Francis offered this prayer:
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 father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
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