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Why St. Joseph is the Saint We Need in 2021

It has been one year since Covid-19 changed human society, and Pope Francis continues to serve as our spiritual accompanier during this pandemic.

You are invited to pray this special Novena to Saint Joseph, based on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, beginning on the March 19 Feast of Saint Joseph.


In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved, tender and loving, obedient, and accepting father — a father who is creatively courageous, working, and also in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special Year of Saint Joseph beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021. The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which he says has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”


A Novena

A form of Catholic prayer that you can do over 9 days.

To pray a Novena is to recite a specific prayer or series of prayers with an intention in mind. The prayers for this Novena are all related to Saint Joseph. The format for this Novena is purposefully simple. As you pray this Novena, make it your own. (For example, you may want to add a prayer such as the Hail Mary or Our Father to conclude the daily Novena prayer).

NOVENA PROCESS

  1. Place yourself in a comfortable setting, free from distraction. Optional: Light a candle, play soft meditative music, or use a prayer bowl.
  2. Pause. Take several, deep, cleansing breaths. Remember that you are in the Holy Presence of God.
  3. Read the Novena intention several times, either silently or aloud. Breathe deeply. Pause between each reading. Allow the words to resonate in your spirit.
  4. Consider this: How are the words resonating within you? If the words were to live in your heart, enliven your soul, and nourish your spirit, what do you need to affirm or change in your life?
  5. Conclude by giving gratitude for this time knowing that you are “together and by association” in prayer with members of the Lasallian family. Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Day 1: March 19

Feast of Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph: A Universal Father

The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation”.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, the year anniversary of the coronavirus lockdown is upon us. We pray for all those who we have lost, those who still are suffering from the effects of the virus and for the healing of humanity and our planet.

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

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.

Day 2: March 20

Saint Joseph: A Beloved Father

In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God: “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him” (Ps 103:13).

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, in times of doubt, I pray for an increase in faith.

“Joseph, then, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties, and our weaknesses. He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course. At times, we want to be in complete control, yet God always sees the bigger picture.”

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

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.

Day 3: March 21

Saint Joseph: A  Tender and Loving Father

Joseph saw Jesus grow daily “in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour” (Lk 2:52). As the Lord had done with Israel, so Joseph did with Jesus: he taught him to walk, taking him by the hand; he was for him like a father who raises an infant to his cheeks, bending down to him and feeding him (cf. Hos 11:3-4).

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, guide me in my weakness to find my strength.

“The history of salvation is worked out “in hope against hope” (Rom 4:18), through our weaknesses. All too often, we think that God works only through our better parts, yet most of his plans are realized in and despite our frailty.”

Novena 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.

Day 4: March 22

Saint Joseph: An Obedient Father

As he had done with Mary, God revealed his saving plan to Joseph. He did so by using dreams, which in the Bible and among all ancient peoples, were considered a way for him to make his will known.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, accompany me as I strive to be a cooperator in God’s mission.

“Saint Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood and that in this way, “he cooperated in the fullness of time in the great mystery of salvation and is truly a minister of salvation.”

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

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.

Day 5: March 23

Saint Joseph: An Accepting Father

Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. He trusted in the angel’s words.  “The nobility of Joseph’s heart is such that what he learned from the law he made dependent on charity. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man. Even though he does not understand the bigger picture, he makes a decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity, and her life. In his hesitation about how best to act, God helped him by enlightening his judgment”.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, I pray that I may see all of my sisters and brothers as made in the image of the Creator God.

“Joseph’s attitude encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak, for God chooses what is weak (cf. 1 Cor 1:27). He is the ‘Father of orphans and protector of widows’ (Ps 68:6), who commands us to love the stranger in our midst. I like to think that it was from Saint Joseph that Jesus drew inspiration for the parable of the prodigal son and the merciful father.” (cf. Lk 15:11-32).

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

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.

Day 6: March 24

Saint Joseph: A Creatively Courageous Father

If the first stage of all true interior healing is to accept our personal history and embrace even the things in life that we did not choose, we must now add another important element: creative courage. This emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties. In the face of difficulty, we can either give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring out resources we did not even think we had.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, I pray for your protection.

“Every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is “the child” whom Joseph continues to protect. For this reason, Saint Joseph is invoked as protector of the unfortunate, the needy, exiles, the afflicted, the poor and the dying.  Consequently, the Church cannot fail to show a special love for the least of our brothers and sisters, for Jesus showed a particular concern for them and personally identified with them. From Saint Joseph, we must learn that same care and responsibility. We must learn to love the child and his mother, to love the sacraments and charity, to love the Church and the poor. Each of these realities is always the child and his mother.”

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

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.

Day 7: March 25

Saint Joseph: A Father in the Shadows

The Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father,[24] tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. He uses the evocative image of a shadow to define Joseph. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, we ask your blessing over all fathers and those who care for others as fathers.

“Fathers are not born but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person.”

Novena 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.

Day 8: March 26

Saint Joseph: A Working Father

Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.

Novena Intention

Saint Joseph, I pray for all who are unemployed or underemployed.

“Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfilment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living?”

Working persons, whatever their job may be, are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us.”

Novena 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.

Day 9: March 27

Saint Joseph: Patron Saint of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools

The saints help all the faithful “to strive for the holiness and the perfection of their particular state of life.” Their lives are concrete proof that it is possible to put the Gospel into practice.

Meditations from the Time for Retreat, Saint John Baptist de La Salle

De La Salle had a special love for Saint Joseph, developed undoubtedly as part of his training in the seminary of Saint Sulpice. The first seal of the Institute, of which we have samples on obedience as early as 1707, depicts Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, and this special devotion to the Infant Jesus and Saint Joseph is mentioned in the Bull of Approbation.

The Rule of 1705 states: “At one o’clock the Brothers will assemble in the oratory to recite the Litany of Saint Joseph, Patron and Protector of the Community, to ask for his spirit and his assistance in the Christian education of children” (CL 25:100).

On March 19, 1719, De La Salle was able to say his last Mass with the Brothers at Saint Yon, an event that was regarded as a special favor from Saint Joseph. The Founder died less than three weeks later, on April 7.

Novena 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.

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of the Institute, pray for us.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever

APOSTOLIC LETTER, PATRIS CORDE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

ON THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF SAINT JOSEPH AS PATRON OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH

© Maryann Donohue-Lynch, District of Eastern North America. All Rights Reserved.