Parish youth embark on Year of St Joseph journey

As Catholics, while we embrace and express our love to many various saints in our Catholic Church, we often overlook this holy saint, whose role was, as St John Paul II exclaims, to be the ‘Guardian of the Redeemer’.

Mar 26, 2021

By Aline Lim
As Catholics, while we embrace and express our love to many various saints in our Catholic Church, we often overlook this holy saint, whose role was, as St John Paul II exclaims, to be the ‘Guardian of the Redeemer’.

The Pastoral Youth Pastoral Team of Sacred Heart Cathedral decided to embark on a journey in the Year of St Joseph, proclaimed by Pope Francis. Since our state is still under certain restrictions when it comes to open gatherings, the team has decided to organize a series of sessions on St Joseph virtually.

The first was held on Mar 17, just two days shy of the Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The theme was “St Joseph: The Father’s Heart”, based on the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis, Patris Corde. To impart this, the youth featured their spiritual father and shepherd, Archbishop John Wong.

The Zoom gathering garnered a “full house” of 300 pax, which was the maximum capacity. The prelate began by introducing St Joseph as the Patron Saint of the Universal Church. He described Joseph as an ordinary person, someone often overlooked and goes unnoticed. Although he was the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Foster Father of Jesus, he often appeared silent in the Scriptures and silence was his language.

Referring to the Patris Corde, the Archbishop brought out the seven main points on heart of our spiritual father, St Joseph and expounded on each one in his reflection:

St Joseph is a beloved father. He was the Spouse of Mary and father of Jesus. He was at the service of the entire salvific plan. Hence, we honor him, on Wednesdays and most especially in the month of March.

St Joseph is a tender and loving father. Archbishop brought out the love of that fathers have for their children. Joseph did the same thing for Jesus, and in him, Jesus saw the tender love of God. Just as parents influence the behavior of their children, when we look at the life of Jesus, we see the tenderness and love of St Joseph.

St Joseph is an obedient father. God revealed to him, His saving plan through four dreams, all of which his response was always immediate and always obedient to the will of the Father. Referring to the finding of the Child Jesus in the temple and Jesus’ willingness to submit to the Father’s will, Archbishop noted that the obedience of Jesus to follow his parents home is attributed to the teaching of St Joseph and Mary.

St Joseph is an accepting father. Though Joseph did not understand the “bigger picture”, he decided to protect the good name, dignity and life of Mary. St Joseph can teach us by his example, that in a world where there is abuse and violence towards women, they are to be protected.

St Joseph is a creatively courageous father. In their flight to Egypt, the Holy Family arrived in a foreign land. Joseph as the head of the Family had to struggle to find a home, employment and put food on the table for the Mother and Child. The Archbishop noted, despite all of that, Joseph tried his best!

St Joseph is a working father. St Joseph shows us the value of dignified work and how we can look at our work as an opportunity to co-operate with God in His work of salvation.

St Joseph is a father in the shadow. Joseph was the earthly shadow of the Heavenly Father. While all children need fathers, the Church too needs a Father. All priests are called to be fathers too.

The Archbishop further shares, that Joseph went through anxieties, worries and burdens of what the future holds, but he did this out of love towards Mary and responded to the call of God. He calls on everyone to not only bring Mary into their homes, but Joseph as well into their homes!

Quoting one of the church fathers, Isidore of Iselamo, he ended by sharing that JOSEPH stands for J-ustice, O-bedience, S-ilence, E-xperience, P-rudence, H-umility. He added a last virtue to the Holy Patriarch – innocence. It was Joseph’s innocence that led him to be open to the will of God.

After the session ended, the virtual audience was given a chance to ask questions on St Joseph. Many acknowledged their gratefulness to our shepherd, for his enlightening session on St Joseph.

For the youth of Sacred Heart, the session has helped us to understand the heart of St Joseph more and has sparked an eagerness and excitement to know and love him more in this year dedicated to him.

As we continue on this journey to know St Joseph, we hope that many will respond to join us in our upcoming sessions on the Guardian of the Redeemer. Meanwhile, let us open our homes, and invite St Joseph to protect our families! St Joseph, ora pro nobis (pray for us)!––CS

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