The Church holds that the holiness of St. Joseph surpasses all creatures except Our Blessed Mother. Divine Providence assigned him the mission of being the foster father of the God-manand the virginal spouse of Mary, the Mother of God. Although he is a figure that seems to be in the background in the Gospel accounts, he bore a tremendous amount of responsibility in the overall plan of Salvation History.
God always gives one the grace equal to the task he assigns that person. Therefore, St. Joseph was endowed with all the divine blessings he needed for his mission. At the same time, he also had to cooperate with that grace. We see that at times he was troubled and confused by some of the circumstances surrounding his espousal to Mary and the conception of Jesus. Also, the flight to Egypt and two-year exile had to be very trying. The demands of his vocation were immense. Nevertheless, he grew in virtue and rose to meet the challenges at each juncture, serving, protecting and providing for his wife and son. He grew in the virtues of faith, humility, prudence, chastity, obedience, courage and justice. After years of service and fidelity, he had the extraordinary privilege of dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Because of his example as a husband and father, he is held as a model of this vocation for all Christian men. He is a saint to invoke in times of great material need, because of the manner in which he provided for his family. Today, he is also invoked as the patron of the Universal Church because he is a great protector.
The Solemnity of St. Joseph is March 19th. This year it is deferred to tomorrow (March 20th)because the 19th falls on a Sunday. I especially entrust all of the husbands and fathers of our parish to his paternal care. In the words of St. Teresa of Avila:
“I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to the glorious St. Joseph, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which he has delivered me, both in body and in soul.
To other saints, the Lord seems to have given grace to help us in some of our necessities. But my experience is that St. Joseph helps us in them all; also that the Lord wishes to teach us that, as he was himself subject on earth to St. Joseph, so in heaven he now does all that Joseph asks. This has also been the experience of other persons whom I have advised to commend themselves to the saint …
I only request, for the love of God, whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for he will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious patriarch and to be devoted to him.”
Glorious Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Fr. Tim Byerley
The days of both Fast and Abstinence during Lent are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
The other Fridays of Lent are days of Abstinence.
On a day of Fast, only one (1) full meal is permitted. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast.
On a day of Abstinence, no meat may be eaten. Those who have reached the age of 14 are obliged by the law of Abstinence.
The obligation to observe the laws of Fast and Abstinence "substantially" or as a whole is a serious obligation.
The Fridays of the year, outside of Lent, are designated as days of Penance, but each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other practice of voluntary self-denial as Penance.
The time for fulfilling the Paschal Precept (Easter Duty) extends from the First Sunday of Lent (March 5, 2017) to the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (June 11, 2017).