You might know that the Year of. St Joseph lasts until December 8, 2021, but what does the Year of St. Joseph mean? When Pope Francis proclaimed a “Year of St. Joseph”, it marked the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph being declared a Patron of the Church. More than that, it serves as an invitation to all of us to honor our commitment to God in the same way that Joseph did for the Holy Family.
What Does the Year of St. Joseph Mean to Us?
As Oblates of the Virgin Mary, our spirituality is clearly closely tied to Mary. This makes the Year of St. Joseph a special opportunity to explore the unique role that Joseph served as a husband and earthly father alongside the Mother of God.
Father Paul Kallal, OMV, describes his personal relationship with Joseph as a work in progress, but it’s grown in the last year since his ordination to the Priesthood:
“Joseph said yes to Mary, to bring her into his home and caring for her as a chaste spouse. His yes to Mary was, therefore, a ‘yes’ to Jesus, a ‘yes’ to fatherhood. His love for both was fruitful, not sterile. Joseph has taught me to say ‘yes’ to Jesus and Mary, especially in moments when I might not want to say ‘yes.’“Fr. Paul Kallal, OMV
The Year of St. Joseph is also reflected in our ministries and community life, including vocations and St. Joseph Retreat House.
Teaching Important Lessons for Vocations
What does the Year of St. Joseph mean for someone considering religious life? When it comes to vocations with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, this year is an opportunity to see our brothers, seminarians and the priesthood through Joseph’s experience.
According to Fr. Paul, St. Joseph teaches any man discerning an OMV vocation three key things:
- With St. Joseph as his model and intercessor, any man discerning an OMV vocation can learn authentic masculinity. As St. Joseph teaches, authentic masculinity does not mean hiding one’s feelings or thoughts, nor is authentic masculinity sterile. As the Gospels illustrate, St. Joseph had concerns and fears about bringing Mary into his home and becoming the earthly father of Jesus Christ. However, his faith and trust in God enabled St. Joseph to do God’s will for his life.
- St. Joseph teaches a young man about the importance of presence. It’s interesting how Joseph does not say a word in the Sacred Scripture, but through his physical presence, continually says yes to God and yes to the Holy Family.
- St. Joseph’s dedication shows a man who got the job done no matter what it took. During the flight to Egypt, where the Holy Family lived three years as refugees, St. Joseph provided as a husband and father for Mary and Jesus.
Sharing Jesus Christ at St. Joseph Retreat House
The aptly named St. Joseph Retreat House in Milton, MA, which is run by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, is hopeful about the ability to offer more experiences during the Year of St. Joseph in 2021.
While many retreat houses have closed throughout the pandemic, St. Joseph Retreat house has been safely opened since July 2020, following all health guidelines and precautions, and offers a silent and peaceful oasis of prayer. Fr. Paul believes that “the house continues to live out the mission of the man it is named after, a home dedicated to leading people closer to the Divine Person of Jesus Christ.”
By August, the retreat house hopes to welcome groups back to the campus to continue on their spiritual journeys. In particular, we look forward to offering opportunities for men’s groups to make days of recollection with St. Joseph as the theme and model for prayer.
What Does the Year of St. Joseph Mean to You?
The Year of St. Joseph can be equally meaningful to laypeople, especially when we consider that St. Joseph himself was a layman—one who lived a virtuous, though imperfect, life and became a canonized saint. What a remarkable example!
A year focused on his life gives everyone a chance to develop a personal relationship with St. Joseph, to become more virtuous, and grow closer to both Jesus and Mary along the way.
Helpful Year of St. Joseph Resources
As you explore your connection to St. Joseph over the next few months, there are many readings and prayers to guide you. St. Francis Chapel, another OMV ministry, offers information on the Year of St. Joseph, and Fr. Paul recommends a few additional resources:
- Pope Francis’ letter, Patris corde, is a good, short read, providing a true image of St. Joseph and his importance in the everyday lives of Catholics.
- The 33 Day Consecration to St. Joseph by Fr. Donald Calloway is a simple yet powerful devotion to St. Joseph.
- In 2015, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ wrote a wonderful letter, “Into the Breach,” challenging fathers to reclaim their fatherhood by relying on the fatherly intercession of St. Joseph.
We hope you’ll embrace the Year of St. Joseph and the opportunity it offers to shape your heart and prayers. Using Joseph as a teacher, look for ways that you can say a bold “Yes!” to what God asks of you.
Are you working on building a closer relationship with St. Joseph? What questions do you have about the Year of St. Joseph in 2021? Are there additional readings or resources you’d recommend to fellow Catholics? Please let us know in the comments below.