By Aurora de los Reyes
It is with sheer awe and utter wonder that the Catholic faithful holds St. Joseph with such high esteem and great fervor especially in this critical period of our suffering world. Thanks to Pope Francis, an ardent devotee himself, who declared a Year of St. Joseph from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021, St. Joseph is extolled as a model of fatherhood and a key intercessor in modern times.
Some of our popular saints believed in the supplications presented to St. Joseph as Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina who once said: “Ite ad Ioseph! Go to Joseph with extreme confidence, because I, like St. Teresa of Avila, do not remember having asked anything from Saint Joseph without having obtained it readily.”
As Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila, has reaffirmed: “I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of St. Joseph which he has failed to grant.”
Equally important, the Holy Father’s decree, issued through the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, has granted a plenary indulgence and other special indulgences subject to the usual conditions as going to confession, receiving the Eucharist, and praying for the intentions of the Pope. Along with these, a plenary indulgence can be obtained by those who do a 30-minute meditation of the Our Father; perform corporal or spiritual works of mercy, or recite the Holy Rosary as a family.
Our Parish also gives an opportunity to the faithful to receive plenary indulgence with the daily recitation of the Prayers and Litany of St. Joseph, before every Mass; on Wednesdays dedicated to the saint’s devotion and every 19th of the Month and on other related Feasts. According to Rev. Fr. Cesar Acuin, OFMCap, our Parish Priest, Pope Francis has made it easier for us Catholics to gain a plenary indulgence during these times of suffering. In medieval times, the faithful would have to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and other pilgrimage sites before obtaining plenary indulgence.
During this pandemic, the elderly, sick, dying and those legitimately unable to leave the house, who recite an act of piety to St. Joseph under his title of Comfort of the Sick and Patron of a happy death, can gain relative ease of the Pope’s offer provided they lift up their discomfort to God and fulfill the conditions for the indulgence. This is considered as a powerful means of grace for the individual’s own spiritual growth.
It is also a tremendous work of mercy on behalf of someone who has died. As the Church teaches us, with plenary indulgence, a soul in purgatory is granted entrance to heaven once the stage of purgation is complete.
As we reflect upon St Joseph, we realize that the Bible does not say much about this silent figure. He is commonly known as the foster father of Jesus and the spouse of the Blessed Virgin. But it must be noted that St. Joseph has been venerated with various titles: Protector of the Holy Church, Pillar of Families, Patron Saint of Fathers, Workers, Artisans, Migrants. The list of litanies goes on.
But one that we might relate to particularly during these dark and uncertain times is that which is most likely to scare the wits out of even the most evil and the vilest characters of this present world. Let us fervently ask St Joseph to shield us from all evils: St Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us!