Who is one of the most powerful intercessors in all of heaven but is often overlooked when it comes to knowledge or appeals to him? St. Joseph! He is the foster father of Jesus, the husband of Mary, and a most righteous man. Why do I bring him up? Because Pope Francis surprised the worldwide church on December 8 (the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary) by announcing that this year will be dedicated to St. Joseph.
Why is he often overlooked? I believe it is because he is verbally silent. We only have his response to the Word of God. He also disappeared from scripture after Jesus is found in the temple and before he started his public ministry. Yet, he has been a model for Christian manhood and fatherhood from some of the earliest centuries of the church. The Holy Father wants this to be a year in which we will grow closer to St. Joseph in prayer and meditation in his responsiveness to God’s call to Holiness.
To encourage this, the Holy Father is offering the chance to gain extraordinary graces. For more information on this, please see below. We need to especially lift up our biological fathers and all the spiritual fathers that God has placed in our lives. It is my prayer that all of us fathers will model our lives after the example of St. Joseph’s faithfulness and obedience to God the Father.
Your father and brother in Christ,
Conditions for the plenary indulgence
The plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions) to Christians who, with a spirit detached from any sin, participate in the Year of St. Joseph on these occasions and manners indicated by the Apostolic Penitentiary:
– The plenary indulgence is granted to those who will meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer or take part in a Spiritual Retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph. “St. Joseph, an authentic man of faith, invites us”, the decree reads, “to rediscover our filial relationship with the Father, to renew fidelity to prayer, to listen and correspond with profound discernment to God’s will.”
– The indulgence can also be obtained by those who, following St. Joseph’s example, will perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. St. Joseph “encourages us to rediscover the value of silence, prudence and loyalty in carrying out our duties,” the decree notes.
– The recitation of the Holy Rosary in families and among engaged couples is another way of obtaining indulgences, in order that “all Christian families may be stimulated to recreate the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was in the Holy Family.”
– Everyone who entrusts their daily activity to the protection of St. Joseph, and every faithful who invokes the intercession of St. Joseph so that those seeking work can find dignifying work can also obtain the plenary indulgence. On 1 May 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph “with the intent that the dignity of work be recognized by all, and that it inspires social life and laws, based on the fair distribution of rights and duties.”
– The plenary indulgence is also granted to the faithful who will recite the Litany to St. Joseph (for the Latin tradition), or the Akathistos to St. Joseph (for the Byzantine tradition), or any other prayer to St. Joseph proper to the other liturgical traditions, for the persecuted Church ad intra and ad extra, and for the relief of all Christians suffering all forms of persecution. Because, the decree notes, “the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he runs away, where he experiences rejection and abandonment.