To you, O Blessed Joseph!
Letter for the Conclusion of the Year of St. Joseph
to the Josephite Marellian Family
Dear Confreres and Friends,
In difficult times for believers, on December 8, 1870, Pope Pius IX entrusted the Church to the special protection of St. Joseph, declaring him to be “Patron of the Catholic Church”. The faithful were exhorted to invoke the patronage of him, who in his time, with a fatherly love, knew how to accompany Jesus who “grew in age, wisdom and grace before God and men” (Lk 2,52). He was also able to take care of Him and defend Him “from the many perils which came upon the Holy Family”. In accomplishing his mission, St. Joseph also knew persecution and exile, and his sole recompense was to be able to love Jesus and be loved by Him.
“I like St. Joseph”
The young Father Giuseppe Marello was witness to the proclamation of the Patronage, and in a letter sent to a priest friend, mentioned the preparations for the event (Cf. Letter 64). In his preaching to the Sisters of the Milliavacca Institute, he dwelt upon the present day mission of the Guardian of the Redeemer: “who has no need of anything for himself, but asks and receives for us, who are his heartfelt devotees.” (Sunday, April 22, 1888).
At 150 years since the proclamation of the Patronage, the Church, confronted with numerous challenges at the present moment, continues to invoke its Protector with the words of the prayer To you O Blessed Joseph, commonly said after reciting the Rosary. Effectively, we ask that he protect us from errors and vices, and that he sustain us in the battle with the powers of darkness and that he help us to overcome adversity.
Two years ago, Pope Francis, at the beginning of his message addressed to our Chapter Delegates, shared this insight: “I like St. Joseph, he has so much ‘power’! For more than 40 years I recite a prayer that I found in an old French missal which says about St. Joseph: ‘dont la puissance sait rendre possibles les choses impossibles’ (his power knows how to make impossible things, possible). The power of St. Joseph! He has never said no. We need to take courage from this.” (August 30, 2018).
Further, the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos invites the Church to turn to the Saint of Nazareth: “even, and above all, to sustain its renewed dedication to evangelization in the world, and to re-evangelization in those countries and nations where religion and Christian life were once upon a time flourishing, and now are put to harshly to the test. To bring the first announcing of Christ or to re-take it where it has been neglected or forgotten.” (RC 29)
A year to remember
Coming to the end of the Year of St. Joseph, it is needful to first of all thank the Lord, as St. Paul recommends: “Always be joyful, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thes 5, 16-18). It has been an event which has allowed us to rediscover and to re-propose the figure of the Guardian of the Redeemer, our model and inspiration. (Const. 3)
While with this initiative we wanted to remember several anniversaries, yet as stated in the Letter of Indiction, at the origin of the initiative was the conviction that calling attention to our holy Protector could be a providential occasion to go to the roots of our spirituality and carry out a genuine renewal and re-invigoration of the mission we are undertaking.
The appeal Ite ad Joseph, made more than a year ago, has been embraced very favorably by the Josephite Marellian Family and by the faithful who come to our parishes and our works.
For all this, to all of you, goes the most heartfelt gratitude!
From the beginning of the Year, various celebrations were planned and events promoted that showed our love and devotion to the Saint of silent activity. In this regard, there did not lack days of study and gatherings to emphasize some of the themes linked to our Josephite spirituality: annual retreats based on the theology of St. Joseph, meetings for prayer and reflection, pilgrimages and appropriate liturgical celebrations. There were also initiatives on behalf of the poor.
If it is difficult to evaluate this past Year, and list all the manifestations that took place in the Provinces, but among the more significant events celebrated we should remember the Centenary of the presence of the Oblates of St. Joseph in Brazil. All of us were joined in the giving of thanks by the Province Nossa Senhora do Rocio, remembering the witness of the confreres and the apostolic works there.
The International Symposium on St. Joseph and the 5th International Congress of the Josephite Marellian Laity celebrated in Curitiba, followed by the publication of the Charter of Communion, has reinforced the bonds of our charismatic family.
Further, the taking effect of our Constitutions and General Directory on the Feast of the Holy Spouses clearly put together the close connection between St. Joseph and our vocation, which asks us to reproduce in our lives and apostolates the ideal of service as lived by him (Cf. Const. 3). This requires a profound personal love for Jesus Christ and for His Church, the accompaniment of youth, the capacity to perceive the presence of God in history and a style of service marked by simplicity and fortitude before the challenges of life.
Finally, looking to more recent plans, we were able to have the 3rd International Symposium with the theme: St. Joseph Marello and the Spirituality of Communion through an online format.
The mission continues: Ite cum Joseph
It is important to consider the Year of St. Joseph not as an episode nor as a self-contained event, but rather as a step towards reawakening our love for our great Patriarch. Let it not be, that once we celebrate the closing Mass, we turn the page, put everything away and declare that we have done enough. Our Founder gave us a precise and constant mission: “to live like St. Joseph “in an intimate relationship with the Divine Word” (Letter 37), learning from him “to care for the interests of Jesus” (Letter 83) in the Church. Further, with him we are called to realize “those things which from day to day Divine Providence points out to us to do” (Rule of 1892), “open to the signs of the times, with special attention to the various forms of poverty, whether of persons or the places of greatest need” (Const. 4).
As a reminder, in this Year we have dedicated to the Patron of the Universal Church, an e-book has been prepared which collects all the reflections of the monthly retreats. By taking up and rereading these texts, we can find inspiration for our journey.
In the post covid-19 world, in carrying out our mission, we welcome with confidence the exhortation of our Father Founder. These in fact, were the last words addressed to his sons: “Be all of good heart under the paternal mantle of St. Joseph, a place of securest refuge amidst tribulations and distresses” (Letter 321). May he “support us in every step and lead us where Divine Providence wants us to arrive” because with him “we are sure that all will go well”.
Rome, December 8, 2020 Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
With fraternal greetings,
Rev. Fr. Jan Pelczarski, OSJ
With the conclusion of the Year of St. Joseph, the Centro Internazionale Giuseppini-Marelliani launched a compilation of various reflections on St. Joseph. To access the electronic books in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Portuguese, click here:
Reflections on St. Joseph