With the Apostolic Letter Patris corde (With a father's heart), Pope Francis remembers the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church and, on the occasion of this occasion, from December 8 of this year until 2021, a year dedicated especially to he.
In the background of the Apostolic Letter, there is the Covid-19 pandemic that - the Pontiff writes - has made us understand the importance of ordinary people, of those who, far from being protagonist, exercise patience and instill hope every day, sowing stewardship. Like Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, the man of the daily, discreet and hidden presence”. And yet his is "an unparalleled role in the history of salvation."
Saint Joseph concretely expressed his paternity by having made his life an offer of himself in love placed at the service of the Messiah. In it, “Jesus saw the tenderness of God”, the tenderness that makes us “accept our weakness”, because “it is through and despite our weakness” that most of the divine plans are carried out. "Only tenderness will save us from the work of the Accuser," emphasizes the Pontiff, and it is by finding God's mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that we can make "an experience of truth and tenderness", because "God it does not condemn us, but welcomes us, embraces us, sustains us, forgives us ”.
Together with the publication of the Apostolic Letter Patris corde, the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary has been published announcing the special "Year of Saint Joseph" called by the Pope and the granting of the "gift of special indulgences" linked to it. Here are some of the proposed methods:
Meditate on Saint Joseph
Anyone who will meditate "the Lord's Prayer for at least 30 minutes," or participate in a spiritual retreat, even for a day "that includes a meditation on Saint Joseph," can benefit from this special gift. “Saint Joseph, an authentic man of faith, invites us to rediscover our filial relationship with the Father, to renew our fidelity to prayer, to listen and to correspond with deep discernment to the will of God“.
Mercy in the name of the "just man"
Indulgence may be obtained by performing "a work of corporal or spiritual mercy", following the example of Saint Joseph, "the depositary of the mystery of God", who "prompts us to rediscover the value of silence, prudence and loyalty in the fulfillment of our duties". The virtue of justice, practiced by Joseph, is "the law of mercy" and is "the mercy of God that brings true justice to fulfillment."
Reciting the Rosary as a family is one of the ways to obtain this gift. Saint Joseph was the husband of Mary, father of Jesus and custodian of the Nazareth family, where his vocation flourished. Hence the invitation to recreate "the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was lived in the Holy Family."
For a decent job
Whoever will confidently look to the "craftsman of Nazareth" to find a job and for it to be worthy of all, will be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence, also extended to those who "will daily entrust their own activity to the protection of Saint Joseph."
A prayer for the suffering Church
The decree also provides for the indulgence “to the faithful who will recite the Litanies to Saint Joseph (for the Latin tradition), or the Akathistos to Saint Joseph, in whole or at least in part (for the Byzantine tradition), or some other prayer to Saint Joseph, typical of other liturgical traditions ”. Prayers that are thus in favor of “the Church persecuted ad intra and ad extra and for the relief of all Christians who suffer from all forms of persecution” because, the text reads, “the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment ”.
A universal saint
Other occasions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence are "any prayer or act of piety legitimately approved in honor of Saint Joseph" especially "on the festivities of March 19 and May 1, on the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and José, on the Sunday of San José (according to the Byzantine tradition), the 19th of each month, and every Wednesday, a day dedicated to the memory of the Saint according to the Latin tradition ”.
The decree recalls the universality of Joseph's patronage in the Church, reporting the words of Saint Teresa of Avila who considered him, more than other saints, capable of helping in many needs.
Comfort in pandemic
The attention to those who suffer in this emergency caused by the coronavirus is particular. The decree establishes that "the gift of Plenary Indulgence extends particularly to the elderly, the sick, the dying and all those who for legitimate reasons cannot leave their home." Those who recite “an act of piety in honor of Saint Joseph, confidently offering God the pains and difficulties of their life” will be able to receive this gift “with a spirit free of all sin and with the intention of fulfilling, as soon as possible, the three usual conditions - sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Pope's intentions - in their own home or wherever the impediment holds them ”.
As a family of Nazareth we rejoice for this event of grace and we unite in prayer with the whole Church.