Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau at 601 South Jefferson Ave., Springfield, MO 65806-3143 US - 'You will be Joseph' March 18, 2011
'You will be Joseph'
March 18, 2011
“He is that just man, that wise and loyal servant, whom you placed at the head of your family. With a husband’s love he cherished Mary, the virgin Mother of God. With fatherly care, he watched over Jesus Christ your Son, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.” —From the Preface for Masses of St. Joseph
Surprised on a jet bridge
Sr. Socorro Loyoza, MCM, recently shared a beautiful story with me about an experience she had. She was traveling through an airport, and as she was preparing to board the jet, one of the pilots standing at the door on the jet bridge looked intently at her and said, “Excuse me, are you Sr. Socorro?” Surprised, Sister responded that indeed she was. “Well Sister, you may not remember me,” the pilot continued, “but you taught me religion when I was in kindergarten, and I learned a lesson from you that continues to impact my life on a daily basis.”
The pilot continued, “One day, near Christmas, you selected children to be a part of a Christmas play, and you grabbed me and proclaimed, ‘You will be Joseph!’ You then went on to explain to me how I was to be St. Joseph. You said, ‘As St. Joseph, you must be tender and caring for Mary and for Jesus. You must watch over them and protect them.’”
The pilot then shared something remarkable: “Sister, I have never forgotten that lesson. To this day, I try to be Joseph to the people God places in my life. For example, before every flight, as we are preparing to take off, I ask St. Joseph to pray for me and help me. I think to myself that I have to be Joseph to all the passengers on the plane and get them safely to where they are going.”
Lessons from St. Joseph
This week, the Church celebrates the solemnity of St. Joseph on his feast day, March 19. St. Joseph ought to have a special place in our lives and in our families. He is the patron and protector of the universal Church. As he was given the special vocation by God to watch over and safeguard the Holy Family, so now he watches over and protects the holy family of God that is the Church. St. Joseph is also a special friend, patron, and protector for our individual families.
Joseph is that “upright man” who is humble and holy. He is the model for fathers and all Christian men. Because he cared for Mary in a vocation in which he was called to live a life of perpetual celibate chastity, he is a special model and a friend of priests who, in their spiritual fatherhood, similarly give their lives to care for the bride of Christ -- the Church -- and live lives of celibate chastity.
Recognizing the special vocation and place of St. Joseph, the Catholic Church honors him in a prominent way; he is mentioned just after the Blessed Mother in the Roman canon (First Eucharistic Prayer) and among those at the beginning of the Litany of Saints. His feast day is a good time for all of us to renew our friendship with St. Joseph, especially commending our families to his prayerful intercession.
Sr. Socorro’s experience is a clear reminder as to why the religious education of our children is so important. Children are “sponges” when it comes to religion. They are naturally hungry to know and love God. We do them no good if we do not use the time that God gives us to introduce them to the truths of our faith, and to a life of grace. Lessons learned, consciences formed, hearts and imaginations inspired, will impact young lives and the trajectory of those lives in ways we cannot imagine.
Getting ready for DDF
I use this story as an example of how our contributions to the annual Diocesan Development Fund (DDF) make a difference. The DDF funds the many ministries and programs throughout our diocese that touch countless people for a lifetime. The dollars that are raised ultimately are all about impacting people for the good, and for eternity. Lives touched and shaped will affect countless other lives. The pilot on the plane likely thought he must “be Joseph” to his own wife and children.
Good St. Joseph, pray for us, for our Church, and for our families!