March 14th – IV Sunday of Lent – Laetare Sunday

My Dear Friends:

This coming Friday, March 19, we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Being that Pope Francis has declared this the “Year of St. Joseph,” it takes on a special significance and also because we celebrate it during our Lenten journey. In his Apostolic Letter, “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart) which the Holy Father released last December declaring this the Year of St. Joseph, the Supreme Pontiff wrote: “Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust.”

The silence and trust of Joseph are two virtues that we would do well to emulate and pray for during Lent as we continue our road to Calvary with Jesus. It seems that during these times of pandemic we have been called upon to trust God more than ever. One year ago, we sadly had to close our churches and stay in our homes when the reality of this pandemic became all too real. We entered a different desert than that of our Lord’s as we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by silence, fasting (not by choice) from the Eucharist which is our necessary nourishment, and learning how to trust as Joseph did. I remember looking up to our statue of St. Joseph to the right of our sanctuary and asking him to protect the Church and protect us as he always protected Jesus and our Blessed Mother. One year later, we can gather to celebrate Joseph’s feast day as we, God-willing, seem to have turned a corner with cases dropping and people being vaccinated. There is a renewed sense of optimism in our parish as we start to see things getting back to normal and hopefully soon, back to ministerial life which we all sorely miss.

Yet we are still called to silence and trust. Pope Francis reminds us: “Popular trust in Saint Joseph is seen in the expression “Go to Joseph”, which evokes the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, and his brothers in the book of Genesis. As a church, we go to Joseph as a great intercessor and as a model of faith. We also learn a great deal from Joseph through his obedience to God: “In every situation, Joseph declared his own “fiat”, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.” Joseph’s unflinching obedience to the will of the Father is what helped bring about God’s plan of salvation for all of us through Jesus Christ.

Now, weary from a year of pandemic, we “go to Joseph” again asking for his guidance and prayers. This week we begin a series of Lenten nights of reflection on Monday in English and Wednesday in Spanish so that we can better prepare ourselves for Holy Week. This culminates on Thursday, March 18 with a Night of Worship and Holy Hour on the Vigil of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. I invite all to participate in this celebration as we will be praying the Litany of St. Joseph in order to obtain the indulgences offered during this year dedicated to the Carpenter from Nazareth. May St. Joseph pray for us and always protect our parish as we look to the future and, like Joseph, dream of the endless possibilities that await us on the other side of this desert.

God Bless You All,

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