St Joseph, we love you!

St Stephen’s has a new icon of St Joseph and the Child Jesus, donated by a parishioner.  It is a limited edition, digitally reproduced, from Redemptorist Publications.  To coincide with this, the following article comes as a reminder that we are in the Year of St Joseph.  It was written by Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje in March 2021, who wrote it from her hospital bed in Rome while recovering from a hip replacement.

My dear friends, praise be to Jesus and Mary!

Do not ever lose courage! Have we become fatherless? Has this year not been dedicated to St Joseph?

Listen to what a great saint of Portugal, Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, heard from the very mouth of Jesus:

“Ask me for whatever you wish in the name of the one who, on earth, was my adoptive father. Ask, and tell people that they should make their requests to me in his name: he can obtain from me in Heaven more than all the saints together can.”

WOW ! Something to remember!

Now we are in the year of St Joseph. Let us not miss the very special grace that comes to us throughout this year, which is dedicated to him, and which we so badly need! Let us ask him for everything with the holy audacity of the saints!

Be careful though. St Joseph has a very tender heart, so it is good to sincerely thank him for all the graces he has already obtained for us, both visible and invisible, before we make our requests for his intercession. He will be deeply moved! A child who thanks his/her father receives even more from him, because the father’s heart melts for his child!

Many of us suffer in our family. St Joseph is the protector of families. Call on his help, and do not doubt his power. Pray to him for your loved ones with hope and mercy, without expressing negative judgments about them. Jesus’ “cousins” in Nazareth made his life hard…!

Some are suffering from unemployment. He is the patron saint of workers. I have received many testimonials from people who have found a job after praying one or two novenas to this exemplary craftsman.

Some are suffering from oppression by the evil one. St Joseph is the terror of demons! Invoke him as such, and if you are in grave sin, find a priest and sincerely renounce the sin through confession, so that peace in your heart will be restored. (In fact, remaining in grave sin is an open door for the devil to damage your soul).  Satan cannot stand St Joseph, because he never managed to deflect him from his path. Joseph defeated him by his unfailing and loving obedience to God.

Some are suffering from illness. Invoke him as the hope of the sick. Ask him to either heal you, or to give you the strength to bear your cross as he himself did without complaining.

Some are in fear of approaching death. He is the ideal person to invoke because he is the patron of the dying! He will reassure you before this transition, which is in reality a true birth, and he himself will accompany you as a father accompanies his beloved child who finds himself on an unknown path.

Some are struggling to comprehend the Church today. St Joseph will enable you to love her as she is, and to remain faithful to her Magisterium amid the confusion or persecutions, because he is the protector of the Holy Church. Did Mary not say, “The Church is my Son!” Joseph is watching over the Church, the apple of his eye, and he is suffering with her. This is not the time to jump off the boat – Jesus is in it!

Some are afraid of the future. St Joseph’s plans were often thwarted, but his submission to those difficult events enabled him to carry out the Father’s will for his family, thereby enabling Jesus to carry out his mission.

Some are suffering from loneliness. St Joseph is the perfect friend who gives signs of his friendship to those who speak to him with their heart, and who share with him the simplicity of their daily life.  Many widows find life lonely without their husband; St Joseph will help you to embrace Jesus as your most beloved companion.

Some are suffering from depression. St Joseph’s heart, upon seeing Mary pregnant, sank into unspeakable pain, especially since he did not understand what was going on. His world fell apart. But he had the strength to behave as a righteous man, and God’s hour came for him. Shout out to God with faith as he cried out to God; he will join his cry to yours and hasten ‘God’s hour’ for you.

Some are suffering from material poverty. St Joseph lived with very little, but his infallible faith in Divine Providence meant that they always had the bare necessities. He will inspire you with this trust, this confidence that Jesus spoke about to St Faustina, this unfailing confidence that obtains EVERYTHING!  Never forget Jesus said: “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).

Dear St Joseph, you see that I have given you some work to do! But I know that your joy is in serving, helping, comforting and guiding God’s children on the right path. You really are the right man to help us!

So, I have only one thing to say to you, with all my brothers and sisters:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje

Photo of St Joseph’s statue © Mazur/