7 Things to Do in the Final Weeks of the Year of St. Joseph
These ideas will help you make good use of the remaining four weeks of the special year.
The Year of St. Joseph began with the apostolic letter of Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2020, and ends in a few short weeks on Dec. 8, 2021. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been a full year already, in light of all the other events going on throughout the world. We have certainly been in desperate need of a fatherly saint to emulate, and to intercede for the needs of our challenging times.
But the year of St. Joseph is not over. There are still weeks left to make good use of the time — and certainly things to do beyond. Some things you can still shelf for a future date, and others you’ll want to finish soon!
1. Read Patris Corde by Pope Francis
The apostolic letter Patris Corde from Pope Francis, translated as “With a Father’s Heart,” announces the Year of St. Joseph. Don’t skip this excellent (and short) reading! The letter should be at the top of reading lists for those who wish to follow the Holy Father’s call to increased devotion to St. Joseph — even after the year is through. Pope Francis emphasizes the spiritual benefits of the imitation of a saint who epitomized the joy of labor, openheartedness to the will of God and a loving devotion to the dignity of fatherhood. Get Patris Corde in print or access the letter on the Vatican website any time.
2. Earn a Plenary Indulgence
This is one with an expiration date on it. If you’re having trouble remembering what a plenary indulgence does, it’s all your temporal punishments wiped — the equivalent of a hard reset for your soul! Remember that, in addition to some of the qualifying acts below and a complete detachment from sin, the three obligations to go along with the indulgence are a sacramental confession, receiving Holy Communion and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father. Here are some options:
- Entrust your daily work to the protection of St. Joseph the Worker.
- Have a retreat for at least one day, meditating on St. Joseph.
- Pray that the unemployed will receive dignified work, through the intercession of St. Joseph.
- Pray an approved prayer to St. Joseph on the Nov. 19!
Scan the Apostolic Penitentiary for several other ways to receive a plenary indulgence.
3. Virtually Tour a Cathedral
St. Joseph Cathedral of New Orleans is among the most historic and beautiful in the entire United States. If you can go, act quick! But if you can’t, don’t worry. You can take a very enriching spiritual tour on the cathedral’s website. Discover the meaning of the architecture, windows, altar and everything else as you grow in deeper friendship with the patron saint.
4. Recite the St. Joseph Prayer
By Pope Pius IX:
O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Amen.
5. Memorize and Reflect on This Quote
I think the future saint, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, says it succinctly when he remarks: “We wonder why the Gospel makes so little mention of St. Joseph. But did it not say everything when it taught us that he was the husband of Mary?”
This quote is spot-on and should provide much to reflect on for those wishing to be drawn closer to this wonderful father and role model for husbands in all states of life.
6. Follow St. Joseph’s Example as a Parent
Fatherhood is the most critical component of our reflection this year (isn’t it always?). Pope Francis writes, “Being a father entails introducing children to life and reality.” And so I encourage parents to double down on their commitment as parents to the spiritual well-being of their children. Pray as a family, be gentle, patient and forgiving — and silent if necessary — at all times but especially when challenges enter the home. Don’t forget to fight the culture and shield kids from the culture in decline. A book that I keep at arm’s reach is Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids — a book highly inspired by the goodness and wisdom of the Holy Family. Francis prudently points to Joseph as the parent who “always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care.”
7. Memorize the Patris Corde prayer
Saint Teresa of Ávila wrote, “Those who give themselves to prayer should in a special manner have always a devotion to St. Joseph; for I know not how any man can think of the Queen of the angels, during the time that she suffered so much with the Infant Jesus, without giving thanks to St. Joseph for the services he rendered them then.” In that vein, recite and memorize the prayer from Patris Corde:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
Do not let the Year of St. Joseph come to an abrupt end. The first Sunday of Lent will be here before we know it. Maybe you’re thinking, “Where did the year go?” Well, now is your chance to act. And remember that St. Joseph continues with us past Dec. 8 — commit to allowing the importance of St. Joseph, worker, earthly father to Jesus, and faithful husband to the Virgin Mary, stay with you always as you labor through your earthly pilgrimage to heaven, always open to God’s plans.