Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, Catholic Exchange <i>, and <i>Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
Many know about approved apparitions of our Blessed Mother. But only a handful realize that there were apparitions in Itapiranga, Brazil from 1994-1998 in which St. Joseph appeared along with Mary and Jesus.
In January 2010, after much study, prayer, reflection, observation and seeing the growth in the faith life of thousands, the local ordinary, Bishop Carillo Gritti declared a Decree of Worship favoring the Itapiranga appearances and in an earlier document called it of “supernatural origin.”
In another document he stated that considering the manifestations of the Virgin from 2005-10, who has called upon devotion to the three Sacred Hearts: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a first step has been taken to build a new sanctuary with the certainty that it will be a place for pilgrimages, and the conversions that only God by the intercession of Mary can operate has been thus far for him and enlightened souls, reason enough to see in these visions and messages the finger of God (translated form the Portuguese).
With that Church approval, St. Joseph took another step in which he continues to receive the prominence he deserves as the one man from all eternity God chose to head the Holy Family. In 1962, his name was added to the first Eucharist prayer in the Mass, and in 2013, on his May 1 feast, Pope Francis had St. Joseph inserted into all other Eucharistic Prayers.
First, a little background. In 1994, while a student in Manaus, Brazil, 22-year-old Edson Glauber received an apparition of the Blessed Mother with Jesus and St. Joseph. The apparitions continued when he returned to his hometown of Itapiranga which is about 650 miles southwest of Sao Paulo and about 880 miles from Rio de Janeiro. Another 770-plus miles southwest happens to be the site of other approved apparitions in San Nicolas, Argentina.
Edson’s mother Maria do Carmo would also receive some apparitions. Bishop Gritti, who died this past June, met with them several times. He celebrated Mass publicly at the site of the apparitions and helped to build the sanctuary there.
Mary appeared under the title of “Queen of the Rosary and of Peace.” Much like Fatima, her messages stressed the need for conversion, praying the Rosary, Mass, Confession and Holy Communion and penance to save the world mired in unbelief and sin. She and Jesus urged devotion to St. Joseph’s Most Chaste Heart.
Sample Revelations and Promises
St. Joseph’s major revelations began Mar. 1, 1998. He spoke about devotion to his chaste heart and made the first of several promises. He began, “My dear son, Our Lord God has sent me to tell you about all the graces the faithful will receive from my Most Chaste Heart which Jesus and my blessed spouse wish to be honored…Through devotion to my Chaste Heart many souls will be saved from the hands of the Devil. God our Lord has allowed for me to reveal to you the promises of my Heart.
“Just as I am fair and righteous in the sight of God, all who have devotion to my Heart will also be chaste, righteous and holy in His sight. I will fill you with these graces and virtues, making you grow every day on the road of holiness.”
Next day, St. Joseph came with the Child Jesus who reclined on his heart. Joseph revealed that God wanted to give countless graces through devotion to his heart. “My son and Lord Jesus, that I brought up here on earth, with a father's love, desires that all men practice devotion to my Heart, for all those in need of graces from heaven.”
In prior apparitions, the Virgin Mary and Jesus affirmed to Edson that Joseph has been given great power and glory and in this times God wants people and the world consecrated to the Heart of St. Joseph.
Then came a second promise.
“I promise to all that honor this Most Chaste Heart of mine and who do here on earth good deeds in favor of the most needy, especially of the sick and dying for whom I am a consoler and protector, to receive in their last moment of their lives the grace of a good death. I myself will be to these souls their petitioner to my Son Jesus and, together with my spouse, Most Holy Mary, we will console them in their last hours here on earth, with our holy presence and they will rest in the peace of our hearts.
“Just as you saw my Son Jesus repose His head on my heart, this way myself and my spouse Holy Mary will take these souls to the glory of paradise, in the presence of their Savior, my Son Jesus Christ, so that they may repose, and incline themselves to His Sacred Heart…”
St. Joseph did not shy away from the state of humanity’s hearts. He explained “how sin spreads in a such a strong way! Men let themselves be led by the most insidious wiles of the Devil. The enemy of salvation wants to destroy all men so that, this way, all will be lost. He is envious and hates the entire human race. So many go through trials and temptations that the enemy of God throws at every moment, this way trying to destroy men’s mortal souls that were created by God.”
St. Joseph revealed a prime attack against us, something which has increased since 1998.
“The means that he most utilizes are the sins against holy purity, because purity is one of the virtues most beloved by God, and in this way Satan desires to destroy the image of God present in each creature through this virtue. And it is because of this, that God asks all humanity to have devotion to my Chaste Heart. He wants to give men the grace to overcome the temptations and attacks of the Devil in their day-to-day lives.”
St. Joseph can protect us in these attacks. His litany calls him ‘most chaste” and “terror of demons.” St. Joseph made this promise. “The invocation of my name is enough to make demons flee! I promise to all the faithful that honor my most Chaste Heart with faith and love, the grace to live with holy purity of soul and body and the strength to resist all attacks and temptations by the Devil. I myself will preciously protect you.”
He said the grace would also be for their family members in need of divine help.
Hope for Sinners
St. Joseph desires all sinners to be converted and saved. “Many are those who are distant from God because of their grave sins. Many of those, my children, are in that state because they let themselves fall to the wiles of the Devil. The enemy of salvation makes them think there is no solution, nor return, because they have despaired and have not trusted in divine mercy. These will be easy targets for the Devil.”
But he says to “all sinners, even those who have committed the most terrible sins, to trust in the love and in the forgiveness of God and to trust in me also, in my intercession. All those who trustingly have recourse to me will have the certainty of my help to recover the divine grace and mercy of God.”
Not wanting sinners to despair, he promised those who trust in his most pure Heart and devotedly honor it, “the grace to be consoled by me in their greatest afflictions of the soul and in the danger of judgment, when by misfortune lose divine grace because of their grave sins. To these sinners, who have recourse to me, I promise the graces of my Heart for the purpose of amendment, of repentance and of sincere contrition of their sins. Now, I say to all sinners: Do not be afraid of the Devil and do not despair because of your crimes, but come throw yourselves in my arms and take refuge in my Heart so that you may receive all the graces for your eternal salvation.”
Help with Today’s Problems
St. Joseph focused on life’s difficulties and offered consolation. “My Son Jesus, through my Heart, wishes to impart to all men his divine blessings. I know many of you suffer many great difficulties because, in these last times, men no longer love or help one another but live with their hearts full of pride, falsehood, lies, intrigue, ambition, backbiting, pettiness, and many wrong things that are the consequences of living far from God.”
St. Joseph said to all who honor his Heart and trust in him and his intercession, “I promise they will not be abandoned in their difficulties and in the trials of life. I will ask Our Lord to help them with his Divine Providence in their material and spiritual problems.”
To mothers and fathers consecrating themselves and their families to his Heart, St. Joseph assured help in afflictions and problems, and assistance with raising up their children.
Sin: Consequences & His Protection
The spouse of Mary did not ignore the current world situation which in 1998 was still 18 years from the multitude of today’s multiplying spiritual chaos.
He emphasized, “[M]y Son Jesus is very indignant with the sins of humanity.
“He desires to pour his divine justice upon all men that do not want to repent and continue obstinately in their sins. Look, my son, I hold his right hand, preventing Him from pouring out his justice upon all humanity. I ask Him, through the graces of my Heart and for being worthy to live by his side, taking care of him with the love of a father in this world, and for Him having loved me with the love of a son, to not chastise the world for its crimes, but for all my little ones who honor and will honor this Chaste Heart of mine, should pour out his mercy upon the world.”
The world’s many sins call humanity to repent and do penance, he said, “because God receives continued offenses from ungrateful men. Today there are so many outrages, the sacrilege and indifference by all men. It is because of this that so many calamities like war, hunger and disease occur and so many other sad things man has suffered because of man’s rebellion against God.”
St. Joseph made clear rebellion’s consequences. “God lets men follow their own paths to show them all, without him, they will never be happy. He lets men go through so much suffering, to also show them the consequences sin brings to their lives and so then the divine justice punishes humanity because of their obstinance in not being obedient to God's Will.
He pointed out humanity is “increasingly obstinate in their crimes” because of concern for worldly pleasures “rather than the love of God and his Commandments. But God's justice is close at hand in a way never seen before and will come about suddenly upon the whole world.”
That should shake us, yet this most powerful saint extends a hope-filled solution. All those who honor his Chaste Heart “will receive the grace of my protection from all evils and dangers. For those who surrender to me will not be slaughtered by misfortunes, by wars, hunger, by diseases and other calamities, they will have my Heart as a refuge for their protection. Here, in my Heart, all will be protected against the divine justice in the days that will come. All who consecrate themselves to my Heart, honoring it, they will be looked upon by my Son Jesus with eyes of mercy, Jesus will pour out his love and will take to the glory of his Kingdom all those I put in my Heart.”
First Wednesdays — Request & Promise
When St. Joseph appeared on the first Wednesday of March 1998, he had a special request. With the First Friday and First Saturday devotions, he was giving us a companion devotion. He said,
“On every first Wednesday of the month, my Chaste Heart pours numerous graces on all who rely on my intercession. On these Wednesdays, men will not receive a shower of simple graces, but very strong torrents of extraordinary graces! I will share them with those who honor me and rely on me, all the blessings, all the virtues, and all the love I received from my Divine Son Jesus and my spouse the Blessed Virgin Mary while still living in this world and all the graces that I continue to receive in the glory of paradise.”
The request came with his great “promise to intercede before him for those who come to me, honoring this Heart of mine. I will give them the graces to be able to resolve the most difficult problems and urgent necessities, that to the eyes of man seem impossible, but that, through my intercession to God, will be possible. I grant the graces of my Heart to all sinners so they may convert.”
(St. Joseph had made this same request during Our Lady of America’s apparitions in March 1958, asking us to recite the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of his life with Jesus and Mary and the love he bore them and sorrow he suffered with them, plus receive Holy Communion with the love which he received the Savior and each time he held Jesus in his arms.)
Confirmed by Wife Mary
At the end of her husband’s appearances, the Blessed Virgin Mary made a promise herself. “All who honor the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph will benefit with my maternal presence in their lives in a special way.”
“To those who ask of his Heart with trust, I promise to intercede before the Eternal Father, my Divine Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I will obtain for them, from God, the grace to reach perfect sanctity in the virtues of St. Joseph, this way reaching the perfect love in which he lived. Men will learn to love my Son Jesus and myself with the same love as my Most Chaste Spouse Joseph, receiving the most pure love from our Hearts.
“My Son Jesus, my Chaste Spouse Joseph and I are at your side. Fear nothing, because our hearts will protect you always.”
Reward for Spreading Devotion to St. Joseph
There is yet something else St. Joseph said that’s we shouldn’t disregard.
“[A]ll those who propagate the devotion to my Heart, and practice it with love, have the certainty of having their names engraved on it just as my Son Jesus' cross and the "M" of Mary are engraved on it…”
After all, “That all may spread devotion to my Heart, it is God Himself who asks it.”