St. Joseph and Lent
Every year the Solemnity of St. Joseph provides a little interruption to Lent. We celebrate a great feast in the midst of our fasting. This year the interruption is even greater because the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19th falls on a Friday, which means we can eat meat on that day. The Code of Canon Law states, “ Abstinence from meat… is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.”
Some may think that this is a bit lax or a loophole to the practice of fasting, however we should take the feast of St. Joseph very seriously for a number of reasons. St. Joseph is the patron of one of our parishes, he is the protector of the Universal Church, and Pope Francis has declared 2021 a Year of St. Joseph. Traditionally March is the month set aside for St. Joseph and as we enter this glorious month, we should go to Joseph for an example and inspiration.
St. Joseph is a wonderful example of prayer. Throughout the Gospels, St. Joseph doesn’t utter a single word. He lives in silence with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. He is a man of duty, work, silence, and love. His life of silence allows the grace of God to penetrate his heart and enflame his soul. We should strive to imitate St. Joseph in his recollected prayer so that God may enflame us as well.
This is lived out in our Liturgical life during Lent as well. During Lent the Church encourages the Mass to have more reverential silence. This importance of prayerful silence during Mass is highly recommended to the point of limiting instrumental music. The Church instructs, “the use of musical instruments is allowed only so as to support the singing.”
The Church wants us to live the silent prayerful life of St. Joseph even during Mass. This allows the Holy Spirit to deeply penetrate us, just as He animated St. Joseph. As we approach the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19th, here are a few ways that you can prepare for the great Solemnity:
Pray the Litany of St. Joseph which can easily be found online or in many prayer books.
– From March 11-19, pray a Novena to St. Joseph. The novena prayer will be included in next week’s bulletin.
– Attend Mass on the Solemnity of St. Joseph Friday, March 19th. Mass will be at 7:00am at Immaculate Conception, 8:00am at St. Joseph and we’ll have a special Mass at 6:00pm at St. Joseph Church (we won’t have Stations of the Cross this night).
– For those who want to gain an indulgence for visiting the temporary shrine of St. Joseph, confessions will be heard at St. Joseph on March 19th from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.
– Watch our March Year of the Eucharist videos which will be tying together St. Joseph and the Eucharist.
– Regularly ask for St. Joseph’s intercession (often at the end of the rosary I’ll add: St. Joseph pray for us).
– Encourage the men in your life, whether husbands, brothers, coworkers, or friends to follow the example of St. Joseph.
May St. Joseph continue to protect the universal Church and our four parishes.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson