March has traditionally been the month the Catholic Church honors San Giuseppe in a special way. The primary event is his feast on 19 March. But the whole month is meant to see the faithful show their devotion to San Giuseppe in a way that goes beyond the normal exercise of those devotions.
1 of San Giuseppe's titles is Patron of the Universal Church. He was given this title by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Up until 1955 a seperate feast day was celebrated during the Easter season. It was replaced by the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on 1 May.
While I would like to put in a plug for the restoration of the feast, that is not the purpose of this post.
Rather its theme is inspired by the stepping down of Benedetto as Supreme Pontiff yesterday. As you probably know, our Papa emeritus was baptized Joseph as a baby. So, San Giuseppe has kept a special eye on him throughout his life. I am sure he did so in a special way after Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope.
I would now like to offer the suggestion that we call on San Giuseppe in prayer especially for 2 reasons this March.
I think by now you have an idea what the 2nd reason is, the election of the 266th Supreme Pontiff & Vicar of Christ later this month. Because San Giuseppe has been given this special charge, it is only right we ask his intercession to the Holy Spirit to guide the Cardinals as they meet in Conclave to elect the next Pope & to guard & protect the new Pontiff as he begins his time at the helm of the barque of Peter.
The following is one of my favorite prayers to San Giuseppe. I say it after the October Prayer to St. Joseph
after most of the Rosaries I pray.
"O most poweful patriarch, Saint Joseph, patron of that universal Church which has always invoked thee in anxieties and tribulations; from the lofty seat of thy glory lovingly regard the Catholic world. Let it move thy paternal heart to see the mystical spouse of Christ and His vicar weakened by sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. We beseech thee, by the most bitter suffering thou didst experience on earth, to wipe away in mercy the tears of the revered pontiff, to defend and liberate him, and to intercede with the Giver of peace and charity, that every hostile power being overcome and every error being destroyed, the whole Church may serve the God of all blessings in perfect liberty.
During this time we are without a Pope it could be adopted by changing vicar & pontiff to pontiff emeritus.
There is also another Prayer to St. Joseph for the Whole Church
. The 1st part could be adapted as follows:
"O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you were chosen by God
to be the foster father of Jesus,
the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin,
and the head of the Holy Family.
You have been chosen by Christ's Vicar
as the heavenly Patron and Protector
of the Church founded by Christ.
Protect the Cardinals as they gather to elect the next Supreme Pontiff
and all bishops and priests who will be united with him.
Be the protector of all who labour for souls
amid the trials and tribulations of this life;
and grant that all peoples of the world
may be docile to the Church
without which there is no salvation.
These are only a couple of suggestions. There are several others you could use, like the following 2 versions of the Memorare to St. Joseph.
"Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted. Full of confidence in your power, I fly unto you, and beg your protection. despise not, O foster-father of the Redeemer, my humble supplication but in your bounty hear and answer me. Amen."
"Remember, O most illustrious Patriarch St. Joseph, on the testimony of St. Teresa, thy devoted servant, that never has it been heard that anyone who invoked thy protection or sought thy assistance has not obtained relief. In this confidence I come to thee, my loving protector, chaste spouse of Mary, foster father of the Savior of men and dispenser of the treasures of His Most Sacred Heart. Despise not my prayer, but graciously hear and answer my petition.(mention your request)"
You could also pray the Litany to St. Joseph (here
) or a novena (here
Whatever may or may not be true about all the reasons for Benedetto stepping down & the problems facing the next Pope swirling arround out there, 1 thing is sure. The Catholic Church is under attack from without (the media, Obama, & political leaders in Canada, Europe & elsewhere for a few examples) & within the Church by those who claim to be Catholic, but want to change the Church's teachings about abortion homosexual acts, birth control, women's ordination as priests to name a few.
The Catholic Church needs San Giuseppe's powerful patronage now more than ever. & so will the next Pope as he works to steer the barque of Peter through the stormy waters to the 2 Pillars Don Bosco dreamt about
In conclusion I share the following for your discernment. I start with something taken from the booklet Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph
published by TAN Books. (pg 26-27)
"Isidore of Isolanis, a pious Dominican of the 16th century, prophesied that "the sound of victory" will be heard in the Church Militant "when the faithful recognize the sanctity of St. Joseph." He continues: "The Lord will let His light shine, He will lift the veil, and great men will search out the interior gifts of God that are hidden in St. Joseph; they will find in him a priceless treasure, the like of which they had never found in other saints of the Old Testament. We are inclined to believe that toward the end of time God will overwhelm St. Joseph with glorious honors. If in the past ages, during the storms of persecution, these honors could not be shown to St. Joseph, we must conclude that they have been reserved for later times. At some future time the feast of St. Joseph will be celebrated as one of the greatest of feasts. The Vicar of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will order this feast to be celebrated in the Universal Church."
As Cardinal Wojtyla, Blessed John Paul was instrumental in the Church's approval of the Divine Mercy Devotion after it had originally been supressed. As Pope he fulfilled Jesus' desire to have the 1st Sunday after Easter Sunday be declared Divine Mercy Sunday.
As head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was contacted by Bishop Ito about the apparitions of Our Lady at Akita to Sr. Agnes
. At the time Ratzinger declared as head of the CDF that the messages were creditable. Bishop Ito had approved the message in 1984 & was not seeking formal approval in 1988, just keeping Cardinal Ratzinger appraised of what was going on at Akita. While he didn't mention thr apparition as Pope, it is clear that he did all he could to promote the Rosary as requested at the apparition. In 1 of the messages a warning about the divisions in the Church was given & how public it would be. This is something we have seen under both Popes John Paul II & Benedetto XVI's reigns.
I say this as a lead up to something that has been crossing my mind. Might not the next Pope be the one to bring about the much needed increase in devotion to San Giuseppe? Who he will be I have no idea. But if I am right, then I would not be surprized to find out after his election that the new Pope does have a special devotion to San Giuseppe & will make increasing devotion to him an important part of his efforts to continue to clean up the Church from the messes of the scandals & those who are working to destroy the Church from within.
Right or wrong as I may be on this, I am sure that no matter what, San Giuseppe's powerful patronage will be needed as I have already said.
San Giuseppe, patron of the Universal Church, I ask your powerful protection & intercession for the Church founded by Jesus. Just as you watched over, provided for & protected Him, so too do I ask you to watch over the Church He founded giving it the same protection you gave Him. Guide the Cardinals as they elect the next Pope. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them the wisdom they need to do so. & ask that the Holy Spirit will powerfully pour out His gifts on our New Pope so that he will have the strentgh & courage to powerfully proclaim & defend the eternal truths revealed by God to His Church.