By Tish Thornton
for the Idaho Catholic Register
In his letter announcing the Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis reflects that St. Joseph was a man of justice and courage. And the Pope confessed that he had been moved to focus on St. Joseph in part by the daily struggles of ordinary people during this year of pandemic: “Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers … men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone.’”
There is no better time in the liturgical year to begin our focus on St. Joseph. Through Advent and Christmas, Scripture recounts how Joseph and Mary, with faith, courage, and trust, became the Holy Family. It is a time for us to consider how we might grow in those virtues and ourselves become what we are called to be. The Pope offers this insight: “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
As we begin our focus on St. Joseph, we must, like Pope Francis, remember all who are struggling, so often in isolation, with the burdens that keep them from their parish family at this time.
For that reason, Bishop Peter has offered to all the parishes the prayer that appears above. It can form part of the intercessory prayers during Mass, or be prayed by those gathered before or after Mass.
Catholics might consider privately reciting this prayer, as well; praying for the sick and for those who care for them is the work of all Christians.
As we await the celebration of the Incarnation, let us also anticipate with joyful hope the time when we all may be together at Mass, at the Table of the Lord, without fear.
(Tish Thornton is director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Boise. This column originally appeared in the Dec. 18 Idaho Catholic Register.)