Modern Day Saint


A very important part of our Catholic heritage and tradition is our devotion to, and veneration of, the Saints. How fortunate Catholics are to have as part of our history such humble, brave, and virtuous men and women especially chosen and blessed by God. Saints are such wonderful examples for us to follow and revere. We should try to imitate them to the best of our ability. They will lead us to everlasting peace and happiness with our eternal Father in Heaven. As we learned from our first Catechism, God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

Saints have shown us how to gain sanctity by their extraordinary lives. This month, we honor our earthly fathers as well as our heavenly Father. Saint Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is undoubtedly the model father for all time. Can you imagine having the great responsibility associated with protecting and raising the Christ Child? It has been said, and rightly so, that Saint Joseph is the Saint closest to Our Lord with the exception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Queen of the Angels and the Saints. Together, with Jesus, they form the most perfect Holy Family.

Not much has been written about Saint Joseph's exemplary life though he is portrayed as a very holy, humble and loving man. Just think, Saint Joseph was predestined for the honor and dignity of being the husband of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus. He surely received many divine graces and favors from God and we are able to conclude that these divine favors were unparalleled in any other creature except for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Do we ever think of St. Joseph on Father's day? Hymns in his honor are few in number and rarely sung. In Catholic tradition, a number of laudatory titles have been assigned to St. Joseph. He is the patron of workers, patron of families, patron of the dying and patron of the universal Church. While these are probably the most significant of the titles assigned to St. Joseph we should remember that he is also the Patron Saint of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese (WV). However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only two days assigned to him in the liturgical calendar; the solemnity on March 19, which always occurs during Lent and is never observed on a Sunday, and the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st. Although he is included in the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday after Christmas, he is largely overshadowed by Jesus and Mary which is as it should be. Many feel that it is appropriate to offer St. Joseph special honor on Father's day and in our daily devotions. Certainly he is deserving of such honor.

Just as Our Lady is the most perfect model for women, so Saint Joseph is the most perfect model for men to emulate as husbands and fathers. Every Catholic man should pray to Saint Joseph to ask for his powerful intercession with the Infant Jesus whom he held in his arms and so close to his heart.

Bette Ann Burke



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