“Powerful”, “beautiful” and the “matchmaker”: celebrating St Joseph
For a start, he’s popular.
Six schools, three parishes and nine churches are named after St Joseph in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn and in these and many other places the Solemnity (feast day) of St Joseph was celebrated on 19 March.
The day had singular meaning this year, falling within the Year of St Joseph declared by Pope Francis in December 2020 and the release of his Apostolic Letter on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
Many reflections throughout the Archdiocese on St Joseph focussed on his fatherhood qualities, his courage, his obedient, accepting, loving nature, and his unobtrusiveness.
However it was ‘St Joseph the matchmaker’, for Maria Prag, a parishioner at St Joseph’s in O’Connor, a northern Canberra suburb.
Through her faith and prayers she credits St Joseph with interceding to bring her husband – fittingly called Joseph – into her life.
“He [St Joseph] is a beautiful patron for families and for the Church,” said Maria. “The greatest patron. I love him so much”.
Fiona Rochford, another St Joseph’s parishioner and an adult convert to Catholicism, recognised St Joseph for his faithfulness.
“We should encounter him more often as he is a very powerful saint,” she also said.
O’Connor parish priest, Fr Paul Nulley, reflected on the nature of the relationship between St Joseph, the earthly stand-in father, and his son.
“Jesus was the carpenter’s son,” said Fr Paul.
“So many of the mannerisms and things he’d learned throughout his life, he would have taken from St Joseph.
St Joseph’s O’Connor had a special day of devotions for their patron saint on the feast day with parishioners joining Fr Paul for morning Mass, followed later by evening Vespers (prayer) and a social get together.
Fr Paul delivered a formal act of consecration at the Mass where he “solemnly and perpetually consecrated” St Joseph’s parish and its members to St Joseph.