From the Bishop: The Year of St. Joseph

At the invitation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, we are celebrating the Year of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church.

St. Joseph is also my patron saint and, whenever I think about why I chose him, I recall that it was because of the role he played in the divine plan of salvation. Little is known about this biblical character but what little is known is more than enough to know everything about him.

St. Joseph is also my sacristan. In the chapel at home, I have a statue of him, my patron saint; next to it lies a small sacristy. That is why I call him "my sacristan" because St. Joseph is there, taking care of everything that is needed for the celebration of the Eucharist, the Mystery of Love.

In this thinking, I also see St. Joseph as the sacristan of Jesus, and as the protector of Holy Mary, his Wife Immaculate.

Just as sacristans have the task of taking care of all the details for the celebration of the Eucharist - that is, ensuring everything is ready and that nothing is missing - Joseph did the same when he accepted the task of protecting and caring for the holy family - so that both Mary, his wife, and Jesus, his foster son, had all they needed to celebrate the gift of life.

The sacristan provides invaluable help - through the proper preparation of the altar and of the church - so that the miracle of the Eucharist is celebrated in a proper and orderly manner. The sacristan is called to do “hidden” work, to tend to details that may hardly be noticed but are essential.

He disappears from the scene and leaves the path wide-open for Jesus in the Eucharist, through the hands and voice of the priest, to be the center and life of the celebration. The sacristan claims no credit.

St. Joseph does the same; quietly he provides for his family to the best of his abilities, letting Jesus and his Mother be the center of attention, his priority.

What effort! What humility and wisdom of Joseph! He recognizes, accepts, and lives his vocation – of protector of the holy family – as sacristan of Jesus and as guardian of Mary. He doesn’t claim recognition or merits; he simply listens, he protects, he provides, and he cares. In a word: he “answered.” St. Joseph answered God's call lovingly and freely, because he was a "just man" (Mt 1,19), always ready to do the will of God (cf. Lk 2,22.27.39).

What a great example we have in St. Joseph! For me he is an example of a good sacristan who takes care of the treasure of our Church, of our faith - the treasure of Jesus the Sacrament, and Mary, Mother of the Church.

We are called not to show off but, on the contrary, to disappear and allow Jesus to shine and radiate his life - his Love - through our works, through our lives.

Like St. Joseph, we need to listen humbly to the Word, so that we may be able to answer to the calling to make Jesus present in every moment of our lives and, also, to protect the beauty and richness of the Sacraments - especially the Eucharist. In this way, our personal answer to our vocation will become a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for the beauty and sanctity of human life.

St. Joseph teaches us that, on the many occasions, when our plans do not coincide with the Lord's plans, it is the complete trust in Love that makes the difference. Joseph followed God's plans with humility and fortitude. Like Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we are all called to be patrons – protectors of the Church, always seeking to do the will of the Lord, trusting in his plans of Love, so that Jesus is always the center of our lives and the Church.