Pope Francis Declares 2021 Year of St. Joseph
December 24, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.  (CNS) —Marking the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared patron of the universal Church, Pope Francis proclaimed a yearlong celebration dedicated to the foster father of Jesus. 
In a Dec. 8 apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), the pope said Christians can discover in St. Joseph, who often goes unnoticed, “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.” 
As Mary’s husband and guardian of the Son of God, St. Joseph turned “his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home.” 
Despite being troubled at first by Mary’s pregnancy, St. Joseph was obedient to God’s will “regardless of the hardship involved,” the pope added. 
St. Joseph’s unconditional acceptance of Mary and his decision to protect her “good name, her dignity and her life” also serves as an example for men today, the pope added. 
“Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence toward women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man,” he wrote. 
As a carpenter who earned “an honest living to provide for his family,” Christ’s earthly guardian is also an example for both workers and those seeking employment and the right to a life of dignity for themselves and their families, the pope said. 
The year dedicated to St. Joseph will end Dec. 8, 2021. 
In observance of the Year of St. Joseph, The Observer plans to feature each of the Rockford Diocese parishes named for the adoptive father of Jesus, along with other stories each month of the coming year.
“We think this is an excellent way to draw attention to this most special saint,” said Penny Wiegert, editor.
“We look forward to highlighting the parishes, as well as the growing tradition of St. Joseph altars in our diocese.
“We’re just planning our coverage of St. Joseph and welcome suggestions from our readers,” she added. “If your parish, school or Catholic organization has any traditional activities related to St. Joseph, please drop me a note at 
pwiegert@rockforddiocese.org or send a note to me at The Observer, PO Box 7044, Rockford, IL 61125.
“I look forward to hearing from you,” she said.
— The Observer staff contributed to this story
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