Year of St. Joseph Helps Raise Awareness, Devotion
Year of St. Joseph
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
December 2, 2021
DIOCESE—Pope Francis proclaimed a “Year of St. Joseph” from Dec. 8, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as patron of the universal Church. The saint is held up as an example of sacrificial fatherhood and purity and as an intercessor in healing and fighting the world’s evils.
The pope recently provided some thoughts about this “silent saint” so often overlooked, including at Christmastime.
On Nov. 17 at his weekly general audience, Pope Francis noted that St. Joseph is a man full of faith in God and his providence. The saint also “reminds the Church to keep her eyes on what the world deliberately ignores” and to consider as important what others discard, he said.
“He is truly a master of the essential: He reminds us that what truly matters does not attract our attention, but requires patient discernment to be discovered and appreciated,” he added.
Many Catholics and parishes of the Diocese of Rockford took special notice of this foster father of Jesus during this past year. Some completed “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father” by Father Donald Calloway, MIC, gaining insights about the saint from what they read and new graces from being consecrated to him.
Some parishes provided talks and homilies on St. Joseph. Printed materials, such as the holy card with the prayer shown at right, were given out, featured in bulletins and made available at tables in church narthexes. 
The Rockford Diocese’s seven parishes named for the saint – in Apple River, Aurora, Elgin, Freeport, Harvard, Lena, and Richmond – were featured monthly in The Observer this year, along with other features: a March 5 article about the history of St. Joseph altars and how parishes in the diocese planned to celebrate the saints’ feast day; a June 4 article on the Litany of St. Joseph along with an art contest for kids; a Sept. 3 article on the St. Joseph and Sons ministry; and lastly, this issue’s feature about a new how-to book about St. Joseph altars.
The end of this Year of St. Joseph should not mean a lessening of devotion to him.
As Pope Francis noted in his Nov. 17 audience, the name Joseph comes from the Hebrew verb, “to increase,” and signifies “may God increase, may God give growth.”
“He is a man full of faith in God, in His providence,” Pope Francis said, adding “Never like before, today, in this time marked by a global crisis, can he offer us support, consolation and guidance.”
Quotes provided by Catholic News Service, prayer card printed by Pilot Printing. 
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