March 7, 2021

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3 March
Third Sunday of Lent

Devotion to St. Joseph appears to have originated in the east sometime around the 4th century, particularly with the Copts in Egypt. Eventually the devotion spread to the west sometime later, though when is not clear. The first Church in the west dedicated to St. Joseph was one in Bologna in 1129. St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gertrude, and St. Bridget of Sweden all promoted devotion to him. A real flowering of devotion to St. Joseph began in the 15th century culminating with his declaration as patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870. His feast day of March 19 under the title of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, is celebrated as a Solemnity. The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. The feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on May 1. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the Universal Church, Carpenters, Doubters, Travelers, House Hunters, and of a Happy Death. Pope Francis declared 2021 as a Holy Year of St. Joseph.

From 1870 to 1937, the humble Brother André Bessette served as Porter for the Holy Cross Brothers in Montreal, Canada. The illiterate brother’s simple task was to open the door at their boarding school. Very soon, visitors were coming to see him and entrust to him their worries and prayer intentions. He would always tell them to “Go to Joseph. He will help you. Come, we’ll pray together” The miracles and healings that ensued he would always attribute to St. Joseph. Eventually so many people were coming to ask for healing that Brother André’s superiors asked him to receive visitors at the nearby trolley station. Beyond visitors coming in person he was also receiving 80,000 letters a year asking for prayers. He began building a small chapel in honor of St. Joseph. It grew into the Basilica St. Joseph’s Oratory, which was completed after Brother André’s death. It attracts over two million pilgrims a year and is filled with crutches, notes of gratitude, and prayers. St. Joseph has had no greater friend.

Thanks to the generosity of a parishioner we can give each of you this weekend a St. Joseph Holy Card. In the vestibule we will provide additional prayers and devotions seeking his intercession: the Litany of Saint Joseph, the Little Office of Saint Joseph, and more.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

God bless you.

Rev. Christopher J. Pollard