March is the month of St. Joseph. I have commented on various occasions about how the Lord, in his providence, seems to cause certain saints to achieve greater prominence at certain points in history. St. Joseph is one of those — and that point in history is now. From having his name now in all the Eucharistic prayers (Pope St. John XXIII added his name to the historic Roman Canon in 1961 — the others were adjusted more recently), to just greater popular devotion to him in general (particularly in connection with the recovery of authentic masculinity), I think he has risen to greater importance in the life of the modern Church.
He is of course, Patron of the Universal Church. We should pray to him during this time when Catholics are more divided than ever; when there is great confusion; when evil seems to be getting the upper hand in so many sectors of society, with it also affecting the Church.
I was happy to be able to set up a votive candle in my parish, the Cathedral of St. Paul, earlier today, before the statue of St. Joseph. It will burn until a new bishop is installed in our diocese. Our current one, Bishop Robert Joseph Baker, S.T.D., will reach 75 years of age on June 4, 2019 and will have to submit his resignation to the Holy See. Presumably the process to begin identifying his successor will begin soon, if it hasn’t started already. In any case, I believe it will take a while for us to get a new bishop, because of the number of vacant dioceses at present and the number of bishops already near or over age 75, among other reasons. We’ll see. All the same, many people are worried about who we might get.
Recently, during my retreat, I asked the Mother Superior where I was staying if she and the nuns would pray for this intention. She said they would; she also encouraged me to entrust the petition to St. Joseph — then she proceeded to tell me a number of stories about how he had interceded for them in extraordinary ways over the years. The moment that she gave me that advice, the idea popped into my head that I should get a votive lamp for our statue, to burn for this intention. So I did. And I was able to set it up today.
The candles that we are burning in it are 100% beeswax — the best we can offer to God. May our prayers rise up to him through the intercession of St. Joseph, and may he grant to us a good, holy, faithful, joyful, and humble bishop to succeed Bishop Baker. Change is difficult — particularly in times like these, when many are worried. Our best response is prayer; prayer will also help our hearts to be ready for however the prayer might be answered. I especially recommend the Litany of St. Joseph.
Besides my personal intentions to St. Joseph, I have an official “secondary” intention for the votive candle that is now burning before his image: priestly vocations. We have a very long way to go. I meet many young men who have strong signs of a vocation. But it is difficult for many of them to respond with confidence. I am counting on St. Joseph to overcome, by his prayers, the hesitation and fear that some experience in responding in faith to the Lord’s call. I also pray that he will help me and the other priests of our diocese all to be more effective in identifying possible vocations and fostering them.
I do have a “vocational wish list” set up on Amazon so that I can have the “supplies” needed to help young men in their discernment: teaching them how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and giving them other helpful reading materials. Please consider if you might purchase an item on there. It is set up to ship to my address. Thank you!
St. Joseph, pray for us!