By Vatican News
In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows. The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.
A beloved, tender, obedient fatherSaint Joseph, in fact, “concretely expressed his fatherhood” by making an offering of himself in love “a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home,” writes Pope Francis, quoting his predecessor St Paul VI.
And because of his role at “the crossroads between the Old and New Testament,” St Joseph “has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people” (PC, 1). In him, “Jesus saw the tender love of God,” the one that helps us accept our weakness, because “it is through” and despite “our fears, our frailties, and our weakness” that most divine designs are realized. “Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser,” emphasizes the Pontiff, and it is by encountering God’s mercy especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we “experience His truth and tenderness,” – because “we know that God’s truth does not condemn us, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us” (2).
Joseph is also a father in obedience to God: with his ‘fiat’ he protects Mary and Jesus and teaches his Son to “do the will of the Father.” Called by God to serve the mission of Jesus, he “cooperated… in the great mystery of Redemption,” as St John Paul II said, “and is truly a minister of salvation” (3).
At the conclusion of his Letter, Pope Francis adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
(ANS - Rome) - 'Moved by hope: “See, I am making all things new” (Rev 21: 5) is the title that the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has chosen for the message of his Strenna for 2021. Here's how he presents the poster:
"When I learned the phrase that will accompany the Strenna for 2021, I thought of the need to offer through an image what is strong for me in that prayer ... HOPE. And for us, as a community of believers, our hope is in Jesus. We often feel, in these times in which we live, that people are without hope. A pandemic is enough to make humanity 'tremble' and make it much more vulnerable. And in that wounded humanity, there are also our young people ... the privileged of our charism.
This is why, and almost by 'praying', we find the image of Jesus at the center, who supports us, invites us to rise, and not only with an outstretched hand, but also with an understanding gaze that gives dignity. And around it there is an environment that tends to convert, from a gray, dark, dense scenario to another full of color, with the necessary brightness to see in the faces of those who receive us, the testimony of Christ.
Our great challenge, as the Salesian Family, is simply to be a sign of Hope, to put light and color, to look with understanding, to continue to heal and accompany what this pandemic has hurt, to continue to be attentive to the needs of others, as Mother Mazzarello and Don Bosco taught us.”
Laura Carmen Vicuna was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1891. When she realised that her mother was living in a sinful situation, she offered herself to the Lord to bring about her conversion; she increased her penances and, with the permission of her confessor, took private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Worn out by sacrifices and sickness she confided in her mother "Mummy, I am dying! Some time ago I asked Jesus to bring you back to God and I offered my life for you... Mummy, before I die, can I have the joy of seeing you turn back to him?" Her request was granted and she died peacefully on the evening of 22nd January 1904.
Like all Catholic spiritualities, Salesian Spirituality is one rooted in the Christian tradition. Grounded in Gospel values and inspired by the life of St. Francis de Sales it is a spirituality that celebrates daily life as the place where one encounters God. It is a spirituality that delights in activity and cultivates a positive attitude full of hope in the gifts that people possess. Work, study, relaxation, friendship and personal relationships with God, others and self are all aspects of Salesian spirituality with each young person being invited to live these to the full.
St. Francis de Sales was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales in the Kingdom of Savoy near Geneva, Switzerland on August 21, 1567. St. Francis de Sales, the very active and alive pastor and doctor of the Church (1567-1622), inspired Don Bosco to choose St. Francis of Sales as his patron. In honour of St. Francis de Sales he named his followers Salesians. St. Francis de Sales was beatified on January 8, 1662 and canonized on April 19, 1665 by Pope Alexander VII.
Francis was both intelligent and gentle. From a very early age, he desired to serve God. He believed the worst sin was to judge someone or to gossip about them. Even if we say we do it out of love we're still doing it to look better ourselves. We should be as gentle and forgiving with ourselves as we should be with others.