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Patris Corde, "with a father's heart".

Joseph Santiago CMF - Wed, Dec 30th 2020




Pope Francis Proclaims “Year of Saint Joseph” with the Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020.  

 The text is titled Patris Corde, "with a father's heart".  

 The year begins Dec. 8, 2020, and concludes on Dec. 8, 2021. 

 Background of the letter

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

 Pope Francis says his own plans to write the apostolic letter on St.Joseph "increased during these months of pandemic". Pope launched “year of St.Joseph” in yet another response to Pandemic.

 The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

 The crisis of our time, which is economic, social, cultural and spiritual, can serve as a summons for all of us to rediscover the value, the importance and necessity of work for bringing about a new “normal” from which no one is excluded.  The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities

 Importance and Need of the letter:

The decree said that Francis had established a Year of St. Joseph so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.” 

He says despite "the arrogance and violence of worldly powers, God always finds a way to carry out his saving plan".

The pope proposes St. Joseph as an example of welcoming the trials of life "without exception".

He also calls the saint "the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty".

"Every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is 'the child' whom Joseph continues to protect," Francis insists.

Pope Francis says that  the yearlong event will encourage "prayer and good works". And with the help of St. Joseph's example and intercession it seeks to bring "comfort and relief from the serious human and social tribulations that besiege the contemporary world today".

The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.

Jesus with Mary and Joseph.jpg

Who is Saint Joseph?

Ø  The portrayal of St. Joseph in the Gospels: Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.

Ø  We learn that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55),

Ø  betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27).

Ø  He was a “just man” (Mt 1:19),

Ø  Joseph was deeply troubled by Mary’s mysterious pregnancy. He did not want to “expose her to public disgrace”, so he decided to “dismiss her quietly” (Mt 1:19).

Ø  Ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22).

Ø  After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7).

Ø  He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.

Ø  Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

Ø  In the Temple, forty days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary offered their child to the Lord and listened with amazement to Simeon’s prophecy concerning Jesus and his Mother (cf. Lk 2:22-35).

Ø  To protect Jesus from Herod, Joseph dwelt as a foreigner in Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-18).

Ø  When, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary lost track of the twelve-year-old Jesus, they anxiously sought him out and they found him in the Temple, in discussion with the doctors of the Law (cf. Lk 2:41-50).

Ø  As the spouse of Mary of Nazareth, Saint Joseph stands at the crossroads between the Old and New Testaments.

St. Joseph, in the history of the Church:

·        Blessed Pius IX declared him “Patron of the Catholic Church” on 8th December 1870.

·        The encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on devotion to St. Joseph: Quamquam Pluries.

·        Venerable Pius XII proposed him as “Patron of Workers”.

·        Saint John Paul II declared him as “Guardian of the Redeemer”.

·        The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope St. John Paul II on the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church: Redemptoris Custos.

·        The motu proprio of Pope Benedict XV on devotion to St. Joseph: Bonum Sane.

·        Pope Francis Proclaims “Year of Saint Joseph” with the Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020. 

·        Saint Joseph is universally invoked as the “patron of a happy death”.

·        Saint Joseph is invoked as protector of the unfortunate, the needy, exiles, the afflicted, the poor and the dying.

Francis describes Saint Joseph as

1.     a beloved father,

2.     a tender and loving father,

3.     an obedient father,

4.     an accepting father;

5.     a father who is creatively courageous,

6.     a working father,

7.     a father in the shadows.

Lessons learned from St. Joseph

1.    Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.

2.   Saint Joseph has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people.

3.   Joseph saw Jesus grow daily “in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour” (Lk 2:52).

4.     In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God.

5.    Pointing fingers and judging others are frequently signs of an inability to accept our own weaknesses, our own frailty. Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser (cf. Rev 12:10).

6.   Joseph teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses. He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course

7. Joseph was deeply troubled by Mary’s mysterious pregnancy. He did not want to “expose her to public disgrace”, so he decided to “dismiss her quietly” (Mt 1:19).

8.Joseph did not hesitate to obey, regardless of the hardship involved: “He got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (Mt 2:14-15).

9.   In his role as the head of a family, Joseph taught Jesus to be obedient to his parents (cf. Lk 2:51), in accordance with God’s command (cf. Ex 20:12).

10. During the hidden years in Nazareth, Jesus learned at the school of Joseph to do the will of the Father. That will was to be his daily food (cf. Jn 4:34).

11. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man.

12.Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. Joseph made the decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity and her life.

13.   Joseph’s attitude encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak, for God chooses what is weak (cf. 1 Cor 1:27).

14.  God acted by trusting in Joseph’s creative courage. Pope Francis presents Joseph as a Model of "Creative Courage".

15.   Saint Joseph is the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.

16. From Saint Joseph, we must learn that same care and responsibility. We must learn to love the child and his mother, to love the sacraments and charity, to love the Church and the poor.

17. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family (first social Encyclical, Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum).

18. In our own day, when employment has once more become a burning social issue. We need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron.

19. Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion.

20. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up.

21. Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work.

22. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father:

23. Fathers are not born, but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person.

24. Children today often seem orphans, lacking fathers. The Church too needs fathers.

25. Joseph is traditionally called a “most chaste” father. A possessive love ultimately becomes dangerous.

26. Being a father entails introducing children to life and reality. Not holding them back, being overprotective or possessive, but rather making them capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities.

27. Joseph never made himself the centre of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.

28.  Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. . In him, we never see frustration but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust.

29.  Some parents confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction.

30. A sign of the beauty and joy of love, the gift of self are the signs of healthy parents and an expression of unhappiness, sadness and frustration are some of the symptoms of unhealthy parents.

31. Fathers should not refuse to live the lives of their children for them. Father has to respect the freedom of a child.

32. After so much sacrifice and accompaniment, Parents may sometimes feel “useless”, when they see that their children have become independent and walk on their own way. It is a healthy sign.

33. Joseph, who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care. : “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Mt 23:9).

34. Joseph’s response was immediate: “When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). Obedience made it possible for him to surmount his difficulties and spare Mary.


The parenting style of Joseph was authoritative, not authoritarian, and passive or neglect. The needs of Jesus was love, admiration, acceptance, acknowledgements, security, discipline and freedom. Joseph offered them all to Jesus. Among the four types of attachment style,, 2.Fearful- avoidant, 3.Dismissive -avoidant and 4.Anxious- preoccupied, Joseph followed the secure style

Pope Francis has noted the following saints names in this letter. they are as follows, Saint Paul and  Saint Augustine, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Teresa of Avila, and saint Paul VI.

Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!


Joseph Santiago CMF
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
Arul Anandar College, Karumathur, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India



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