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May 6, 2020

Bishop LaValley has just consecrated our Diocese to the intercession and protection of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus, the Son of God.

How good and how comforting to know that we have such a powerful friend in Heaven! Especially in these troubled times, it is a special consolation and a continuing source of hope and joy for all of us.

I couldn’t help but think of the many ways St. Joseph has played a vital role in my own life. I remember, several years ago as other family members and I were cleaning out the attic, coming across a small box of letters and news clippings and invitations to various family events. It was kept in a drawer of an old bureau, along with other “family treasures!” Anyway, one of the notes was written to my Mom, who was in the hospital after just having given birth to me. My Grandma Morgan wrote to my Mom, saying that we had never had a “Joseph” in the family and what a good name it was. I agree whole-heartedly! St. Joseph, the just man who watched over Mary and Jesus, is the Patron of Families and Protector of the Church. How blessed to carry his name throughout life!

When our family moved to Watertown, we became good friends of the Sisters of St. Joseph. My sisters and brothers and I were enrolled in Holy Family School, and then in Immaculate Heart Academy, which became Immaculate Heart Central. During the school year, the Sisters were our teachers; during the summers, the Sisters would visit homes and prepare for the next school year by meeting families. My parents always appreciated the Sisters and several of them became very close to our family. I have also been privileged to work with several of the Sisters in various parish assignments and in Chancery work over the years. (Really amusing was when Sister Marie Cordata, whom I had known when I was a student at IHC, became Principal of St. Mary’s Academy in Champlain. We often laughed about pretending to know what we were doing…she as Principal and I as Pastor!)

We belonged to Holy Family Church and sat on the “Holy Family side,” where there was a large painting of the Holy Family over the confessionals. It was a family scene at Nazareth, and became a constant reminder to be our own “holy family” in Watertown.

A younger brother, Tom, was born with spinal bifida in 1961. He had several surgeries in Montreal, cared for by the Shriners at the Royal Victoria Hospital. We had many trips to Montreal to visit Tom. There we found the Oratory on Mount Royal, built by St. Brother André Bessette, in honor of St. Joseph. I remember being so impressed with the long hallway filled with candles and with the discarded crutches, wheelchairs, canes and braces that were left behind by those who were healed through the intercession of St. Joseph. St. Joseph was great…he took care of people and got things done! And he worked through a little Brother, a porter who welcomed people and prayed for them.

St. Joseph accompanies us on our pilgrimage of faith. He encourages us to stay close to Jesus, to listen as God speaks to our hearts, and to be open to the amazing ways God wants to be present to us. St. Joseph, a man of trust and humility and obedience, watches over our families and our Church as we walk the ways of faith, hope and love.

Think of the love he had for Mary and for Jesus; how he worked to provide for them and protect them; how he answered God’s call throughout his life, with complete abandon and a desire to do only what God wanted. Isn’t that a wonderful way to live?

St. Joseph is a great patron for all of us. Pray for us, St. Joseph, protector and guide and friend. Make us humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to God, who saves us in Jesus, the Risen Lord!

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