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Archives Immaculate Conception Mass to end year of St. Joseph

December 1, 2021

North Country Catholic

OGDENSBURG – The official end to the Year of St. Joseph for the Diocese of Ogdensburg will be marked by Bishop Terry R. LaValley at St. Mary’s Cathedral on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.

“The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception was chosen was both for historical and theological reasons,” said Father Bryan D. Stitt, director of the Office of Worship. “Historically, it was on December 8, 1870, the Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the decree, Quemadmodum Deus, which communicated the decision of Pope Pius IX declaring St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. Pope Francis’ declaration of the Year of St. Joseph marked the 150th anniversary. But the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s reception of the prevenient grace of her Son freeing her from Original Sin from the moment of her conception, also honors Joseph who cherished her sinlessness throughout his life and their marriage.”

Father Stitt noted that the Solemnity Mass will mark the end of a Year of St. Joseph that lasted longer than a year in our diocese.

“In the early days of the pandemic we did a diocese-wide Novena to St. Joseph and shared it onlin,” Father Stitt explained. “The Novena was in anticipation of Bishop LaValley’s dedication of the entire Diocese to Joseph’s patronal care. That was back on the Feast of St. Jospeh the Worker, May 1, 2020.

Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 marking the 150th anniversary of his being named the Patron of the Universal Church. However, we in the Diocese of Ogdensburg have been honoring Joseph and seeking his intercession in a focused way for months prior. I’m not saying that the Vatican copied the Diocese of Ogdensburg or that Pope Francis copied Bishop LaValley, but it’s easy for us to feel that way. The Holy Spirit is clearly taking the lead on this devotion.”

Father Stitt also noted that the Year of St. Joseph built on the North Country’s strong devotion to the saint.

“Catholics in the North Country have been close to Joseph for generations,” he said. “We know of his care for each of us, we hear his name invoked in each Mass, and we have been blessed with the presence of our own dear Sisters of St. Joseph for well over a century. This special year of St. Joseph has hopefully increased that devotion. He has also been a strong support for us in these tumultuous days. We’ve been encouraged to reflect on Joseph leading the Holy Family through the annunciation in Nazareth, the birth in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and losing Jesus in the temple. As the only sinner in the Holy Family, it is easy for me to connect with Joseph as we live through personal, religious, and political turmoil – turmoil that wasn’t so different from what surrounded him. Throughout, he stayed focused on Jesus and Mary, and he trusted n the Lord.”

Though the year devoted to St. Joseph is ending, our devotion to the saint doesn’t, Father Stitt said.

“To conclude, I would invite Catholics, each time they hear ‘blessed Joseph, her spouse,’ in the Eucharistic Prayer to follow the example of Joseph. We can say with him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed.’”



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