Year of St. Joseph concludes Dec. 8

November 23, 2021

Photo by Michael O'Sullivan

HOUSTON — Since Dec. 8, 2020, the Church has marked the 150th Anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s decree, Quemadmodum Deus, naming St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of Jesus, as the Patron of the Universal Church.

To commemorate that anniversary and recognize the fitting time for the Church to invoke the intercession of this guardian, the Church has celebrated the “Year of St. Joseph,” as declared by Pope Francis, which will conclude on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

“St. Joseph is very much a man of faith,” Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said in a March 9 homily. “We look to St. Joseph as a heavenly patron for guardianship or protection. Many of you who are men, you see yourselves as guardians and protectors of your wives and families, just like Joseph. [He] was always mindful of them first. That’s ... why we should dedicate the church of St. Joseph, which we do. He is the universal protector and guardian.”

Plenary indulgences: An explainer

Catholics can embrace St. Joseph in prayer and receive a plenary indulgence.

The plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and praying for the pope’s intentions) to the faithful who, with a spirit detached from any sin, participate in the Year of Saint Joseph on the occasions and in the manner indicated by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

These include: meditating for at least 30 minutes on the Our Father; participating in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph; performing a corporal or spiritual work of mercy; praying the Rosary in families and between the husband and wife; entrusting their work daily to the protection of St. Joseph and to all believers who invoke with their prayers the intercession of the worker of Nazareth; praying the Litany of Saint Joseph, or some other prayer to St. Joseph, typical of the other liturgical traditions, for the persecuted Church and for the relief of all persecuted Christians.

Others include praying any approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, for example, “To you oh blessed Joseph,” especially on every Wednesday, the day dedicated to the memory of St. Joseph.

The gift of plenary indulgence extends particularly to the elderly, sick and dying, and those who cannot leave their homes.

These people, with the spirit detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling, as soon as possible, the three usual conditions, in their own home or wherever the impediment holds them, pray an act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, consolation of the sick and patron of good death, confidently offering God the pains and difficulties of his life.

To learn more about the Year of St. Joseph and to explore special online resources, visit