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The ‘resurrection’ of St Joseph Day
Catholic culture and identity will be fully exposed today when celebrations to mark the Feast of St Joseph takes place in the first capital, St Joseph. The actual feast day is observed on March 19, but because of the plans to raise the profile of the celebrations this year, a lot will happen in St Joseph over the next few hours.
Years ago, St Joseph Day celebrations were the high point for the people of the town. Falling usually somewhere close to the middle of the Lenten season, the townsfolk eagerly looked forward to the day, because it meant an opportunity to be able to “free up” from their stringent Lenten resolutions.
Apart from observing the religious significance of the patronal feast day with a solemn procession and high mass, the social aspect involved house parties and dinner parties, and other festive activities usually marked the day.
It is rewarding to know that St Joseph has moved to resuscitate celebrations to honour its patron and congratulations go out to parish priest Fr Karol and his team for an effort that has for years been harboured by the parishioners and by extension the entire town.
That this “resurrection” of marking St Joseph Day in a way that would bring joy to all in St Joseph is happening almost simultaneously with the election of the new Pope, must also be regarded as significant.
But there is much more to celebrating St Joseph in spite of the fact that he is not featured much in the scriptures. What is known is that he was entrusted by God to be the protector of the holy family and to be the earthly father of Jesus Christ and the most chaste spouse of Mary.
In a piece in today’s Catholic News by Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, she wrote, “We especially focus on Mary’s fiat, but Joseph also said “yes” to protect and accept the responsibility that goes with fatherhood.
“Joseph must have trusted God utterly,” she continued, “when he agreed to God’s plan. He protected Mary with his “yes”. History tells us that Jesus learnt the trade of his father Joseph. Joseph would have nurtured compassion and male strength in Jesus,” she added.
There are other accolades which have been given to Joseph. He is recognised as the patron saint of workers and is known as St Joseph the Worker. This feast is celebrated on May 1. He is also regarded as the patron of the universal church and he is also looked upon as the protector of those who travel.
So as we celebrate this feat, Catholic men are invited to pray for all men—fathers, brothers and husbands that they might model St Joseph’s strength, fidelity compassion, and most of all his faith in God. In this Year of Faith it might be useful to use the life of St Joseph as a guide and role model as Catholics in Trinidad and Tobago and indeed all over the world make special efforts to reinvigorate our faith.
Vernon Khelawan is the media relations officer of Catholic Media Services Ltd (Camsel), the official arm of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain. It offices are at 31 Independence Square, Port-of-Spain. Telephone: 623-7620.
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