St. Joseph Novena – Patris Corde

We propose nine days of prayerful meditation with Joseph, reflecting on some points of the apostolic letter of Pope Francis on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as the patron saint of the universal Church.

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With a Father’s Heart: that is how Joseph loved Jesus. Thus begins the apostolic letter of Pope Francis on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as the patron saint of the universal Church. We propose nine days of prayerful meditation with Joseph, reflecting on some points of this letter *, whose goal is “to increase the love for this great Saint, so that we feel impelled to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his care”.  As children, with open hearts, we go to Joseph with confidence. 

1st Day- Saint Joseph, a beloved father.

The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation”. Saint Paul VI pointed out that Joseph concretely expressed his fatherhood “by making his life a sacrificial service to the mystery of the incarnation and its redemptive purpose. He employed his legal authority over the Holy Family to devote himself completely to them in his life and work. He turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home”. (Homily 19 March 1966,  Paolo VI)

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, you have always been loved by the Christian people, for your life of service, for the total gift of yourself to Jesus and Mary, the greatest treasures of the Church, entrusted to you by the Father. With confidence, we turn to you, welcoming you as our father, defender and intercessor. We entrust to you our most precious treasures: our relationship with God, our Christian life, our family, our friends, our mission, the Church, our work… Like you, we want to give ourselves totally to Jesus and Mary and put everything we are and have at the service of God.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

2nd Day-  Saint Joseph, a tender and loving father

In the synagogue, during the praying of the Psalms, Joseph would surely have heard again and again that the God of Israel is a God of tender love, who is good to all, whose “compassion is over all that he has made” (Ps 145:9). […] All too often, we think that God works only through our better parts, yet most of his plans are realized in and despite our frailty. Thus Saint Paul could say: “To keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor 12:7-9). Since this is part of the entire economy of salvation, we must learn to look upon our weaknesses with tender mercy. 

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, in you, Jesus saw the tenderness of God. We too want, through your intercession, to experience it. May God’s tender and merciful look heal our way of seeing our own weakness and that of others. And “although our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts. He knows all things “(1 John 3:20). Teach us to welcome the divine mercy, that embraces us, supports us, forgives us, that welcomes us as we are, that knows how to “work even through our fears, our frailty and our weakness”. May tenderness be reborn also within Christian families, so that they may be hearths of light and love.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

3rd Day- Saint Joseph, an obedient father

As he had done with Mary, God revealed his saving plan to Joseph […]. In every situation, Joseph declared his own “fiat”, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. 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). 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). Even at the most difficult moment of his life, in Gethsemane, Jesus chose to do the Father’s will rather than his own, becoming “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8) 

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, in the most difficult moments, in dilemmas, in misunderstandings, in persecutions, in the failures that you have to face, you have always obeyed the voice of God without hesitation, trusting Him more than in all your reasoning. At your school, we too want to learn filial obedience, love for the will of God, which is not a burden, but food, life, heaven for us. 

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

4th Day- Saint Joseph, an accepting father.

The spiritual path that Joseph traces for us is not one that explains, but accepts. Only as a result of this acceptance, this reconciliation, can we begin to glimpse a broader history, a deeper meaning. We can almost hear an echo of the impassioned reply of Job to his wife, who had urged him to rebel against the evil he endured: “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (Job 2:10). Joseph is certainly not passively resigned, but courageously and firmly proactive. In our own lives, acceptance and welcome can be an expression of the Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude. Only the Lord can give us the strength needed to accept life as it is, with all its contradictions, frustrations and disappointments. Jesus’ appearance in our midst is a gift from the Father, which makes it possible for each of us to be reconciled to the flesh of our own history, even when we fail to understand it completely.

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, in the Gospels we see that things were not always clear or easy for you. Life often places us in situations that we do not understand, that seem contradictory, that disturb and deceive us. Teach us to put aside all fear, anger and disillusionment and to embrace reality with strength, patience and creativity. In fact, “we know that everything contributes to the good of those who love God” (Rom. 8,28). Teach us also to welcome our neighbor, especially the weakest, the most confused and suffering, whom we entrust to your protection.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

5th Day- Saint Joseph, a creatively courageous father

As we read the infancy narratives, we may often wonder why God did not act in a more direct and clear way. Yet God acts through events and people.  Joseph was the man chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true “miracle” by which God saves the child and his mother. God acted by trusting in Joseph’s creative courage. Arriving in Bethlehem and finding no lodging where Mary could give birth, Joseph took a stable and, as best he could, turned it into a welcoming home for the Son of God come into the world (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Faced with imminent danger from Herod, who wanted to kill the child, Joseph was warned once again in a dream to protect the child, and rose in the middle of the night to prepare the flight into Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14).

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, you did not wait for signs and miracles, but when you heard the voice of the Lord and obeyed him, you yourself became an instrument and a miracle of God. Help us to understand that God wants to count on us to change the world, making it a welcoming place for His Son. “If at times God seems not to help us, surely this does not mean that we have been abandoned, but instead are being trusted to plan, to be creative, and to find solutions ourselves”. May our love for Jesus grow and mature through your intercession, until it produces concrete fruits of holiness and unity. 

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

6th Day- Saint Joseph, a protecting father

At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Mt 1:24; 2:14.21) Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith […]. We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are also mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safekeeping. The Son of the Almighty came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph.  God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child. 

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, the Father entrusted the Baby Jesus and his Mother to your care. Sometimes the treasure of our faith is threatened by doubt, pain, persecution, difficulty, loss and trials; we often feel that we are about to lose it. Oh Joseph, help us to keep and love Jesus and Mary every day of our lives. Protect the Church from the enemy’s tricks and intercede so that Christ can make it perfect by His love. Finally, we entrust to you the Christians who are going through hard trials; may they be sustained and strengthened in faith and hope.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

7th Day- Saint Joseph, a working father

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. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfilment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family […]. Working persons, whatever their job may be, are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us. 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. Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work.

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious Saint Joseph, Jesus learned from you “the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat the bread that is the fruit of your own work”: teach us too! The Church entrusts to you all the workers so that – through your example and your intercession – they can be faithful to their responsibilities before God, the Church, their families and society. We also pray for those who do not have a decent job. We implore that you may “help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!”.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

8th Day- Saint Joseph, a father in the shadows

The Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father, tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way. We can think of Moses’ words to Israel: “In the wilderness… you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you travelled” (Deut 1:31). In a similar way, Joseph acted as a father for his whole life. 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.

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer: Glorious St. Joseph, “children today often seem orphans, lacking fathers. The Church too needs fathers”. Teach us to take care of those whom God has entrusted to our responsibility: children, parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and each “neighbor” that the Lord places at our side. We also want to be a shadow of the Father and a reflection of His love for everyone we meet.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

9th Day- Saint Joseph, the most chaste father

The logic of love is always the logic of freedom, and Joseph knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the centre of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus. 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. Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would dominate others as a means of compensating for their own needs. It rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction. Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is the fruit of mature sacrifice. 

(If you desire, you can have a moment of personal reflection now or, if you are in a community meeting, share about the text)

Prayer:  Glorious Saint Joseph, you are called “the most chaste”, because yours is a true love, which does not possess, does not imprison, but opens spaces and makes others happy. We entrust to you vocations to marriage, the priesthood and religious life: that they may reach maturity in the gift of themselves, to be a sign of the beauty and the joy of love. Help us to discover, love and be faithful to our personal vocation. We want to rediscover the freedom to be children of a Father who does not oppress us, who does not imprison us, but who drives us towards maturity and the full realization of ourselves. May all our relationships show the sign of chastity and freedom.

(Moment of silence, personal intentions)

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

 

* The texts are quotes from or based on Pope Francis’ apostolic letter. The prayer we suggest is also taken from the same document.


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