Last year, on the 150th anniversary of St Joseph being named a patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis announced the Church would celebrate a Year of St Joseph, from 8 December 2020–8 December 2021. To begin the Year, the Holy Father published an apostolic letter titled Patris Corde (meaning 'With a Father's Heart'), sharing his own personal reflections on St Joseph.

Throughout the Year and in reading Patris Corde, each of us are encouraged to grow in our love for St Joseph, implore his intercession and imitate his virtues and zeal. As Pope Francis says, each of us can discover in St Joseph an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.

To assist parishes and parishioners to reflect on and seek inspiration from the life and virtues of St Joseph, below are some resources and reflections for use throughout the year.

Parish resources

To assist parishes find inspiration in St Joseph’s steadfast and patient hope in God’s plan, a monthly prayer of the faithful and bulletin insert based on Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Patris Corde have been produced for use in parishes. Each month from May–December will feature a different bulletin insert and intercession that can be used for the entire month.

May

Intercession

We pray for all working or seeking employment. Like St Joseph, who taught Jesus how to use his talents and hone his skills, may they know the dignity of meaningful work.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

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 the primary cell of society which is the family. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tension, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living? … Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 6

June

Intercession

We pray for all families. Looking to the Holy Family as their guide, may families grow in faith, hope and love so that they might be a blessing to each other and to the world.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

Just as God told Joseph: ‘Son of David, do not be afraid!’ (Mt 1:20), so he seems to tell us: ‘Do not be afraid!’ We need to set aside all anger and disappointment, and to embrace the way things are, even when they do not turn out as we wish. Not with mere resignation but with hope and courage, in this way, we become open to a deeper meaning. Our lives can be miraculously reborn if we find the courage to live them in accordance with the Gospel. It does not matter if everything seems to have gone wrong or some things can no longer be fixed. God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 4

July

Intercession

We pray for the grace to live authentically as God’s children. May we model ourselves on St Joseph, who unfailingly responded to God’s call in his life.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. … The spiritual path that Joseph traces for us is not one that explains, but accepts. … 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.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 4

August

Intercession

We pray for children and those most vulnerable. Like St Joseph, may we be ready to protect and affirm their value and dignity at all times.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

Even through Joseph’s fears, God’s will, his history and his plan were at work. Joseph, then, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses. He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course. At times, we want to be in complete control, yet God always sees the bigger picture.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 2

September

Intercession

We pray for the Pope Francis and the Church. Just as St Joseph faithfully followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, may we be always willing to do the same.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

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. In this sense, Saint Joseph could not be other than the Guardian of the Church, for the Church is the continuation of the Body of Christ in history, … In his continued protection for the Church, Joseph continues to protect the child and his mother, and we too, by our love for the Church, continue to love the child and his mother.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 5

October

Intercession

We pray for the grace to grow more like St Joseph. May we draw strength and encouragement from friendship with him and grow in holiness and virtue.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

… I would like to share some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience … ‘our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked … How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility … How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all.’ Each of us can discover in Joseph—the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence—an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, introduction

November

Intercession

We pray for a happy death. At life’s natural conclusion, may we find ourselves, like St Joseph, in the arms of our merciful Father.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by St Teresa of Avila

I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to the glorious St Joseph, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favours which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which he has delivered me, both in body and in soul

… I only request, for the love of God, whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for that person will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious patriarch and to be devout to him.

St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, Autobiography

December

Intercession

We pray for the grace to be open to God’s life-giving initiative in our lives. Like St Joseph, may we always be ready to trust and do the Lord’s will.

Lord hear us.

Bulletin notice (Download image here or copy and paste below)

A reflection on St Joseph by Pope Francis

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’ … Thanks to his role in salvation history, Saint Joseph has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people.

Pope Francis, Patris Corde, § 51

St Joseph Prayer

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli placed the Archdiocese of Melbourne under the intercession and guardianship of St Joseph. Since then, parishes, schools, diocesan staff and the wider community have been invited to pray to St Joseph during this time of uncertainty. On the feast of St Joseph, 19 March 2021, and as we enter into this Year of the Family, Archbishop Comensoli has encouraged the community to pray this new prayer seeking the intercession of St Joseph:

TO THE FATHER

Heavenly Father,
St Joseph set aside his own plans to embrace your dream for us.
You invited his help in caring for Jesus your Son, our Saviour,
and the Revealer of your wonderful love.
Enable us to live by your loving plan
and to reflect to the world the light of Christ.

St Joseph, man of dreams and trusting steward, pray for us.

TO THE SON

Lord Jesus,
You grew in wisdom and maturity
as you lived in the family of Nazareth
in daily communion with St Joseph and Mary your mother.
From St Joseph you learned the dignity of human work.
Give parents the wisdom to support their children
and to guide them in the way and work of your Kingdom.

St Joseph, faithful parent and diligent worker, pray for us.

TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Creator Spirit,
We see in St Joseph a tenderness and reverence for all your creation.
We learn from him to approach others justly and tenderly,
and to see our world as endowed with the glory of God.
Teach us to love one another
and to be of humble service to all of creation,
empowered by your life within us.

St Joseph, wise protector and humble servant, pray for us.

Ready to print files of the prayer are also available to download below.