"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home." - Matthew 1:24
We interrupt our previously scheduled programming for this urgent message: we are in the season of Lent and we can still have a good time!
Our family was unable to attend the patronal feast celebration at our parish on Saint Patrick’s Day, so I was grateful that come Monday, we honored the patron of our school - St. Joseph. I thank HEART - specifically Kelly Lee and Cathy Peschke - for making our convivium so special. I also want to publicly thank Father Michael for making himself available to celebrate the sacred liturgy for our students and staff! There was sumptuous pasta, prayer cards to St. Joseph, tasty cupcakes, and smiles all around. Mrs. Sweet asked me at one point if I prepared a chair count - which I did not - but I quipped back, “St. Joseph will take care of it!”. As always, he had our back!
I know parents are feeling the pressure of Patron Feast Week, as I too felt that pressure at dinner time last evening. It wasn’t me as much as it was my wife, who much like I knew she would, artfully guided our children to make the most of this morale building opportunity. The need to execute can often be the source of inspirational creativity, and that is surely evident in our student body. There were many creative explanations from students and staff alike, providing a context for the clothes donned in order to dress as if from another time period. I must say, to see the high school students dressed like they were from the 90’s made my day!
Students are walking a little lighter on their feet this week, and thus far, I say the purpose of this patronal week is mostly accomplished.
Is our mission ever accomplished? That is a tough question. I propose that our mission is in the hands of St. Joseph, and so long as we remain faithful despite outward circumstances, it is a question that we can entrust to him.
This summer our family will finally make our customary pilgrimage to St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal; it was a pilgrimage we used to embark upon whenever we found out God gifted us with another one of his children. Why do this? As every saint devoted to the foster father of Jesus claims, we need only “go to St. Joseph.”
What has St. Joseph done for our school? A fitting response would be, what hasn’t he done?
- A divinely inspired mission consecrated to the Blessed Virgin
- A beautiful and welcoming campus
- Countless conversions of students and parents into the Mystical Body of Christ
- Even more countless numbers of students re-entering the sacramental life
- Faithful educators seeking holiness, modeling virtue and humility
- A constant anchor and curating chisel, protecting and securing fidelity to the truth
- Much like a good father, providing resources to ensure financial vitality
In short, the very gift of our school comes from the hand of the carpenter who taught our Lord how to be a loving man! And oh if we all knew and appreciated the gift that St. Joseph has given us. He is the ultimate protector of our God’s children, the universal patron of the Church.
I sense St. Joseph’s chisel sculpted our strategic plan from the very beginning, and our mission is energized as we reach the thirtieth year of our school’s existence. This represents a reaffirmed charter for our mission, and there is so much to celebrate! Once Lent is over, we are inviting parents and supporters of our school to celebrate this strategic plan at our annual auction event on May 12th. We are calling it “Mission Renewed”.
Back to St. Joseph. Here are three simple questions and answers from saints who were devoted to our beloved Joseph, lines of inquiry that illustrate the union of our mission with God’s plan for salvation.
Why is St. Joseph a fitting patron for a school? Because he is our spiritual father.
“The growth of Jesus ‘in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man’ took place within the Holy Family under the eyes of Joseph, who had the important task of ‘raising’ Jesus, that is, feeding, clothing, and educating him in the Law and in a trade, in keeping with the duties of a father.” - St. John Paul II
How did St. Joseph image God the Father? He lived so as to bring about real human flourishing.
“There is but one fatherhood, that of God the Father, the one Creator of the world, of all that is seen and unseen. Yet man, created in the image of God, has been granted a share in this one paternity of God (Eph 3:15). Saint Joseph is a striking case of this, since he is a father of Jesus, whose Father is God alone, and yet lives his fatherhood fully and completely. To be a father means above all to be at the service of life and growth. Saint Joseph, in this sense, gave proof of great devotion.” - Pope Benedict XVI
How does St. Joseph anticipate and meet the needs of God’s people? He remains the silent protector and provider of Jesus and His Bridegroom, the Church.
“When you invoke St. Joseph, you don’t have to speak much. You know your Father in heaven knows what you need; well, so does his friend St. Joseph. Tell him, ‘If you were in my place, St. Joseph, what would you do?” - St. Andre Bessette
Please join me in asking St. Joseph to intercede for the needs of our school and that our mission may start and finish with growing in holiness! This is my favorite prayer to St. Joseph.
- Derek Tremblay, Headmaster
To you, O blessed Joseph (Ad te, beate Ioseph)
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.