10 July 2021
Year of Saint Joseth

The paternity of St. Joseph in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and Apostolic Letter Patris Corde

Two important messages from Cardinal Farrell on the figure of St. Joseph

In June, Cardinal Kevin Farrell attended two meetings held for the Shalom Congress of Families and the 40th anniversary of Couples for Christ. In his messages for both events, the Cardinal took the opportunity to speak about the role of Saint Joseph in light of the Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" and the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father "Patris Corde."  St. Joseph was appointed patron of the universal Church by Pope Pius IX.

The Cardinal affirms that relatively little is known about St. Joseph, however, it is precisely this humility and simplicity, this hiddenness, that allowed him to faithfully fulfill the mission that the Lord entrusted to him.

The Cardinal firstly reflects on the current need to rediscover fatherhood, citing various points from the two general audiences that Pope Francis dedicated to the figure of the father. Then, citing the Amoris Laetitia and Patris Corde, he lists some characteristics of the physical and spiritual paternity of Christians while taking St. Joseph as a reference.

"Joseph was a fundamental figure for Jesus, for Mary and for the entire history of salvation, yet, already during his earthly life, it is as if he had remained invisible: no one notices him, no one appreciates his qualities! Not a single word he uttered is recorded in the Gospels! Only some people, among the humblest, seem to notice him. For the most important people, for his fellow countrymen of Bethlehem, he hardly exists; only the poor notice his presence. Joseph's entire mission takes place in this silence, in this shadow. Everything Joseph does, he does out of obedience to God, not to be praised by anyone and he doesn't complain about this silence!"

This way of living, the Cardinal emphasized, “is extremely important for us in the culture in which we find ourselves in. In Joseph's hiddenness we see the character of a real father and a real man! Today, however, it seems that everyone desperately needs to appear, to be seen, to receive applause. It seems that if someone doesn't get enough “likes”, they lack worth as a person! St. Joseph is truly the most effective antidote to this malady of narcissism. A true father does his duty and sacrifices himself because this is what the good of his children demands and what God asks him to do; he remains faithful to his mission as husband and father for the entirety of his life, even if no one will ever notice him or all the good he has done!"