“Let us learn from Saint Joseph to put God's plans before our own; to walk together, look up to heaven and hear the cry of the innocent victims of the Herods of our time”
Dear brothers and sisters:
Let us celebrate with joy the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. We thank the Lord for the trust placed on St. Joseph, a just and hardworking man, in whose hands He entrusted the custody of the Family of Nazareth. Let us turn to him, Protector of the Order, so that the Lord through his intercession may arouse hope and joy in our hearts and in our communities.
Year dedicated to Saint Joseph
On December 8, Pope Francis surprised us with the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (With the heart of a father). In it, the Holy Father recalled the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church and announced that, from that day until December 8, 2021, a year dedicated especially to him will be celebrated. The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree on the granting of indulgences especially during this year.1
St. Joseph, husband of Mary, is for all of us an example of availability and of trust in God. With his simple life and his fidelity he lifts our spirits and strengthens our hope. Let us look at him so that we can see from faith everything that is happening in our hearts, in the Order, in the Church and in the whole world.
Introducing the document, the Holy Father remembers that even in the midst of so many crises that hit us, some people manage to make a difference:
In prayer, we also heartily remember each of the brothers and sisters who have left for the Father's house, victims of this Covid-19 pandemic. To all of them and to all the members of the Augustinian Recollect Family who have lived this time anchored on faith, to those who have known how to endure difficulties and deprivations with patience, to those who have been concerned not to infect or have sought to serve and help, to all of them are due our appreciation and gratitude.
The Pope describes St. Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadow. Saint Joseph speaks very clearly through his eloquent silence; He encourages us and at the same time challenges us with his love, his humility and his chastity:
Protector of the Order
Among the early Recollects, the devotion to Saint Joseph was, above all, something personal. Our Chronicles narrate the great confidence that his protection aroused in many religious. The great propagator of his devotion in the Order was Father Gabriel de la Concepción. During his term as prior general (1630-1634) he introduced the hymn Ioseph, the first common act of devotion of the Recollection in honor of the saint. Shortly after, around the year 1650, the solemn celebration of his feast began, on March 19. And, finally, it was in the intermediate general chapter of 1669 when Saint Joseph was declared Protector of the Order.
His images and his devotion spread from among the Recollect convents. Temples were dedicated to him, brotherhoods were erected in his honor, and his devotion spread massively both in the Philippines and later in America. We have all known brothers and sisters who have distinguished themselves by their devotion to the holy Patriarch, meditating on his pains and joys and asking for his protection in dangers and needs.
Fervor filled Saint Ezekiel and thus preached in the cathedral of Pasto, on the day of his feast, March 19th, 1903, saying:
Let us also go to Saint Joseph for protection. Let us ask him this year to intercede with the Lord for the 56th General Chapter, which will begin, God willing, on March 1, 2022. Let us learn from him to put God's plans before our own. Let us walk together, doing what we have to do; let us look up to heaven and hear the cry of the innocent victims of the Herods of our time. Let us ask through the intercession of Saint Joseph for the grace of the Spirit to live with gratitude and open our hearts to a future of hope.
House of study, communion and solidarity
On March 19, God willing, the house dedicated to Saint Joseph will be blessed in Madrid, Spain. We would like this house to be like a “votive lamp” that expresses gratitude to the Saint for his protection, as well as an invocation asking him to inspire us in study, in communion and in charity with the poorest.
This religious house will depend on the prior general and will have a triple function:
− House of Research. It will be the headquarters of the Institute of Augustinology. The old library of the Institute has been moved there, and from this house the Avgvstinvs magazine will be managed. And the Avgvstinvs Editorial office will also be relocated there.
− House of communion. The community will be made up of religious from the various provinces. The house has spaces for meetings and gatherings of the Augustinian Recollect Family. The house belongs to all and for all. In addition, the communications office of the Order will also be there.
− House for solidarity. The ARCORES International technical office will be located, as well as the ARCORES Spainheadquarters. We hope that the various sections can now have adequate space for leadership, projects, meetings, volunteering and mission promotion.
May Saint Joseph inspire us with paths of fidelity and availability. Let us ask him to help us create fraternal communities and to be in solidarity with those who suffer and are in need. May the Lord, through his intercession, protect our entire Augustinian Recollect Family.