St. Joseph (Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde”) by Pope Francis

It was on December 8, 1870, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph as the patron of the Universal Church. To mark the 150th anniversary of this declaration, Pope Francis announced the Year of St. Joseph with the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart) on December 8, 2020. The Year began on December 8, 2020 and will conclude on December 8, 2021. Pope Francis established the year so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.” Pope Francis wrote Patris Corde to share his personal reflections on St. Joseph in the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic which shows “how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked” like St. Joseph.” Pope Francis writes, “Each of us can discover in St. Joseph – the man who goes noticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” Pope Francis wrote this Apostolic Letter also to highlight the role of St. Joseph as a father who served his family with charity and humility. Saying that “our world today needs fathers,” he presents St. Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, and a father in the shadows. “The aim of this Apostolic Letter,” Pope Francis says, “is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.” He says that “the proper mission of the saints is not only to obtain miracles and graces, but to intercede for us before God, like Abraham and Moses, and like Jesus, the one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) who is our ‘advocate’ with the Father (John 2:1) and who ‘always lives to make intercession for us’ (Hebrews 7:2- 5).”