2021: the Year of St Joseph

On 8 December last, on the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St Joseph as patron saint of the Universal Church, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, with the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde”, called for a special year dedicated to the Saint who “with a father’s heart” welcomed and loved Jesus, the Son of God made flesh by the Virgin Mary through the work of the Holy Spirit to be our Saviour. 
As the Pope recalls, “with a father’s heart”: this is how Joseph loved Jesus, called in all four Gospels “the son of Joseph”. The two Evangelists who highlighted his figure, Matthew and Luke, say little, but it is enough to allow us to understand what kind of a father he was and the mission that he had been entrusted with by Providence.

      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

The celebrations in the Holy Land

Since its first centuries, the Order of Friars Minor has been proud to have a long tradition of affection and devotion for the humble carpenter from Nazareth, starting from St Anthony of Padua for whom Joseph “illustrates the Christian who, put into the Church by the faith in Christ, has to grow from good to better and bring forth the fruits of eternal life” (Sermons, Holy Innocents 2) and St. Bernardino of Siena, who presents him as the one who “was chosen by the eternal Father as a faithful provider and guardian of his main treasures, his Son and his bride, and he fulfilled this task with the greatest assiduity” (Speech II on St Joseph).

The Liturgies in the Holy Places

Nazareth, 15-16-17 March 2021 – Triduum in preparation for the feast of St Joseph:
6 p.m. (local time) -  Mass in English (15 March), Spanish (16 March), Italian (17 March).

Nazareth, 18 March 2021 – Vigil of the Solemnity of St Joseph: 
5.30 p.m. (local time) – Solemn entrance of the Custos into the Basilica of the Annunciation 
6 p.m. (local time)- First Vespers of St Joseph in the Basilica of the Annunciation 
8.30 p.m. (local time) – Torchlight procession with the Rosary of St Joseph from the Grotto of the Annunciation  to the Crypt of the Holy Family
Download the liturgical booklet here.
Follow the live streaming on our Facebook page
Read the homily of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton.

Nazareth 19 March 2021 – Solemnity of St Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
7.15 a.m. (local time) – Mass in Arabic
10.30a.m. (local time) – Mass in Italian presided by  the guardian 
10.30a.m. (local time) – Solemn Mass in Latin, presided by Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land in the church of St Joseph with a procession to the Crypt.
12.00 noon (local time) -  Angelus in the Crypt of the church of St Joseph
3.00 p.m. (local time) – Mass in Spanish
4.00 p.m. (local time) –Mass in English
6.00 p.m. (local time) – Solemn Mass in Arabic, presided by Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land in the church of St Joseph with a procession to the Crypt.
Download the liturgical booklet here.
Follow the live streaming on our Facebook page.
Read the homily of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton.

Bethlehem, 1 May 2021 – St Joseph the Worker
11:00 a.m. (local time) - Bethlehem, Solemn Mass presided over by Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land at the Grotto of St Joseph in the Basilica of the Nativity
Download the liturgical booklet here.
Follow the live streaming on our Facebook page.

The Franciscan Friars during the celebration for the solemnity of St. Joseph, Nazareth 2020
The Franciscan Friars during the celebration for the solemnity of St. Joseph, Nazareth 2020

The message from the Custos of the Holy Land

“As Friars Minor, we entrust ourselves to the intercession and we are inspired by the example of this Saint, a singular model of minority, who was able to combine the spirituality of silence with that of hard work, as Pope Francis reminded us [...]. We can also learn from this great Saint what  experiencing authentic spiritual fatherhood means. He can arouse love because he is capable of expressing the humility of service, he knows the tone of firmness but also that of tenderness, he is able to educate to obedience because he practises it with confidence, he is able to live in the dimension of welcome by fulfilling the justice of God, he can show creative courage when the circumstances require it, he knows the grace and the discipline of work, and he knows how to work hard in the shadows and in concealment instead of seeking the footlights.”

Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land
Letter to the Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land
Jerusalem, 11 March 2021

The Shrines in the Holy Land dedicated to St Joseph

Among the many shrines that the Custody of the Holy Land has the grace of protecting, there are also some that are dedicated to St Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Nazareth

In Nazareth the friars of the Custody are the guardians not only of the Grotto of the Annunciation but also of St Joseph’s House, that “ holy and sweet dwelling/ where Joseph teaches / the Son of the Almighty /the humble art of carpentry” (Hymn in the breviary).

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Bethlehem

Many places in Bethlehem recall the silent but precious presence of Joseph alongside Mary in the mystery of the incarnation: from the Grotto of the Nativity to St Joseph’s Grotto, from St Joseph’s “house” to the Milk Grotto.

Discover more

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Prayer to Saint Joseph
Pope Francis, "Patris Corde"

Pontifical Documents on St Joseph