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A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: June 22, 2019
By Agnes Tirrito
St. Edward Church, Texarkana
We recently celebrated Father’s Day, so it is a good opportunity to celebrate another father we sometimes do not hear a lot about: St. Joseph. As coincidence would have it, I started writing this column on May 1 as I prayed in the adoration chapel of my parish, St. Edward’s in Texarkana. Not until a bit later did I realize that I was writing about this Father of the Church on one of his actual feast days: St. Joseph the Worker.
I already knew that March 19 is the feast day for St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, because that date was also my maternal grandmother’s birthday. My mother always honored that day, her middle name was Josephine, and had I been the boy my mom was expecting, one of my names was to be Joseph. Many of us have saints we invoke throughout different seasons of our lives. Maybe you were taught, as I was, that St. Anthony is a good one to call upon to help find lost items, or perhaps you call upon St. Therese of the Child Jesus and wait for her shower of roses in answer to a prayer.
St. Joseph, according to ourcatholicprayers.com, is noted by St. Thomas Aquinas as “unique among patron saints in that he is able to assist us at any time for anything.” This reminds me a lot about many fathers in my life: men who step up to help when we ask. Perhaps as we each go about our daily lives this month of June, we will pay a little closer attention to the fathers, fathers-in-law, fathers to be, stepfathers, grandfathers and of course, the priests who always need our prayers. Since St. Joseph is the patron saint of the universal Church, he is the perfect one to assist us in our requests.
Perhaps as we each go about our daily lives this month of June, we will pay a little closer attention to the fathers, fathers-in-law, fathers to be, stepfathers, grandfathers and of course, the priests who always need our prayers.
I only knew my biological father one brief decade because he died from inoperable cancer when I was a child, but many men have influenced me — family friends, my late husband, other relatives. Happily, today, my own son is father to two little girls with one more on the way. While one’s father cannot be replaced, other men, like St. Joseph, are in our midst. When they accept the challenge presented to them in whatever manner, we are likely to see a modern-day version of St. Joseph at work.
No matter our circumstances, we have our heavenly Father, and the day-to-day human life of St. Joseph gives us a reminder of the value of the day-to-day ordinary aspect of life that is important, too. He worked, he was present with this family, he demonstrated with his care, attention and devotion to God that he was trying to do the right thing. That was the biggest thing, it turns out, because his “yes” to God set a path in motion that cannot be equaled in holiness: the birth of our Savior and Father of us all.
So, this June, search out a man in your life. Tell him he is appreciated. Tell him you value the work he does. Tell him you are praying for him. We do not need a special day in June to remember and celebrate fathers — let us honor them every day. St. Joseph would surely approve.