“Be Close to Your Children”: Pope Francis’ St. Joseph Day Message for Fathers

“Be close to your children,” Pope Francis said today to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.  “They need you.  Just as St. Joseph was close to Jesus in his physical, psychological and spiritual growth, you too must be guardians in age, wisdom and grace.”

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Every Wednesday, crowds gather in St. Peter’s Square at 11 a.m. to hear the Holy Father teach about matters of faith, and to receive his apostolic blessing.  Today, on the Feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis held up Jesus’ earthly father as a model for all fathers and educators.

He focused in his meditation on three aspects of St. Joseph’s life and mission:

  • as the “guardian of the Holy Family;
  • as teacher and educator of the young Jesus; and
  • as a guide who helped Jesus respond to the working of the Holy Spirit.

Vatican Radio has issued an English-language synopsis of the Pope’s catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary and Patron of the universal Church.

Saint Joseph is venerated as the “guardian” of the Holy Family, and in this role he serves as a model for all fathers and educators. Joseph watched over Jesus’ human development – his growth, as Saint Luke tells us, “in wisdom, age and grace” (2:52).

We think of how Joseph, as the carpenter of Nazareth, taught the young Jesus his trade and the value of work. Joseph also quietly imparted to Jesus that wisdom which consists above all in reverence for the Lord, prayer and fidelity to his word, and obedience to his will.

Joseph’s paternal example helped Jesus to grow, on a human level, in his understanding and appreciation of his unique relationship to his heavenly Father. With Our Lady, Joseph guided the young Jesus as he responded to the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart and in his life.

By his example and prayers, may Saint Joseph be a sure guide to all parents, priests and teachers charged with the education of our young.

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