St. Joseph: A Real Man

St. Joseph: A Real Man January 29, 2022

When over a fourth of children in the United States are growing up in fatherless homes, there is a need for St. Joseph as a model for men as men and fathers.

This fatherlessness is a serious crisis because, according to the National Center for Fathering (using data from reliable government and education sources):

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. So are

90% of all homeless and runaway children,

85% of all children who show behavior disorders,

80% of rapists with anger problems,

71% of all high school dropouts, and.

75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers.

On the other hand, children with fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school, and more likely to get A’s in school, enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.

The Example of St. Joseph

The Holy Family

Image from

Without doubt, it is extremely important for children to have resident fathers. So, how do we keep fathers at home with their children in this dysfunctional culture? We encourage men to follow the example of St. Joseph.

Consider what Joseph went through after becoming betrothed to Mary. He thought he was involved in a scandal when she became pregnant. His faith was strong enough, though, to believe the angel who told him that Mary was carrying the son of God.

Mary’s courage is rightly lauded for accepting the role of Christ’s mother. What about St. Joseph for accepting the role of foster father? He had to know that nothing would be easy about this tremendous responsibility.

Yet he persevered through great danger—a threat against the baby’s life from King Herod, lengthy travel and exile in Egypt, then another long journey back to Nazareth. Through it all, he served as the ever-vigilant protector of Mary and Jesus.

In short, Joseph stuck it out through the hard times and kept his commitment to Mary, to Jesus, to God. What a shining example of a courageous man and father! Most amazing—he wasn’t divine like Jesus nor conceived without sin like Mary.

Only Human

Joseph was just a guy. A human who probably never said, “I’m only human” or “I’m no saint” as excuses. As a result, he proved to be an extraordinary human who became a saint and, by decree of Pope Pius IX in 1870, patron of the Universal Church.

The staircase believe to have been built by St. Joseph at Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, NM.

It is this human aspect that enables people to really connect with and develop a relationship with St. Joseph, says Fr. Donald Calloway who initiated a Catholic program of consecration to St. Joseph several years ago.

Calloway figured that if there was a Marian consecration there ought to be one to St. Joseph as well. The response has been phenomenal, perhaps because “the world is desperately looking for examples of manhood, fatherhood, and loving families.”

St. Joseph is also the patron of virgins, Calloway said, because he never had marital relations with Mary. “We live in a world that’s just filled with lust and perversions of every kind, and we’ve got this pornographic plague right now. . . that’s something that we can look to him for as well.”

Concrete and Spiritual

In a recent interview for Vatican News, Pope Francis said, “If Mary is the one who gave birth to the Word-made-flesh, then Joseph is the one who defended Him, who protected Him, who nourished Him, who made Him grow.”

“We could say that in him, there is the man of the difficult times, the concrete man, the man who knows how to take on responsibilities . . . a man who faces problems with great practicality, who never assumes the position of being a victim when faced with difficulties and obstacles.”

That’s why 2021 was the year of St. Joseph. Pope Francis knew that he is the man for difficult times like a pandemic.

It is not just Joseph’s practical strengths, but his spirituality as well that makes him remarkable Pope Francis noted. For example, his ability to “listen to God speaking to his heart” through his dreams.

“Only someone who prays, who has an intense spiritual life, can have the capacity to know how to distinguish God’s voice in the midst of many other voices that dwell in us.”

It is often said that men are currently confused about what it means to be a real man. Yet all anyone has to do is look to St. Joseph to see a perfect example.

There was a man who accepted tons of responsibility, even when he could have legitimately walked away from them, because it was the right thing to do. He braved dangers, worked hard, respected his wife, protected his family, obeyed his God and lived by faith.

St. Joseph—there was a real man!

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