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The Servant Leader

March 4, 2013

Weekly Winner

Congratulations Peg Bowen, our weekly winner for March 4

Peg will receive a copy of The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition, a $20.95 value.

The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition is the same understandable and down-to-earth guide to all things Catholic. This book is an eye-opener and a page-turner, whether you are brushing up on specific Catholic terms and concepts or learning them for the first time.

The Subcomittee on the Catechism, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has found this catechetical text, copyright 2013, to be in conformity with theCatechism of the Catholic Church.

Now Available! Online correlation to the U.S. Bishops' High School curriculum framework Click here!

The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition
ISBN:978-1-59982-160-3, paper, 574 pages

Focus on Faith

The Papal Election

Ever since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 11, 2013, the Catholic world has been preoccupied with the election of a new pope. Because Pope Emeritus Benedict has resigned rather than died, we are spared the sorrow of a papal funeral and the nine-day period of mourning which would follow. Yet, our prayerful concern for the election of a new successor to Saint Peter is entirely appropriate.

It is also entirely appropriate that this prayerful concern be shared with our young people. These remarks in "Focus on Faith" will give a short overview of the election which can be used as talking points to share with students as needed. In "Make It Happen" (below) will be found a short activity on the topic of the papal election, followed by a prayer service asking the intercession of the Holy Spirit for the cardinals who will be the papal electors.

A Short Outline of a Papal Election

Pope Benedict resigned as of 8 p.m. on February 28 (Rome time). His name should no longer be mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Until the next pope is elected, the Church is governed by the cardinals, who will come to Rome and will be meeting in committees to take care of urgent matters. All cardinals who can possibly do so are requested to come to Rome to help with Church governance and to gather in the conclave. (Attendance in Rome is optional for cardinals who are over 80 years of age, and they may not vote in the conclave.)

A conclave for the election of a pope usually begins on the 15th day after the death of a pope. The 15th day after Pope Emeritus Benedict’s resignation is March 15. (On February 25, Pope Benedict signed a motu proprio allowing for an earlier date for the conclave, as long as all voting cardinals are present.)

The cardinals in the conclave are forbidden to have any contact whatsoever with the outside world, to ensure that deliberations remain secret. If someone in Vatican City should happen to meet a cardinal, any conversation at all is strictly forbidden.

Within the conclave, lots are drawn to choose nine cardinals who will act as scrutineers (those who tabulate the ballots), infirmarii (those who take ballots to and from any cardinals within the conclave who may be ill), and revisers (who check the count and make sure the voting was done correctly). As ballots are counted, they are strung together with a thread.

Traditionally, the ballots are burned after each vote. White smoke indicates an election. If there is no election, wet straw is added to make black smoke. In 2005, the bells of Saint Peter’s were rung to announce the election of the new pope.

Pope Benedict XVI restored the rule that made a 2/3 majority vote mandatory for an election. (Pope John Paul II had eliminated this rule.)

As we unite in prayer during these days, may the Holy Spirit come down upon us, the entire Church, and especially upon the cardinal-electors as they discern the next successor of Saint Peter.

Blessings on your ministry!

Joy and peace,

Joanna

Resource Notes:

See the blog by Father John Zuhlsdorf, from which much of the above information was taken:

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013.

Also see the Web articles on the papal election compiled by Sister Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF, at http://acyberpilgrim.org. Some information in the above summary was taken from "Pope Benedict Has Resigned—What Happens Next" in an article from The Guardian, United Kingdom, listed, among many others, on this blog.

Also, don’t forget to go to the Saint Mary’s Press Web site, smp.org, to find links to papal election topics with very easy access. Just go to smp.org and click on the light blue "Resource Center" button at the top of the page. Look under Catholic News and Top Ten Articles. Also take a look at Classroom Activities!

Make It Happen

The Qualities of a Pope

Overview
In this session, the young people will be asked to gather in committees to consider what important qualities the next pope might have or should have. After pooling and narrowing down their ideas, they will be asked to participate in a short prayer service, asking the Holy Spirit to come down upon the Church and to inspire the cardinals in their choice.

Materials Needed

  • Index cards for organizing and prioritizing the various qualities.
  • A Bible is necessary for a volunteer to read. You may want to choose a volunteer ahead of time so that the reading can be practiced.
  • The names of the participants may be written on slips of paper and placed in a hat or box. (optional)
  • Copies of the Litany to the Holy Spirit. (optional)

Procedure
1. Explain to the group that, when the cardinals gather in the conclave, they first gather in small groups, usually based on language, to discuss their ideas and possible candidates for election. Ask the group to gather in small groups of four or five. (These groups may be chosen at random, by drawing names from a hat or box, or arranged in any convenient manner.)

2. Ask the groups to choose a recorder. Ask the groups to consider the top 10 or 12 qualities the next pope should have. The recorder should write each quality on a separate index card, and then arrange the qualities as the group considers them to be most important, important, or of lesser importance. The groups should choose one member to present this list to the large group.

3. As the first small group report is made, write the qualities on the board. As the next small groups report, place a check or slash mark next to the qualities already mentioned and add new ones. When all the groups have reported, make a final list of qualities and arrange them in descending order, from those considered most important to those considered of lesser importance. Or, put a star in front of or a box around each of the "top 10" considered most important. (This number may vary.)

4. Close this first part of the session by asking the group for silent attention. Summarize the most important qualities listed by filling in the blank spaces of the following prayer with top-ranked qualities. (Ten spaces are given. Ad lib for more or fewer as needed.)

Let us pray. Lord, send forth your Spirit upon the conclave electing our new pope. Give our new Holy Father, whoever he may be, the gifts of ______, _________, and __________. May he use the gifts of ___________, ___________, and ___________ in service to the Church and to the world. May the gifts of __________, __________, and _________ help him to truly be "the Servant of the Servants of God" in our time. May the gift of ________________ be evident in his leadership as he follows in the footsteps of Saint Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus built his Church. Amen.

(If your group meets daily, you may want to lead this prayer each day in preparation for and during the conclave until a pope is elected. You may want to add: "Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us." See "Saint Spotlight" in this newsletter.)

5. Ask the class to stand and ask a volunteer to read the following Gospel passage: Matthew 16:13–19.

6. Ask the group to be seated. Begin a reflection with these or similar words:

Our pope is a sign of unity and peace for the Church and even for the world. We have been graced in the past century with holy and capable popes. Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, and Pope Paul VI helped to implement many of its directives. Pope John Paul II cared especially for the youth of the world, and instituted World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI, through his pastoral visits and theological expertise, pointed the Church to a greater faith, hope, and love. Just as Peter was the Rock of the early Church, the pope is the Rock of the Church today. What are your thoughts about this very important election?

7. Open the reflection to a sharing of ideas. Close with these excerpts from a litany to the Holy Spirit. (The responses in italics may not be familiar to your group. It may be helpful to write them on the board or to make copies of this litany.)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Father all powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless life of both, sanctify us.
Holy Trinity, hear us.
Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.
Holy Spirit, who are equal to the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.

Promise of God the Father, have mercy on us.
Ray of heavenly light, have mercy on us.
Author of all good, have mercy on us.
Source of heavenly water, have mercy on us.
Consuming fire, have mercy on us.
Ardent charity, have mercy on us.
Spiritual anointing, have mercy on us.
Spirit of love and truth, have mercy on us.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, have mercy on us.
Spirit of counsel and fortitude, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the fear of the Lord, have mercy on us.
Spirit of grace and prayer, have mercy on us.
Spirit of peace and meekness, have mercy on us.
Spirit of modesty and innocence, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Comforter, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, who governs the Church, have mercy on us.
Gift of God, the Most High, have mercy on us.
Spirit who fills the universe, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, send us your Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, pour down into our hearts the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.

Let us pray:
Loving Father and Jesus the Christ,
Send your Holy Spirit to enlighten the minds and hearts of the cardinals gathered (or, who will gather) in conclave to elect the next leader of your Church. Help them to cast their votes with integrity and courage, influenced only by their understanding of your will for us, your people.

We ask this in your name, Lord Jesus.

All: Amen.

(Adapted from a litany found at http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=337. )

Break Open the Word

Fourth Sunday and Fifth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 10, 2013
Luke 15:1-3,11-32

Opening Prayer
Jesus, in many different ways, you taught about God the Father's immense love. The parable of the father and his two sons helps us understand that when we approach God the Father with truly contrite hearts, we will experience his love and mercy. As we journey through Lent, we continue to take inventory of how well we are living the Christian life. Give us the Holy Spirit's gift of right judgment so we can be honest with ourselves as we examine our relationship with you and with others. Amen.

Context Connection
The story of the prodigal son in Luke's Gospel is familiar to most of us. But how many of us also think of the father as prodigal? Prodigal means "recklessly wasteful" or "extremely generous." The son is prodigal because he wastes his inheritance. The father is prodigal because he lavishes his love on both his sons.

Let's examine the younger son's actions. He asks for his inheritance while his father is still living, and surprisingly his father accommodates him. At the time of Jesus, fathers were discouraged from distributing their inheritances while they were alive (see Sirach 33:20-24). According to Jewish tradition, the younger son is severing his connection to his family by demanding his share of the inheritance before his father's death. With no regrets, the younger spends his money in a far-off Gentile place. When his money is gone, he looks for an employer so that he can earn a living to survive. The younger son, in desperation, takes a job feeding pigs.

According to Jewish tradition, pigs were unclean animals that should not be eaten (see Leviticus 11:1-47 and the nearby "Did You Know" article in The Catholic Youth Bible®). Luke tells us that the younger son has no food, yet he cannot eat the pigs he is tending. He also cannot eat the feed he gives the pigs because the bitter carob pods cause nausea in human beings. Destitute, he realizes that even the servants on his father's farm have something to eat. He is willing to accept the shame of returning to his father even though he has burned all his bridges with his family.

The younger son prepares this greeting for his father: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands" (15:18-19). With these words the younger son admits that he had publicly denounced his father, his family, and his community. Now humbled, he is willing to face the consequences of his earlier actions.

The story then takes an interesting turn: "While he [younger son] was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him" (15:20). Even though the younger son seeks only his father's forgiveness and treatment as a hired hand, his father restores the son to his previous dignity by bringing him a robe--"the best one" (15:22). In this way the father demonstrates to the community that he has welcomed his younger son back into the family. The father goes even further and puts a ring on his son's finger and sandals on his feet to show that the son is not a servant or slave but an honored family member. Then the father bestows the ultimate honor on his son--a community celebration in the son's honor. The fatted calf for the celebration easily could feed one hundred people.

The story's focus then turns to the oldest son and his relationship with his father. Instead of honoring his father by hosting the celebration with him, the oldest son stays away. His action insults and humiliates his father. When the father leaves the celebration to plead with him, the oldest son abruptly tells his father, "Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you" (15:29). The oldest son speaks of himself as a slave. Then, in a self-righteous tone, he says, "I have never disobeyed your command. . . . But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!" (15:29-30).

The oldest brother's words indicate he does not recognize the returning son as his brother. He also makes accusations without knowing the truth. The selfish side of the older son emerges when he says, "You have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends" (15:29). The oldest son prefers a celebration with a small, exclusive group over the large public celebration of his father's choosing. The father tells the oldest son that "you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found" (15:31-32). The father guarantees his love but also challenges the older son to recognize the dignity of his younger brother.

The story ends abruptly. We do not know what the oldest brother does. The question lingers for the Pharisees and the scribes who question Jesus about his relationship with sinners, and it lingers for us today. What will we do? Will we join the celebration or remain outside, rejecting the invitation of the Father to come in?

Tradition Connection
At Mass during the penitential rite, we sometimes pray together the Confiteor--a public confession before God and everyone present that we have sinned. We also ask for God's mercy so that our sins will be forgiven and we will live with God in everlasting life. This act of contrition expresses true remorse or heartfelt sorrow for the sin that we know exists in our lives. A true act of contrition means that we will not return to our former sinful ways but will commit to a life of holiness. We call this change "conversion."

"Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, 'sackcloth and ashes,' fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures, and works of penance"1 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1430). In Sunday's Gospel the younger son arrives at that moment of interior conversion while feeding the pigs and recognizes that he has turned away from the love of his father.

The younger son willingly returns to face the consequences of his earlier deeds and to trust in the mercy of his loving father. He is able to return because he has experienced the love of his father and trusts that his father will deal with him fairly and mercifully. John describes the love of God the Father in this way: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us . . ." (1 John 4:10). As believers, Catholics understand conversion, first of all, as the "work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: 'Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!'2 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him" (Catechism, paragraph 1432).

Saint Augustine, in the fifth century, wrote about God's wonderful act of restoring those with contrite hearts to their God-given dignity as sons or daughters in the Kingdom of God. He wrote from personal experience. "In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us"3 (Catechism, paragraph 981). "Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift"4 (Catechism, paragraph 983).

As a child I learned this prayer, which has helped me be mindful of my relationship with God. You might already pray it daily.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Wisdom Connection
The Psalm response "O, taste and see that the Lord is good" (34:8) is key to Luke's insight about God. The God we believe in loves recklessly, lavishly, and with abandon. Perhaps the Pharisees are uncomfortable with Jesus eating with sinners because Jesus is as hospitable to sinners and tax collectors as he is to the scribes and Pharisees. Earlier in Luke, Jesus says, "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance" (5:32). The younger son represents all those who have come to recognize and name their sin and who actively seek God's mercy and forgiveness. The older son represents those who are self-righteous, those who cannot be open to God's love because they have not recognized their sin.

This is a story of the greatness of God's ability to forgive and to love his Creation. The story is also about God's priorities: love, compassion, forgiveness, welcome, and restoration of personal dignity. Do we really believe in the depth and constancy of God's love? As human beings we need to be assured, now and then, of God's mercy, love, and continued presence for every person.

Acknowledgments
The scriptural quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition. Copyright © 1993 and 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

The quotations labeled Catechism are from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America. Copyright © 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission.

The Lord's Prayer is from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. Copyright © 1988 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Endnotes Cited in Quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
1. Cf. Joel 2:12-13; Isaiah 1:16-17; Matthew 6:1-6;16-18. 2. Lamentations 5:21.
3. Saint Augustine, Sermo 214, 11: J. P. Migne, editor, Patrologia Latina 38 (Paris: 1841-1855), 1071-1072.
4. Saint Augustine, Sermo 213, 8: J. P. Migne, editor, Patrologia Latina 38 (Paris: 1841-1855), 1064.


Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 17, 2013

John 8:1-11

Opening Prayer
Jesus, in the Gospel we see your compassionate heart, which reaches out and protects the woman from the crowd that wants to stone her. Give us the same compassionate heart so that we can refrain from judging others and see you present in them. Amen.

Context Connection
This story from John's Gospel gives us a keen insight into Jesus. Instead of condemning others, Jesus creates situations that encourage people to freely choose God over sin. This happens best when people experience forgiveness, both human and divine.

In the opening scene, the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman before Jesus and the crowd he is teaching. "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery" (8:4), they announce. Under Mosaic Law, if adultery is proven, both partners are to be killed (see Deuteronomy 22:22). The law also requires two witnesses to the fact, not including the husband. Those witnesses must have been with the Pharisees when they confronted Jesus. It is interesting that the woman is rather peripheral and does not speak. The scribes and Pharisees press Jesus by saying, "Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" (8:5). John then reveals the real motives of the scribes and Pharisees: "They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him" (8:6).

The Pharisees seem to be trying to set a trap for Jesus. If Jesus wants the woman released, the scribes, Pharisees, and those in the crowd who are undecided will see him as contradicting the Mosaic Law and will consider him an irreligious person. On the other hand, if Jesus agrees that the woman should be stoned, his teaching about God's mercy will be seen as hypocritical. And he might also be in trouble with Roman authority. About 30 AD the Romans had taken away from the Sanhedrin (the highest Jewish Council) the right to inflict capital punishment, making such punishment the exclusive right of the Romans. We know that this is true at the time of Jesus's Crucifixion.

But Jesus is too crafty to be caught in this trap. He stops the lynch mob by challenging its members to judge themselves, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (8:7). One by one the members of the mob leave, starting with the elders, and not a single stone is thrown. Even the two required witnesses, who by Mosaic tradition are required to throw the first two stones, do not throw even one stone.

After everyone has gone, Jesus says, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (8:10). The woman replies, "No one, sir" (8:11). Jesus then says, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again" (8:11). John makes this interaction between the woman and Jesus short but profound--not a word too few nor too many. The event is a turning point in the woman's life, and Jesus encourages her to live a different life so that she does not revisit this scene.

Tradition Connection
Baptism is the origin of the Christian's new life in Christ. Immersion in the baptismal water symbolizes the individual's death to sin and new life in the Holy Spirit. "Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit"1 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1262). Just as the woman was given the opportunity to change her life through Jesus's act of forgiveness, we experience that same compassion through the sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation.

"Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte 'a new creature,' an adopted son [and daughter] of God, who has become a 'partaker of the divine nature,'2 member of Christ and co-heir with him3 and a temple of the Holy Spirit"4 (Catechism, paragraph 1265). To help the individual completely embrace the Christian life, the Holy Spirit is active from the time of our Baptism, giving us sanctifying grace. That presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives enables us to believe in God, to love God, and to hope in God.

Grace helps us grow in goodness through the cardinal virtues, which are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. These "four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called 'cardinal'; all the others are grouped around them" (Catechism, paragraph 1805). Virtues help the Christian act with right reason.

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God5 (Catechism, paragraph 1803).

Prudence helps us discern what is truly good and what we must do to achieve that good. Justice helps us respect the rights and the dignity of others. Temperance, which is connected to the subvirtues of abstinence, chastity, and sobriety, helps us restrain our impulses and seek good things without harming ourselves or others. Fortitude, which is connected to the subvirtues of patience, perseverance, and generosity, gives us the strength to do what is good even when it isn't easy. Thus a Christian life calls for balance in all things so that in making choices the individual can choose the good.

It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ's gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil (Catechism, paragraph 1811).

Wisdom Connection
John shows Jesus refusing to be part of the frenzied crowd. Even though the crowd is already clutching stones and has already judged the woman, Jesus does not pass judgment on her. In fact, by redirecting the questions from the Pharisees, Jesus creates an opportunity for the people in the crowd to reflect on their own sinfulness. As they do so, they let the stones fall from their hands because they have come to face the truth that they are not without sin. And when he is alone with the woman, Jesus remains neutral and tells her, "Neither do I condemn you" (8:11).

The Gospel challenges us to ask this question: Are we like the judgmental crowd, or do we have the neutrality of Jesus? What virtues guide our lives? It is so easy to rush to hasty judgment about another person while ignoring our own sinfulness. Often we are less generous with our neighbors than Jesus was with the woman. Sometimes we are swayed by the opinion of others, and we participate in spreading half-truths that result in the character assassination of others. We seem to find ways to justify our actions. We hurl the stones that we clutch in our hands from a false sense of moral superiority. Unfortunately, once we release the stone and it hits our target, we cannot recall it if we later discover that the person was innocent.

Acknowledgments
The scriptural quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition. Copyright © 1993 and 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

The quotations labeled Catechism are from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America. Copyright © 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission.

The Lord's Prayer is from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. Copyright © 1988 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Endnotes Cited in Quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

1. Cf. Acts of the Apostles 2:38; John 3:5.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4; cf. Galatians 4:5-7.
3. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:27; Romans 8:17.
4. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19.
5. St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus, 1: J.P. Migne, editor, Patrologia Graeca (Paris: 1857-1866), 44, 1200D.

Saint Spotlight

Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, was named the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX at the end of the First Vatican Council.

In 1962, Joseph’s name was added to the first Eucharistic Prayer by Pope John XXIII. Just as any good father is concerned with the ideas and projects of his son, so Joseph is concerned with Jesus’ great project, the Kingdom of God, and its leaven and seed, the Church. During this time of transition, Saint Joseph can be a most helpful intercessor for us, the Church on Earth. His feast day as the Husband of Mary is on March 19. This short article from the Web site of American Catholic summarizes the role of Saint Joseph in salvation history:

http://www.americancatholic.org/e-News/FriarJack