Our theme for St. Joseph Day this year reflects on Joseph being the “earthly shadow of the Heavenly Father.” This is one of the virtues that Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (With a Father’s Heart) attributes to St. Joseph.
As I thought about this virtue, I began reflecting on the word shadow. According to the dictionary, the definition in the biblical sense is “a dominating and pervasive presence – God’s protective presence.” Pope Francis tells us, “Joseph never made himself the center of things; did not think of himself but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.”
By living out our mission and charism as Sisters of St. Joseph, Associates, and Agrégées, we reach out to the dear neighbor without distinction. However, the pandemic has challenged us to rethink how we can imitate the zeal of St. Joseph and continue to be present to the dear neighbor.
During the past year, we were able to adapt to the challenges that the pandemic presented. We continued to reach out and connect with others in many ways. We provided drive-thru Thanksgiving Day dinners, celebrated virtual Circle of Friends, accepted Summerpalooza donations via drive-thru drop-offs, donated gift cards, live-streamed the Associate Welcoming Ceremony, Memorial Prayer Service, and special liturgies and prayer services. We kept in touch with each other via virtual coffee breaks, attended meetings via zoom, made phone calls, and sent cards and emails.
As we look forward to the feast of St. Joseph, let us ask God for the graces to continue in our efforts to imitate the virtues and zeal of St. Joseph, our patron, and to continue to be a presence to the dear neighbor thus making the SSJ Mission Possible.