Pope Francis explains why St. Joseph is patron of the Universal Church

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16/02/2022
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Pope Francis ended his series of catechesis on St. Joseph by reflecting on the role of Jesus' foster-father as “Patron of the Universal Church.”

The Pope explains that in the same way in which Joseph protects the Holy Family, “so too he continues to love and protect the Body of Christ, which is the Church, as well as the poor, the sick and the dying whom the Lord calls the least of his brothers and sisters.”

He says that during this time in which it is easy to criticize the Church, Christians must acknowledge that they are “a people of sinners graciously redeemed by God’s mercy,” and encouraged them to rely on the many saints throughout history, including St. Joseph, to “guide us in the path of life.”

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Our catechesis on Saint Joseph now concludes with a reflection on his role as “Patron of the Universal Church.” This title, bestowed on Saint Joseph 150 years ago by Blessed Pius IX, is based on the witness of Scripture.

In the Gospels, Joseph is consistently presented as the guardian of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. Just as Joseph protected the Holy Family, so too he continues to love and protect the Body of Christ, which is the Church, as well as the poor, the sick and the dying whom the Lord calls the least of his brothers and sisters.

Saint Joseph teaches us that we too must love and protect the Church and Christ’s poor. At a time when it is easy to criticize the Church, this means frankly acknowledging that we are a people of sinners graciously redeemed by God’s mercy, while at the same time bearing witness to the Risen Christ’s presence in our midst, the transformative power of his grace in the sacraments, and the holiness which is the unfailing gift of his Spirit.

Together with so many saints throughout history, let us commend ourselves and the needs of the Church to the protection of Saint Joseph, asking him, in the words of today’s prayer, to “guide us in the path of life… and defend us from every evil. Amen”

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from Nigeria and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!

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