Celebrating Saint Joseph

Patris Corde Guided Video Reflections

Suggestions for Use – Individual Reflection or Group facilitation

In the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis identifies the extraordinary attributes of St. Joseph as a “beloved, tender and loving, obedient, accepting, creatively-courageous, working father hidden in the shadows.” (cf. No 1-7). We have prepared a series of guided reflections on each of the seven attributes.  They may be used by individuals who wish to focus on only one or two of the attributes from home or in groups gathered in person or online.

The Process

  1. Click on the attribute title below, e.g. A Beloved Father.
  2. Take a moment to pray the opening prayer.
  3. Read the introduction about the speaker and the particular attribute.
  4. Click the link to view the 5 minute video reflection.
  5. Take some time to consider the questions that follow the video.
  6. Individuals may use this as an opportunity for journaling or reflecting quietly on what they have heard.
  7. Groups may include a personal reflection time and then open it up to discuss the attribute(s).
  8. Bring the reflection to a close with this prayer:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Prayer: © Libreria Editrice Vaticana


A Beloved Father

Opening Prayer
Beloved St. Joseph, you inspire us to be people of faith. You devoted your life to the care and nurture of the child Jesus and Mary, His Mother.  You gave yourself wholly in service to the will of the Father. With Mary, you promoted our salvation that reaches its fulfillment through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Guide us, beloved St. Joseph, that we may do the will of the Father freely and without reservation just as you did.
We make our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen

Video Reflection
In this video, Fr. Michael DeLaney, CCS, Rector of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal QC reflects on St. Joseph as a beloved father.  He considers questions such as:
– Who is Joseph?
– What is his role for the universal Church/or/life of Jesus?
– How do we know he is beloved?

 For further reflection:
– How did you first learn about St. Joseph? Who taught you?
– Why is St. Joseph beloved? How does his life inspire us to reach out to and care for the poor and oppressed?
– St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of Canada.  How can he help us to be a more just and compassionate nation?

A Tender and Loving Father

Opening Prayer
St. Joseph, with a father’s heart, you taught Jesus about mercy and tenderness.  When faced with doubt, you trusted in the Father’s love for you.
Help us to confront our fears with tenderness so that we may respond to life’s challenges in mature and loving ways. Give us the wisdom to show tender mercy to others’ frailty and weakness.
In Jesus’ name, we pray!

Video Reflection
In this video clip, Most Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, CSMA, Auxiliary Bishop of London, reflects on. St. Joseph as a tender and loving father.  He considers questions such as:
– How does St. Joseph show the tender love of God?
– What are the ways in which we encounter God’s mercy and tenderness?
– How does St. Joseph model for us how we are to be merciful and tender to those in our care?

For further reflection:
– How does St. Joseph help us to know the tender and merciful love of God?
– Are you able to touch your frailty with tenderness?
– How does seeing others through the eyes of Christ help you to be a more tender and merciful person?

An Obedient Father

Opening Prayer
Dear St. Joseph, by your obedience to the will of the Father, you have shown us how we must respond when called.  You taught Jesus to be obedient to the Father which gave him the freedom to sacrifice His life for us.
Guide us in our decision making that we may faithfully respond to the will of God the Father.
In Jesus’ name, we pray!

Video Reflection
In this video clip, The Most Rev. Bryan BAYDA, C.Ss.R., Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, reflects on St. Joseph as an obedient father.  He considers questions such as:
– How did St. Joseph show his openness to the will of God?
– How is St. Joseph a model of obedience?
– How is St. Joseph, by his fatherhood of Jesus, a minister of salvation?

For further reflection:
– When we think about St. Joseph’s four dreams and how he responded to them, what do we learn about St. Joseph’s faith in God and his character?
– Bishop Bayda speaks of stages that we go through to come to obedience to God. What are those stages?  Do they resonate with your own experience of how you arrive at obedience to God’s will?
– How did Jesus learn obedience?

An Accepting Father

Opening Prayer
St. Joseph, although the conception of Jesus was a mystery to you, your acceptance of Mary upheld her dignity and ensured her protection as she bore her son, Jesus. By your acceptance of God’s will, you showed us that we, too, must work so that all women and children experience justice.
Intercede for us, St. Joseph, that we may act justly for the common good.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen

Video Reflection
In this video clip, Mr. Corey Jolly, Lay Evangelist, Diocese of Montreal, reflects on St. Joseph as an accepting father.  He considers questions such as:
– What does St. Joseph’s choice to accept and protect Mary tell us about his character?
– How does the spiritual path that St. Joseph traces help us to accept imperfect situations courageously?
– How does St. Joseph trust that all things work together for good?

For further reflection:
– Many of us know that God has a plan for us, but are we willing, like St. Joseph, to accept whatever God has in store for us? How is this true in your own life?
– What can St. Joseph teach us this year about ensuring justice for women and children?
– How is St. Joseph a model of holy acceptance for you?  What does holy acceptance mean in your life?

A Creatively Courageous Father

Opening Prayer
St. Joseph, the flight into Egypt with Mary and Jesus demanded courage and creativity.  As refugees, faced with many hardships, you found ways to keep your family safe from harm. You are the guardian of the Church.
Help us protect and care for Jesus and Mary in our own time by creatively and courageously giving witness to the truth, beauty and goodness.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen

Video Reflection
In this video clip, Sister Sheila Fortune, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, reflects on St. Joseph as a creatively courageous father.
She considers questions such as:
– How does God trust St. Joseph to carry out his saving plan?
– Sometimes, we are faced with challenges and are tempted to give up or take the easy way out. How does God call us to be courageous in concrete and creative ways?
– Joseph loved and protected the child and his mother. How do you learn from St. Joseph the same care and responsibility?

For further reflection:
– When we are feeling comfortable and secure with the way our lives are unfolding, sometimes God intervenes. Can you describe an experience from your own life when God intervened and perhaps disturbed your status quo?
– Will we like St. Joseph to respond courageously to what God is asking of us?
– Can we, like Mary and Joseph, find creative solutions to the challenges that we meet?

A Working Father

Opening Prayer
St. Joseph, as a carpenter, you provided for your family so that they would be fed and sheltered. Sharing your skills with Jesus taught him that work provides sustenance in the family, gives one dignity, and contributes to the common good.
Guide us always so that our work may be pleasing to God.  Help us to instill in our children the value of work.  Inspire in us a willingness to share our gifts and talents to give witnesses to the importance of dignified work for humanity as a manifestation of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
In Jesus’ name, we pray!

Video Reflection
In this video clip, Mr. David Dayler, Diocese of Hamilton, reflects on St. Joseph as a working father.  He considers questions such as:
– How does St. Joseph exemplify dignified work?
– How is work a stabilizing factor for all people, and particularly for families?
– How has the Covid-19 Pandemic called us to review our priorities and ensure that there is work for all?

For further reflection:
– How is St. Joseph the Worker a model for you?
– What can you do to help those who have no work to become gainfully employed?
– How is your work God’s work?

A Father in The Shadows

Opening Prayer
With a father’s heart, you showed your love for Jesus by helping him to grow in wisdom.  With a chaste heart, you did not seek to possess or hold him back.  You are a model for parents who desire to help their children grow and acquire what they need to live healthy and fruitful lives.
St. Joseph, help us to become parents who love our children freely.  Intercede for us so that we may know the Father’s love freely offered and given to us.
In Jesus’ name, we pray! Amen

Video Reflection
In this video clip, Dr. Anne Jamieson, Executive Director, Institute for Catholic Education, reflects on St. Joseph as a father hidden in the shadows.  She considers questions such as
– What qualities of love do we see in Joseph’s approach to fatherhood?
– How does St. Joseph’s as a person in the shadows inspire us in our lives, work, relationships?

For further reflection:
Pope Francis speaks about how we have learned how interconnected and interdependent we all are during the pandemic. He suggests how we are learning how important those who have worked and walked in the shadows are. Anne lists some of those people.
– Who would you add to the list?
– How might the pandemic help us to reflect on our interconnectedness with those in other countries?