Summit examines how Saint Joseph can play a bigger role for Catholics

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One of the first things we learn about Saint Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus Christ, is that there is very little information about the man himself.

He is mentioned briefly in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and some Bible historians believe he was a little older than the Virgin Mary and would have died before Jesus began his public ministry. And that’s about it.

For New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, one of the participants in the St. Joseph’s Online Summit, which took place from September 30 to October 3, “he is a calm, efficient, humble man and he doesn’t want a lot of attention. “

Scott Hahn, professor of biblical theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, calls Joseph “a father in the shadows.”

Even Father Marian Donald Calloway, whose book “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father” sparked the summit, admitted that for many, Joseph “is in the corner of these Christmas cards.”

But he sees Joseph as a strong model of humility and service and the best example “of what it means to be a father, to be a man.”

Today he is presented as an example of sacrificial fatherhood and purity and as an intercessor to heal and combat the evils of the world.

The summit – organized as part of the celebration of the Year of Saint Joseph declared by Pope Francis which ends on December 8 – drew between 30,000 and 40,000 participants in the United States and in a dozen others. country. The summit had 64 speakers and 72 hours of content.

It included live prayer events over the weekend of Oct. 2-3 and drew around 7,000 households for these, organizers said.

Joseph was appointed patron of the universal church 150 years ago. Today he is presented as an example of sacrificial fatherhood and purity and as an intercessor to heal and combat the evils of the world.

Deacon Steve Greco, who serves at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Irvine, Calif., In the Diocese of Orange, is the founder of the summit.

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In an interview with Catholic News Service, he called Joseph a “powerful tool when we realize we are at war.”

Deacon Greco said he found “that there was a great lack of knowledge – people commenting that they knew next to nothing about Saint Joseph. The need in the church is so great to have a father. spiritual.”

“Saint Joseph is the terror of demons because he models for me and for you the effectiveness of genuine discipleship,” said Kathleen Beckman, a Catholic evangelist based in California.

Longtime radio and television host Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers saw Joseph as a shining example “because culture is kind of humiliating to men.” Fatherhood, he observed, “is not just biological. Our fatherhood comes from the very heart of God’s love.

Father Norbertine Claude Williams saw in Saint Joseph “a very, very good model and patron, as we become stronger in love, and also merciful”.

But the idea of ​​striving for purity, he conceded, “can be frightening. The idea that we might lose happiness in a particular way can be frightening.”

“We as men need to lead the family… especially in prayer,” said Ray Grijalba, who hosts “The Joy of Faith” on YouTube. “Our children will only become saints if they see us strive for holiness and love God.”

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly encouraged summit participants to “live like Saint Joseph”.

“I readily admit, it is not an easy task. But it is also true that there is no more task required,” he said. “The world in which we live is in desperate need of righteous and virtuous men and women, like Saint Joseph.

“It begins with prayer. It continues with obedience. And it takes courage, in all things, to do what God asks of us.”

St. Joseph did this, Kelly said. “He prayed. He obeyed. He embodied creative courage. The role of Saint Joseph in the history of salvation was central, but it is clear that his role is far from over. He speaks to our time. We have to listen. It models the virtues that our time demands. We should make them our own. “

Faced with the future and the difficulties that await it, let us ask for the intercession of Saint Joseph

He told summit attendees that “there is not a moment to lose. Not with the scale and scale of the challenges that lie ahead.”

“As we face the future and the difficulties that await us, let us ask for the intercession of Saint Joseph,” he said. “Let us imitate his example of prayer, obedience and bold and creative courage. And in doing so, let us become righteous and righteous men and women who do the will of God the best we can.

Deacon Greco, as founder and president of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, told CNS that his organization “is not exactly a household name, but God has chosen us to do it.”

He said that “the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph played a role in giving me courage” because his daughter suffered from cancer and he asked for their intercession.

But he believes that “the greatest healing is spiritual healing.”

“In today’s world, we need all the spiritual armor we can get,” including against demonic forces, he added.

With the success of this summit, Deacon Greco said he is considering another online event focused on the Holy Family. “The idea is that Jesus wants us to give our whole life to Him.”

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