March 6, 2021
P: St. Francis of Assisi
M: Make me an instrument of your peace.
I: For peace throughout the world, especially in the Middle East
On the feast of St. Patrick that will soon be here on March 17 people will gather for prayer, mass, special novenas to honor this great apostle to the Irish people.
However, it was not St. Patrick who brought the faith first to Ireland. It was here already before him; however, we celebrate Patrick in a special way because of his outstanding efforts and achievement in converting much of the north and west of Ireland.
During these past 12 months under the pandemic, I am blessed in many ways to have all this time for interior conversion of a more deeply and profound way to celebrate faith, hope and love, to take the time to pray about the things in life that really count. When I think of St. Patrick who was held a prisoner for some time, much like us, he made that time a way to become close to the Father who loved him so much and how much the Father loves us as well.
St. Patrick is a profound model of patience, endurance, and hope. We must continue our own personal journeys of faith to do the same.
Soon after the celebration of St. Patrick, we take time on the 19th of the month to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus, who loved Jesus and cared for him and was his instructor on the trade of carpentry.
Pope Francis has declared this year the year of St. Joseph, we do not have much to go by about his personal life, so long ago, but we do know that he heard the voice of God to take Mary as his wife and to care for the child Jesus. What a wonderful blessing to have had, to care for the Son of God.
St. Joseph for all of us is that model of protection and care for children, especially those who are lost, harmed, and forgotten.
In my early life as a religious, I was a Benedictine at the Abbey of St. Procopius located in Lisle, IL, the high school I ministered Benet Academy was an orphanage under the protection of St. Joseph. After the Joliet Diocese was formed in 1948, St. Joseph's orphanage was closed and the children were moved to St. Hedwig in Chicago, Angel Guardian in Chicago, and Guardian Angel in Joliet, IL. I remember a sweet lesson of faith for the children when they would ask the monks and sisters “who was my mother or who was my father?’’ They would simply tell the little children it was Mary and Joseph. What a blessing St. Joseph has become for many.
As we celebrate these two fine saints in the Church, let us remember to give thanks for St. Patrick, who was converted to the faith and shared that faith with others. And St. Joseph was a great protector of Jesus and Mary.
Peace and all good,
Brother Ed Arambasich, OFM