With joy and gratitude, the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province’s Canadian Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi commemorate the Year of St. Joseph (2020 – December 8 – 2021) proclaimed by Pope Francis. After all, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Canada and, what’s more, that choice was first made by Franciscans. The Recollects (les Récollets), a French reform of the Friars Minor, were best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world, most notably in early Canada. It was these Franciscans who chose St. Joseph to be the patron saint of Canada in 1624 and their choice was officially confirmed by Pope Urban VIII in 1637. In line with this Franciscan note to the history and tradition of the Church in Canada, the Franciscans Conventual are pleased to celebrate this Year of St. Joseph.
Almost two hundred and fifty years after St. Joseph was chosen to be Canada’s patron saint, in 1870, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph to be the patron saint of the universal Church. Now, to mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of St. Joseph being proclaimed the universal Church’s patron, Pope Francis has issued an apostolic letter, Patris corde (“the heart of a father”) by which he has declared this year to be the Year of St. Joseph. In his letter, the pope notes that, after Mary, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse. His Holiness extols St. Joseph, “the shadow of the heavenly Father,” who is always in the background, protecting and watching over Jesus. During these tumultuous times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the pontiff also draws a comparison, reminding us of those front-line, essential workers, worldwide, who appear hidden or in the shadows but who are playing an indispensable role in protecting and caring for all of us. Certainly, all the faithful join Pope Francis in saying, “A word of recognition and gratitude is due to them all.” The Holy Father also underscores how St. Joseph and all the saints help the Christian faithful to strive for the holiness and the perfection of their particular state of life (Lumen gentium, 42). In this regard, Pope Francis undoubtedly recommends us Franciscans and all religious vocations to the prayers of St. Joseph.
To celebrate the Year of St. Joseph, the friars of the Canadian Delegation are planning a pilgrimage to the Oratory and Shrine of St. Joseph in Montréal. The Oratory, founded in 1904 by St. André Bessette, is fittingly the largest church in Canada. The protocols surrounding the pandemic permitting, the friars hope to come together on November 29th for a tour of the shrine together with a Eucharistic celebration. At the Mass, we will renew our Franciscan vows before St. Joseph, the patron of Canada and the universal Church, and recommend our vocations to his prayers as our protector and sure guide in the footsteps of Our Seraphic Father St. Francis.
March 19, 2021 Very Reverend Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.
Solemnity of St. Joseph Delegate
Note: Our Canadian Delegation is currently home to 14 friars, serving in 10 ministries, including one Solemnly Professed friar in continued studies, one Simply Professed friar serving his Apostolic Year of Formation, two friars from India and one from the Philippines. Our Delegation also has one Simply Professed friar in Post Novitiate studies at The Catholic University of America. Friar Jobe is not only the Provincial Delegate of our Canadian Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi, he also serves as our Province M.I. Assistant, the Guardian of the St. André Bessette Friary (Ottawa, ON), and the Delegation Vocation Director. If you live in Canada, and are a single, Catholic male, 18-40 years old, in good health, with a desire to learn, serve, sacrifice, and share a common life, consider adding a visit with our friars to your discernment journey: firstname.lastname@example.org – 613-558-1962