Saint Joseph, Educator
Catechesis by Pope Francis
on the Feast of Saint Joseph, in St Peter's Square
General Audience, Wednesday 19 March 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish
"Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, 19th March, we celebrate the solemn feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Patron of the universal Church. We are therefore dedicating this catechesis to him, who merits all our gratitude and devotion for the way he knew how to watch over the Holy Virgin and the Son Jesus. To be guardian is the characteristic of Joseph: it is his great mission, to be guardian.
Today I would like to take up the theme of guardian from a particular perspective: the educational perspective. We look to Joseph as the model of educators, who watches over and accompanies Jesus on his pathway of growth “in wisdom, age and grace”, as the Gospel says. He was not the father of Jesus: the father of Jesus was God, but he was made the papa of Jesus, he was made a father to Jesus so as to make him grow. And how did he make him grow? In wisdom, age and grace.
Let us start with age, which is the most natural dimension, physical and psychological growth. Joseph, together with Mary, took care of Jesus above all from this point of view, that is he “raised” him, ensuring that he didn't lack anything necessary for a healthy development. Let us not forget that the thoughtful guardianship of the life of the Child also resulted in the flight into Egypt, the harsh experience of living as refugees — Joseph was a refugee, with Mary and Jesus — so as to escape the threat of Herod. Then, once back in their homeland and settled in Nazareth, there was the whole long period in the life of Jesus with his family. In those years Joseph also taught Jesus his work, and Jesus learned to be a carpenter with his father Joseph. Joseph brought up Jesus in this way.
Let us move on to the second dimension of education, that of "wisdom”. Joseph was for Jesus the example and the teacher of this wisdom, which is nourished by the Word of God. We can think of how Joseph educated the little Jesus to listen to the Sacred Scriptures, above all by accompanying him on Saturdays to the Synagogue in Nazareth. And Joseph accompanied him so that Jesus would listen to the Word of God in the synagogue.
And lastly, the dimension of “grace”. St Luke always says referring to Jesus: “The grace of God was upon him” (Lk 2, 40). Here certainly the part reserved for St Joseph is more limited than in the areas of age and wisdom. But it would be a grave error to think that a father and mother cannot do anything to educate their children to grow in the grace of God. To grow in age, to grow in wisdom, to grow in grace: this is the work that Joseph did with Jesus, to make him grow in these three dimensions, to help him to grow.
Dear brothers and sisters, Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his guardianship of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is the model for every educator, in particular for every father. St Joseph is the model of the educator and the papa, the father. Thus I entrust to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society. In a special way, I would like to greet today, Fathers’ day, all parents, all papas: I greet you from the heart! Let’s see: are there any papas in the square? Raise your hands, papas! How many papas there are! Best wishes, best wishes on your day! I ask for you the grace always to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but close, close! They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. May you be like St Joseph for them: guardians of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians on their pathway; educators, and walk with them. And with this closeness, you will be true educators. Thank you for all that you do for your children: thank you. Best wishes to you, and a happy fathers’ day to all the papas who are here, to all papas. May St Joseph bless you and accompany you. And some of us have lost our papa, he has passed away, the Lord has called him; many in this piazza do not have their papa. We can pray for all the papas of the world, for papas living and also for those deceased and for our own, and we can do it together, each of us remembering our own papa, whether living or dead. And let us pray to the great Papa of us all, the Father. An Our Father for our papas: Our Father....
And best wishes to papas!"
(Papa Francis' catechesis, in Italian, begins at 20 mins, 20 secs)
"Chers pèlerins francophones, je vous salue tous avec joie, en particulier les jeunes venant de France et de Suisse. Je confie à la protection de saint Joseph les parents, les prêtres et tous ceux qui ont un rôle éducatif dans l’Église et dans la société. À tous je souhaite un bon séjour à Rome. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Ireland, Denmark, Indonesia and the United States. In a special way I greet the delegation from Sophia University in Japan, which this year marks the centenary of its founding. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of Jesus our Lord!
Ein herzliches Willkommen sage ich den Pilgern aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Der heilige Josef ist ein Vorbild für Erzieher, besonders für die Väter. Seiner Fürsprache vertrauen wir alle Eltern an, die Priester und alle, die in Kirche und Gesellschaft eine Aufgabe im Bereich der Erziehung wahrnehmen. Die Heilige Familie beschütze euch und alle eure Lieben.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, México, Ecuador, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a pedir al Señor, por intercesión de san José, por los papás, los educadores y los sacerdotes, para que, a ejemplo del Santo Patriarca, puedan acompañar el crecimiento de sus hijos y discípulos en sabiduría, estatura y gracia. Muchas gracias.
Dou as boas-vindas a todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nominalmente aos brasileiros da Diocese de Botucatu, e confio à proteção de São José todos os educadores, em particular os pais, para que, com o seu exemplo, ajudem os mais jovens a crescerem em sabedoria, estatura e graça. Que Deus vos abençoe.
Witam przybyłych na audiencję Polaków. Bracia i siostry, święty Józef, Patron Kościoła Powszechnego, którego uroczystość dzisiaj obchodzimy, to człowiek głębokiej wiary, rzemieślnik, odważny, mocny, pokorny. Jego troska o Jezusa powinna być przykładem dla każdego ojca, każdego wychowawcy. Jego wstawiennictwu powierzam was tu obecnych, wszystkich rodziców, kapłanów, nauczycieli i katechetów, którzy w Kościele i w społeczeństwie podejmują zadania wychowawcze. Nich Bóg błogosławi was i waszą posługę. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
أتوجه بتحية حارة إلى الأخوات والإخوة الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة القادمين من لبنان ومن الأراضي المقدسة:القديس يوسف هو مثال لكل مرب، ولكل مؤمن، لأنه عرف كيف يمر بخبرة ليل الشك، وبتجربة الغربة والاضطرار للهروب من الدار، دون أن يفقد أبدا ثقته في الله وفي محبته. فتعلموا منه أن الثقة في الله هي وحدها القادرة على أن تحوِّل الشك ليقين، والشر لخير، والليل الدامس لفجر منير. الرب يبارككم جميعا!
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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai fedeli di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere la delegazione della “fiaccola benedettina della pace” con l’Arcivescovo di Spoleto-Norcia, Mons. Renato Boccardo, l’Amministratore Apostolico di Montecassino Dom Augusto Ricci e l’Abate di Subiaco Dom Mauro Meacci: auspico che questa iniziativa possa favorire quella pace del cuore, che solo Cristo sa donare. Saluto inoltre i membri del Movimento dei focolari, riuniti in convegno interreligioso; il Decanato del Corpo Consolare di Milano e della Lombardia; i fedeli di Roma, Palermo, Perugia e Bergamo; il gruppo FIAT e l’International Inner Wheel; gli ufficiali e militari; l’Associazione Penelope; e i numerosi studenti. A tutti auguro che la visita alla Città Eterna costituisca un’occasione di riscoperta della fede e di crescita nella carità.
Un pensiero speciale rivolgo ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Oggi celebriamo la Solennità di San Giuseppe, Patrono della Chiesa Universale. Cari giovani, guardate a lui come esempio di vita umile e discreta; cari malati, specialmente gli ospiti del “Centro di accoglienza Aldo Moro”, accompagnati dal Vescovo di Gubbio Mons. Ceccobelli; i dializzati di Macerata e Tolentino e i ragazzi del Sogno di Giusy, imparate a portare la croce con l’atteggiamento del silenzio e dell’orazione del padre putativo di Gesù; e voi, cari sposi novelli, costruite la vostra famiglia sull’amore che legò Maria al suo sposo Giuseppe. Grazie."