The Year of St. Joseph will be celebrated at a worldwide virtual summit beginning Thursday in response to Pope Francis’ call in his 2020 apostolic letter Patris Corde (“With a father’s heart”) to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph.
“In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God,” Pope Francis said in his letter. A tender love that empowers us to accept our own weaknesses, frailty and fears. “Joseph teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses.”
Our Spiritual Father: Pilgrimage to the Heart of Saint Joseph will be held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. Deacon Steve Greco, president of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, will host the summit, and his ministry will partner with Cardinal Studios to broadcast the summit online. The summit features more than 50 speakers, including Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.
“This is a real grace Pope Francis has given us, and it is timely,” Archbishop Naumann told Our Sunday Visitor. “We have a crisis of fatherhood. For men looking for a model of manliness and fatherhood, Pope Francis told Catholics to ask St. Joseph to intervene in our lives.”
The Year of St. Joseph began on Dec. 8, 2020, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared the patron of the universal Church, and it will close this coming Dec. 8.
Attending the summit is free (visit saintjosephsummit.com to register), though attendees can pay for an upgraded pass that will give them on-demand access to the presentations, a copy of the “Consecration to Saint Joseph” by Father Donald Calloway in audiobook or e-book format, and access to other bonus content from the summit.
The Year of St. Joseph was Father Colloway’s idea, as was the summit. Calloway told Our Sunday Visitor that he “spent three years researching and writing the book on St. Joseph, and I came to the realization that never in the Church’s history had there been a Year of St. Joseph.”
He wrote a letter to Pope Francis to promote the idea. A fellow member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Father Dante Aguero, who lives in one of the order’s houses in Argentina, translated Father Calloway’s letter from English to Spanish. When Father Calloway wondered how to deliver the letter, Father Aguero said he knew Bishop Hector Zordan of Gualeguaychu, Argentina, who was shortly headed to Rome for a meeting with Pope Francis. Bishop Zordan agreed to deliver the letter.
The letter was hand-delivered by Bishop Zordan to Pope Francis on May 2, 2019. Father Calloway’s book was published in January 2020, and Pope Francis announced the Year of St. Joseph in December 2020. The confluence of all these events convinces Calloway that “this was all set up by heaven.”
“It’s going to be awesome,” Father Calloway told Our Sunday Visitor. “This summit will be the premier event of the Year of St. Joseph.”
Archbishop Naumann and Father Calloway join luminary speakers Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of Palm Beach, Florida, Bishop Kevin W. Vann of the Diocese of Orange, California, author Scott Hahn, and television host Chris Stefanick. Gretchen R. Crowe, OSV’s editorial director for periodicals, will also be presenting.
Bishop Barbarito credits St. Joseph with “creative courage” in following the instructions and reassurances of angels who visited his dreams to tell him to marry a pregnant Mary and to raise her son as his own, to become a migrant family after the birth of Jesus and to leave Israel.
“He was able to take those daunting circumstances and make it work,” Bishop Barbarito told Our Sunday Visitor, adding: “Joseph’s attitude and trust in God hopefully inspires prospective foster parents to follow his example. Our foster care system is stuck without having enough foster parents to adopt foster children.”
This weekend’s summit also will feature the debut of the “Song of Saint Joseph,” a new original song by Catholic musician Donna Lee.
“It’s not just a song, it’s a prayer,” Lee said in announcing the recording. “My hope for this song, not just being the theme song for the Saint Joseph Summit, is that when people hear it they will be inspired to learn more about Saint Joseph.”
Jim Wahlberg, who is consecrated to St. Joseph through Father Calloway’s book, will speak about the impact St. Joseph has had in his life. One of nine children, including actor brothers Donny and Mark Wahlberg, he overcame drug and alcohol abuse and two prison sentences with a mighty assist from St. Teresa of Calcutta when she visited the prison where he was serving a sentence. Wahlberg wrote about his story in “The Big Hustle: A Boston Street Kid’s Story of Addiction and Redemption” (OSV, $27.95).
Wahlberg told Our Sunday Visitor, “For me, not knowing you have such a strong ally in the stepfather of our savior who is close to his stepson and has an in with him, it puts you at a disadvantage.”
Joseph R. LaPlante writes from Rhode Island.