Saturday, March 5, 2011

MARCH: Devotion to Saint Joseph

St. Joseph plays a prominent part in popular devotion: in numerous popular traditions; the custom of reserving Wednesdays for devotion to St. Joseph — popular at least since the end of the seventeenth century — has generated several pious exercises including that of the Seven Wednesdays; in the pious aspirations made by the faithful; in prayers such as that of Pope Leo XIII, Ad te, Beate Ioseph, which is daily recited by the faithful; in the Litany of St. Joseph, approved by St. Pope Pius X; and in the recitation of the Chaplet of St. Joseph, recollecting the Seven agonies and seven joys of St. Joseph.

That the solemnity of St. Joseph falls in Lent, when the Church concentrates her attention on preparation for Baptism and the memorial of the Lord's Passion, inevitably gives rise to an attempt to harmonize the Liturgy and popular piety. Hence, the traditional practices of a "month of St. Joseph" should be synchronized with the liturgical Year. Indeed, the liturgical renewal movement attempted to instill among the faithful a realization of the importance of the meaning of Lent. Where the necessary adaptations can be made to the various expressions of popular piety, devotion to St. Joseph should naturally be encouraged among the faithful who should be constantly reminded of the "singular example [...] which, surpassing all states of life, should be recommended to the entire Christian community, whatever their condition or rank."

Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

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