Year of St. Joseph, Dec. 8 2020–2021

A letter from Bishop Roger Foys

22 February 2021
Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

My dear Friends in Christ,

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever. Amen!

Our Holy Father Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021 on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

In his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, our Holy Father refers to Saint Joseph as A Beloved Father; A Tender and Loving Father; An Obedient Father; An Accepting Father; A Creatively Courageous Father; and A Working Father. He presents St. Joseph to us as an example of true fatherhood.

Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church. Venerable Pope Pius XII declared him Patron of Workers. Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed St. Joseph Guardian of the Redeemer. And St. Joseph has long been the Patron of A Happy Death.

Although we have no recorded words of St. Joseph in the scriptures, he stands out as a patron we can all invoke, a loving father and courageous guardian.

Here you will find suggestions about how we might celebrate this this Year of St. Joseph, in honor of the protector of the Holy Family — how we might honor this Saint who is invoked by so many.

Especially as we are in the throes of a pandemic, we invoke St. Joseph and ask him to watch over us, to protect, to intercede for us with his Son, Jesus. As St. Joseph guarded and protected our Blessed Mother and her Son we ask Saint Joseph to keep us safe, to be at our side and to walk with us during these trying and challenging times.

Be assured of my prayers. Please, pray for me.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.
Bishop of Covington

Year of St. Joseph

With his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of Pope Blessed Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St. Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ chose to enter the world through the human family, being born into the marriage and home of Joseph and Mary. The Bible pays Joseph the highest compliment: he was a “just” man (Matt. 1:19)—one completely open to the holiness of God in his life.

At a time when a global pandemic has forced millions to live hidden away, isolated and alone, St. Joseph  becomes, now more than ever, a model of the hidden life and patron of the “ordinary.”

The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day.

In this, they resemble St. Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” St. Joseph, patron of the hidden life, patron in this pandemic, pray for us, this year and forever.

Prayer to St. Joseph

O Glorious St. Joseph, with Jesus and Mary, you knew hunger, uncertainty, and illness, but you turned your chaste heart to God in your need and those of your family, and accepted the Father’s response as events unfolded.

Help us to recognize God’s will in our lives and to accept what He bestows in loving kindness.

May we imitate your example and be shielded with your protecting help, so that we may live a noble life, die a holy death, and secure everlasting happiness in Heaven.


Seven Sundays Devotion

An effective means of obtaining special graces through the intercession of St. Joseph is to honor his seven sorrows and seven joys by practicing the Seven Sundays devotion.

The Seven Sundays in honor of St. Joseph are observed by receiving Holy Communion in his honor on seven consecutive Sundays, and on each Sunday the prayers in honor of the Seven Sorrows and the Seven Joys of St. Joseph are recited.

This devotion may be practiced at any time of the year, but especially on the seven Sundays preceding his solemnity on March 19th.

The Sorrows of St. Joseph

  1. His doubts (Matt. 1:19)
  2. The poverty of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7)
  3. The circumcision (Luke 2:21)
  4. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34)
  5. The flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:14)
  6. The return from Egypt (Matt. 2:22)
  7. The loss of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:45)

The Joys of St. Joseph

  1. The message of the Angel (Matt. 1:20)
  2. The birth of the Savior (Luke 2:10-11)
  3. The Holy Name of Jesus (Matt. 1:25)
  4. The effects of the Redemption (Luke 2:38)
  5. The overthrow of the idols of Egypt (Is. 19:1)
  6. Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth (Luke 2:39)
  7. The finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46)

Devotions to St. Joseph

‘Patris Corde’ – ‘With a Father’s Heart’

Read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on St. Joseph. Read Patris Corde

Traveling Relic

A Second-Class relic of St. Joseph’s cloak will travel to all the parishes of the Diocese. Click here for the schedule.


The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued special indulgences to perpetuate the powerful patronage of St. Joseph, the Custodian of Jesus. Click to learn more

Pray a Novena or Chaplet

Mark a special nine days of prayer or offer special prayers to St. Joseph.
Click for Novena
Click to learn about the St. Joseph Chaplet

33 Day Consecration

Make a formal act of filial entrustment to St. Joseph asking that he take care of your spiritual well-being. Learn about the Consecration

Create a home altar to St. Joseph

Everyone has a designated place to eat, sleep, and work at home – why not have a special place to pray? Make a shelf, mantle, desk, or table a focal point for prayer with an image of St. Joseph. Surround it with candles, flowers, and holy reminders.

Make a St. Joseph Cord Bracelet

The wearing of a cord in honor of a saint dates to ancient times and symbolizes chastity and humility. A St. Joseph cord consists of seven knots in honor of the seven sorrows and the seven joys of St. Joseph. Click to learn more

Decorate a Tree for St. Joseph

Decorate a tree with handmade symbols of St. Joseph that can stay up all year: the carpenters square, the lily, the staff, the hammer, the saw, and the palm tree.
Click to learn about the symbols and iconography of St. Joseph

St. Joseph Table

Popular in Europe, a table replete with breads and sweets is built in honor of his March 19 feast day. Learn about the St. Joseph Table

Have Dinner as a Family

Disconnect from phones, social media, and the news for some time together as a family.

Pray Together

Whether it’s before and after meals, or 5 minutes before bed, begin to pray as a family.


Reconcile yourself with God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also make a personal effort to heal a broken relationship or friendship.

“The Chaste Heart of Joseph”

The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph – Giovanni Gasparro

Image of the Year of St. Joseph for the Diocese of Covington 

Giovanni Gasparro was born in Bari, Italy, in 1983. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 2007 and had his first solo exhibition in Paris in 2009. With a diverse portfolio, Gasparro’s work primarily focuses on sacred art. In 2011, the Archdiocese of L’Aquila commissioned him to create 19 altarpieces paintings for the Basilica of San Giuseppe Artigiano that was damaged by an earthquake in 2009. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Gasparro won the Bioethics Art Competition of UNESCO’s Bioethics and Human Rights Chair in 2013 with Casti connubii, a painting inspired by Pope Pius XI’s (1930) encyclical. Gasparro has exhibited at the prestigious Venice Biennale, and at numerous museums throughout Italy and Europe.

In 2013 Gasparro created the work entitled The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph. Featuring a youthful St. Joseph, Gasparro draws on the traditional iconography of St. Joseph while offering a contemporary depiction that is accessible to the faithful of today. The strength of St. Joseph’s character extended to all aspects of his life and person—including his heart. With his whole being illumined by God, Gasparro depicts his heart on fire with the love of God. A flowering lily staff points to his purity of heart. Together the heart and staff remind the viewer that purity of heart lies within reach, thanks to the grace of God and the intercession of Joseph-most-chaste!

St. Joseph: patron of a Happy Death

By Father Jordan Hainsey: One of St. Joseph’s traditional titles is patron of a Happy Death. Now that may immediately sound sharp to the mind or heart, leading us to ask: “Just what is so happy about death?” “My mother just died of a stroke.” “My brother was in a terrible accident.” “I lost a […]

St. Joseph: images, signs and symbols

Father Jordan Hainsey, Messenger contributor. Christianity has used symbols from its very beginnings. Think of the fish (ichthys) made by two intersecting arcs. It stood for Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Aside from the theological overtones of the Eucharist and the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, it was […]

Q&A: Indulgences in the Year of St. Joseph

Father Jordan Hainsey, Messenger Contributor. The “Year of St. Joseph” was proclaimed by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2020 and extends to December 8, 2021. It honors the 150th anniversary of Pope Blessed Pius IX’s proclamation of St. Joseph as the “Patron of the Universal Church” (“Quemadmodum Deus”). Special plenary indulgences have been granted “to perpetuate the […]