FALL RIVER — Continuing the observance of the Year of St. Joseph in the Fall River Diocese, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. will celebrate a special Mass on Saturday, May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. During the Mass, the bishop he will lead the diocesan faithful, both those attending in-person and those participating virtually, in the Consecration prayer to St. Joseph.

The Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph’s Chapel in Woods Hole, the oldest Catholic church on Cape Cod and the first dedicated to St. Joseph. (Please note the change in location from earlier announcements on the Mass.)

Those wishing to attend the Mass in-person must pre-register here. A livestream of the Mass will be available on the diocesan Facebook page.

In an online message posted earlier this year, Bishop da Cunha invites the diocesan faithful to take part in the Year of St. Joseph, saying, “Now more than ever we need his [St. Joseph’s] prayers and intercession and his example and model for us, individually and for our families.”

Father Joseph Calloway of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is author of the book, “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father.”

He explains in the book that consecration to St. Joseph means “that you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely to his paternal care so that he can lovingly help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God. St. Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him his loving attention, protection and guidance.”

David Carvalho, senior director for Faith Formation, Youth, Young Adult, and Family Life Ministries in the diocese, is coordinating its Year of St. Joseph observance.  Noting that “churches and families have experienced many challenges during the pandemic,” he said, “Now is a perfect time to turn to the patron of the Church and protector of families  ̶ St. Joseph ̶   and ask that God grant us his heavenly intercession.”

Pope Francis announced the Church’s December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021 observance of the Year of St. Joseph in an apostolic letter titled, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart). In it he shares some personal reflections “on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own experience.”

He continues, “My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how [quoting from his March 2020 Meditation in the Time of Pandemic] ‘our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone…’”

Pope Francis concludes that section with the reminder, “Each of us can discover in Joseph -the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of Salvation.”

For this year’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Carvalho is suggesting a timely prayer intention.

“St Joseph modeled for us not only the dignity of work but also how it can become a form of daily prayer to God,” he said. “Let’s use May 1 to pray, through St Joseph’s intercession, for all those struggling to find employment, especially as a result of the pandemic.”

Additional events are planned for the Year of St. Joseph in the Fall River Diocese. For information, please visit the diocesan Faith Formation website here.

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