Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saint Joseph: A Model of Obedience in our Priesthood

By: Rev. Fr. Hernandez P. Mendoza

Vocations Director



When I was in the seminary, a priest told us that in times of personal difficulties and problems even that of financial scarceness, we need to pray through the intercessions of the wonder worker and providing foster father of the Lord – St. Joseph. Indeed, I proved it, that faith in God through the intercessions of the saints; in this case, Joseph is efficient. I had problems regarding the date of my ordination and with patience; I called the assistance of St. Joseph. Through the mercy of God, I was finally ordained to the diaconate coincidentally in the feast of St. Joseph and everything went smooth and well including all the expenses. This is truly an experience of awe in the goodness of God through the intercession of St. Joseph.



We know only little about the life of St. Joseph. We heard about him what is written in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is in the Genealogy of both accounts that we know that he descended from the line of David. Although, he was from the line of royalty because of the mentioning of the name of David and lineage of Solomon, it was still suggested that he was poor like for instance, the offering of the turtle doves at the temple. He was from Bethlehem of Judea where his family said to lived there also. He moved to Nazareth of Galilee to work as a carpenter. In tradition, it has been said that he was around 20-25 when he wed Mary, who was between 15-20 years old also. The Gospel of Matthew at least mentioned the role of Joseph in the salvation history such as the visit of the Magi, the flight to Egypt and their return to Nazareth of our Lord. On the other hand, Luke also mentioned him during the birth of Jesus, the presentation and also the loss and finding of our Lord in Jerusalem at the age of twelve. After that event, we lost sight of his life and it is said that because he was not anymore present in the public ministry and the passion of the Lord, it is assumed that it is possible that he died already.



There are other stories and accounts about the life of St. Joseph; however the Gospels are the only reliable source of his life. Though we have very brief accounts about him, it gives us the overview of Joseph as a faithful, patient man, obedient to the will of God, providing father to our Lord and a loving chaste spouse of Mary. In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Joseph as the Patron of Universal Church honoring his role of support, protection and guidance of the Holy Family. His feast day is March 19 as the heavenly birthday. Pope Pius XII added May 1st as the second feast honouring him as patron of labourer.



As priests, we are always challenged to be obedient to our superior. St. Joseph indeed is a perfect model of obedience to the will of God. In our case, as diocesan priests, we need always to be obedient to our Bishop because obeying him entails obeying the will of God. An obedient priest bears much fruits in his ministries than to those disobedient ministers. Obedient is not synonymous to cowardice but rather simply a source of our strength because even the three evangelical counsels (poverty, obedience and chastity) can be summed up with obedience. Though it’s hard, but we need to do it because we chose this kind of life – a life of service to God and his people. Our vocation is in fact obedience to the will of God though we are not worthy at all. We hope through the grace of God and the intercessions of St. Joseph, we may become truly obedient, humble and zealous workers in the vineyard of Christ.


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We have at least 10 applicants who would like to join the seminary for the coming school year. however, only 7 who finally passed all the screening and examinations necessary in the seminary formation. They will be joining the formation year at the San Carlos Seminary this coming June. Most of our seminarians in San Carlos, San Jose, and UST Central Seminary are doing well, in fact they are in dean's lists. I hope somehow we can support them in any possible means. Remember they are our future priests in the diocese. Let us make efforts to promote vocations.

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