Gratitude to Our Friends
Yesterday morning, Gaudete Sunday, immediately following Holy Mass, our community and guests, chanting the Litanies of Saint Joseph, went in procession to the little garden in front of the priory for the blessing of the glorious Patriarch’s new statue. The statue came to us throughout the kindness of Bernadette Brennan. Jim and Lily McNally assisted in finding it. We are profoundly grateful to Bernadette Brennan, to Jim and Lily McNally, and to the Steele family. I request the prayers of the readers of Vultus Christi for Jim and Lily’s little 17 month old Lorcan, who is in Childrens’ Hospice at the moment. Our own Brother James refurbished the statue with a handsome bronze finish, making it in impermeable to the salty winds that blow up from the Irish Sea.
In the Liturgy
The Mass of Gaudete Sunday was providentially suited to the blessing of the statue of Saint Joseph.
We honour Saint Joseph as the almoner of Divine Providence. Saint Joseph is charged by God with distributing the resources of His inexhaustible bounty. With Saint Joseph as our good provider, we can rest assured that the Providence of God will not forsake us in our need. You can imagine that the Epistle found a special resonance in our hearts:
Joy to you in the Lord at all times; once again I wish you joy. Give proof to all of your courtesy. The Lord is near. Nothing must make you anxious; in every need make your requests known to God, praying and beseeching him, and giving him thanks as well. So may the peace of God, which surpasses all our thinking, watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4–7)
The Gradual chant (Psalm 79:2,3,6) contained an allusion to the tribe of Joseph: “Thou, O Lord, that sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep.”
The text of the Communion Antiphon (Isaias 35:4) would have been known to Saint Joseph. I can easily imagine the Glorious Patriarch repeating the text to us: “Say: ye faithearted, take courage and fear not: behold our God will come, and will save us.”
Robert Steele Unveils the Statue
Five year old Robert Steele had the honour of unveiling the statue of Saint Joseph. Brother James explained to him how to go about it and Robert’s big brother Joseph gave a helping hand. The surpliced thurifer in the photo is Brother Alex.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst not forbid us to fashion images of thy saints, in order that whenever we look a them we may seek their intercession, experience their companionship, and be moved to imitate their virtues, deign, we beseech Thee, to bless + and hallow + this statue of Saint Joseph, the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster–father of Thine Only–Begotten Son, so that all who, in its presence pay devout homage to this most glorious Patriarch may, by his merits and intercession, experience the wonders of Thy bountiful providence in this life and praise Thee eternally in heaven. Through Christ our Lord.
Go to Joseph
The Monastic Processional contains a magnificent antiphon on the text of Genesis 41:55: “And when there also they began to be famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. And he said to them: Go to Joseph: and do all that he shall say to you.” Like the Joseph of the Old Testament, our beloved Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster–father of Jesus, is charged with all the provisions of the household of God. The wisest counsel in times of critical need is, in fact, to go to Joseph. Ite ad Ioseph.
The ceremony closed with the recitation of the prayer to Saint Joseph that we also pray every evening after Compline:
O glorious Saint JOSEPH,
thou art our advocate and our defender, our father and our friend,
who on the word of the angel speaking to thee in the night,
didst put fear aside to take MARY, thy Virgin Bride into thy home,
and, even in poverty and in exile, didst provide security for JESUS, the blessed Fruit of her womb.
Thou art the good provider upon whose resources and generosity we rely
to acquire the entire property of Silverstream; to renovate it; and to maintain it for years to come
in security and in peace, in the beauty of holiness, and in perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
O Joseph, first adorer of the Sacred Humanity of the Word, thou art not indifferent to His designs upon this place
and upon us who, by His grace alone, must struggle to make it a school of the Lord’s service,
a sanctuary of adoration for all, and a haven of peace for priests.
Humble and powerful Saint Joseph,
who didst appear at Knock, together with the Mother of God,
with Saint John the Beloved Disciple, and with the Lamb of Sacrifice,
thy mission in Ireland is far from ended.
Visit us, then, in our need.
Provide for us as thou hast provided for so many in the past,
and we shall publish abroad the wonders obtained through thy intercession
to the glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.