Catholic Sun staff report
Honoring the Universal Church’s Year of St. Joseph and the diocese’s Year of Vocations, the Diocese of Syracuse will lead a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph beginning Feb. 15.
The special period of prayer and dedication, culminating on the Feast of St. Joseph March 19, celebrates the Year of St. Joseph, declared by Pope Francis to mark the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church, and honors the patron of the diocese’s Year of Vocations, a diocesanwide effort to help all baptized Catholics discover God’s call in their lives.
St. Joseph sought to help bring Christ into the world “by following the call of God in his life,” Bishop Douglas J. Lucia wrote in a letter inviting faithful to join him in the consecration. “We, too, are invited to remember that on the day of our baptism each one of us was called by name and entrusted with the light of Christ. Maybe that flame has grown dim in our lives or maybe we think it could be stronger. This is where these days of consecration can assist you and me in recommitting ourselves to our baptismal calling.”
“The consecration to St. Joseph is all about holiness and mission, the two Universal Calls of the Church. St. Joseph is a model of these,” explained Mary Hallman, director of the Office of Evangelization. “In coming to know him better, and entrusting ourselves to his care, we can be better equipped to answer the calls to holiness and mission. He shows us how to live in service to God’s plan, rather than for ourselves…. Like St. Joseph, we are invited into the very life of Christ, and his mother, Mary.”
Consecration is “an act of setting something apart, making it sacred,” Hallman said. “By our baptism as Catholic Christians, we’re set apart — to become more holy, to accomplish God’s mission for us.” Through our baptism, our first consecration, we are called continually to become more holy and to answer God’s call, Hallman said, and consecrating ourselves to St. Joseph is a way to do that, “by giving our lives over to our spiritual father and [striving to] be more like him.”
Practically, the consecration consists of “33 days of prayers, reflections, and challenges during which we look at St. Joseph, his life, and his virtues through the lens of the titles the Church has given him,” Hallman said. The consecration will culminate with a March 19 Mass, celebrated by Bishop Lucia, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Participants can sign up to receive a daily email from the Office of Evangelization containing the prayers and prompts, or the materials can be downloaded directly; visit the Consecration to St. Joseph page at syrdio.org to sign up and to learn more.
Hallman encourages the faithful to make the act of consecration for themselves as well as for the “people in their lives that might not pray the consecration but might need prayers” and the entire faith community.
“During this time of COVID, even though we don’t have the opportunity to gather like we did before, we can know that we’re doing something together,” she said.