Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I hope that you are well and enjoying the blessings of spring. On March 19, we will once again celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Every year, we remember this remarkable man who cared for Jesus and his Blessed Mother and who silently gave testimony of a life of faith.
In the Diocese of Green Bay, we have just completed a local year dedicated to St. Joseph. Little did we know that when this year began on March 19, 2020, we would find ourselves in a year filled with disease and much fear. Happily, the quiet prayers of St. Joseph have helped our diocese weather the difficulties of the past year and we are now poised to rise and begin again.
How pleased I was when we all learned, this past December, that Pope Francis had declared this current year, from Dec. 8, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, the universal “Year of Saint Joseph!” What we had started here in the Diocese of Green Bay last March, we now have additional time to participate in.
Honoring St. Joseph takes on a particular meaning for us here in the Diocese of Green Bay. Did you know that the Shrine of St. Joseph is located on the grounds of St. Norbert College in De Pere? This important, yet humble, shrine has been a site of devotion for over 130 years. This, along with the only approved site of Marian apparition in the United States, has made the Diocese of Green Bay doubly blessed.
During this year of St. Joseph, I invite you to visit the Shrine of St. Joseph. When you visit, you might participate in receiving a special plenary indulgence granted by Pope Francis for this special year. Ask good St. Joseph to pray for your families, for all fathers and spiritual fathers, and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood for our diocese. Continue to pray the diocesan prayer to St. Joseph at home, in your parishes and in other gatherings of the faithful until Dec. 8, 2021.
Do you see how well God takes care of us? Let us follow the examples of all of the saints, and be faithful followers of our Lord Jesus.
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.