Recently, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has issued a decree, authorized and approved by Pope Francis, that states St. Joseph, the most blessed spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Foster Father of Jesus, was to be included into the Eucharistic Prayers II, III and IV (it is already in the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer I). This initiative began with Pope John XXIII who stated that St. Joseph, who is the Universal Patron of the Catholic Church, should be venerated in a more meaningful way which allowed his name to be included into the Roman Canon. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was in favor of this and it has finally been approved by Pope Francis.
The importance of such a decree in the life of the Church in the modern society that we now live cannot be understated. I will take my departure point from the Litany of St. Joseph and some of the titles that he has been given. He is watchful defender of Christ and Head of the Holy Family. As the baptized, we have been called into the family of God a holy family. The family of God is the Church and the Church is the body of Christ. He protects us and we implore his prayers in the litany and now in a more awesome way at Mass during the Holy Sacrifice.
Another important title that he has is the Terror of Demons. It is necessary for us to ponder this title because when we are tempted to sin, we should call upon St. Joseph to scare away the demons who are tempting us. As the body of Christ, through the priest at Mass, we invoke St. Joseph to scare away the demons of our life, the ones that cause us to be separated from Christ and His Church.
One of the last titles that I think is important for us to ponder is that he is most chaste, most obedient and most faithful. One of the greatest threats to souls today is that the society around them preaches to be unchaste, to be disobedient to the authorities and to not be faithful. When we come to Mass, and again, through the priest, invoke St. Joseph to intercede for us, we should call to mind all the souls that have gone away from the Church because her teachings on chastity, obedience to authority and faithfulness are too challenging.
To invoke St. Joseph’s name in the highest form of prayer in the Church, that is the Mass, where we come to worship God, gives great distinction to a saint that models humility and would prefer to stay in the background. Let us go to Joseph, who protects us and leads us to heaven with all the saints in glory.