Cardinal Dolan will consecrate the Archdiocese of New York to St. Joseph on the saint’s feast day, Friday, March 19.
The consecration will take place during a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, at a time to be determined. That day, priests at parish churches throughout the archdiocese will replicate the consecration “in union” with the cardinal, simultaneously in many cases and according to the parish Mass schedule in others, said Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco in an interview this week.
The prayers for consecration have also been sent to Catholic schools and parish religious education programs so students can participate. The prayers will also be available on the archdiocesan website, archny.org, according to Bishop Colacicco, who is coordinating the archdiocese’s observance of the Year of St. Joseph promulgated by Pope Francis.
The Year of St. Joseph, which began Dec. 8, coincides with the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph’s designation as patron of the Universal Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
In our conversation, Bishop Colacicco said that his devotion to St. Joseph was fostered in boyhood when his mother would prepare a special family meal with homemade bread and a pasta course topped off with Italian pastries for dessert.
“It was always a day we celebrated as a child growing up,” said the bishop, noting that the tradition has continued as the years passed.
In the bishop’s days as a parish pastor, beginning at Sacred Heart in Newburgh, the St. Joseph Table was “a big parish event,” and more recently at St. Joseph’s, Millbrook, the celebration of the patronal feast always included a parish gathering with pastries and other desserts.
Bishop Colacicco, responding to a question, shared insights about what St. Joseph has to say to today’s Catholic men.
“He’s not only patron of the Universal Church, but patron of our families, patron of fathers and husbands and workers,” the bishop said.
“He is the role model of the life we wish to imitate in our own responsibilities as men.”
Citing a specific example from the Bible, the bishop described St. Joseph as action-oriented. “In the Scriptures, there is not one written word that St. Joseph said. But in the Scriptures, there is recorded what he did. A man of very few words, but a man of profound action.”
“To realize that it’s not just what we say, it’s what we do and how we live,” Bishop Colacicco said. “That’s the most powerful example that we can give to the Gospel, and I think that for husbands and fathers and men in general to take that lesson and incorporate it into our own lives is crucial.”
The bishop explained that St. Joseph did not follow an easy path.
“He was a man who was faced with many trials in his life…but a man of tremendous faith in God and God’s providence. When Joseph could not find a proper place for Mary to give birth, when he was faced with taking Mary and Jesus into Egypt to escape Herod…
“In all of those things, he was a man of deep faith. He trusted God would see him through this particular difficulty, this particular disappointment, this particular fear. He trusted that God would take care of him, and God did.”
That sounded to me like a pertinent lesson that could resonate in our current times of uncertainty and fear related to Covid-19 and other difficulties.
Bishop Colacicco advanced the lesson a step further, keeping the focus on the faith and good example of St. Joseph.
“Trust God, and put our cares and concerns in Joseph’s hands because he is a powerful intercessor and he will take care of us. Trust God, and go to Joseph.”
We’ll have a lot more details on the Year of St. Joseph in upcoming issues.
Additional nugget for cny.org readers:
When St. Joseph faced difficulties, he would go to sleep, Bishop Colacicco said. In his dream, God spoke to him. When he woke up in the morning, he put those words into action.
“The lesson there is sometimes we need to sleep on those major decisions that affect our lives and the lives of others,” the bishop said.
“Because after a good night’s rest, when God speaks to our heart, with morning comes a clearer vision, a clearer purpose—and the ability to carry out what needs to be done.”