WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marian Father Donald Calloway believes the Holy Spirit wants to draw Catholics’ attention to St. Joseph, husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus, “in a major way.”
“We need to entrust ourselves to his spiritual care at this very difficult time in the world and in the church,” the priest told Catholic News Service.
“Today the church is dealing with anthropological crises in the world,” he said. “Many countries are seeking to redefine marriage, men do not understand what it means to be a family, women do not understand what it means to be a woman, divorce rates are at an all-time high, and families are falling apart everywhere.”
“We need his loving and strong fatherhood to help us return order to our homes,” Calloway added.
To that end he is urging individuals, couples, groups, schools, parishes, dioceses and the entire church to consecrate themselves to St. Joseph.
“In ages past whenever there was some difficulty the church was involved in, popes and saints would turn to Our Lady as a remedy,” he explained. “This remains necessary for our times as well, of course, but today when so many families lack a father, scandals among clergy — our spiritual fathers — have occurred in the church, we need to look to St. Joseph for answers.”
In his new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, published by Marian Press, Calloway outlines a 33-day preparation period in Part 1, includes several readings on the “Wonders of Our Spiritual Father” in Part 2 and several prayers to St. Joseph in Part 3.
“Everything that is needed for an individual and a group program is contained in the one book. There are no additional manuals, workbooks, prayer books or videos,” he said.
Calloway, who is vicar provincial for his order in the United States, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, told CNS the demand for his book is “off the charts,” with 40,000 copies selling out in six weeks; 80,000 more are being printed. Spanish, French and Polish translations “are in the works” and he’s received requests for Italian and Arabic versions.
“All for St. Joseph! Something very big is happening!” he told CNS.
He also has a website and a 33-part series of one-minute videos launched on YouTube Feb. 16.
And there’s more. To date at least three U.S. bishops have declared a Year of St. Joseph for their dioceses for this year: Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina; Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette, Louisiana.
It’s for all these reasons he thinks the Holy Spirit wants Catholics to focus on St. Joseph. “This is spreading like wildfire,” remarked Calloway, who lives in Steubenville, Ohio.
He said Catholics need only consider the many titles St. Joseph has to see why he is the role model for these times. He is the head of the Holy Family of course, but he also is called “Pillar of Families,” “Glory of Domestic Life,” Guardian of Virgins” and “Terror of Demons,” the priest said.
“He is still under appreciated because most Catholics have the wrong impression of St. Joseph,” Calloway said. “Most Catholics think he was an old man and previously married to another woman — with other children from that marriage — before he espoused Our Lady. These ideas are completely false and have never been the teaching of the church.
“What consecration to St. Joseph seeks to do is give the faithful a true image of St. Joseph: A young, virginal, and strong husband and father.”
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pius IX’s proclamation of St Joseph as patron of the universal church. The current pope has a special devotion to the man who raised Jesus: “I love St Joseph very much because he is a strong and silent man,” Pope Francis has said.
In 2013, on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry. In May of that year, by papal decree, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments instructed that the name of “St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” be inserted into Eucharistic Prayers II, III and IV of the Mass.
On Nov. 13, 1962, St. John XXIII had inserted the name of St. Joseph into the first Eucharistic Prayer, which is the Roman Canon.
“My greatest desire is for the pope to declare a Year of St. Joseph for the entire church,” Calloway told CNS. “I wrote the pope a personal letter last year about this and it was hand-delivered to him by a bishop from Argentina. Thus, I know he is aware of this petition. Let’s pray he does it! This would be an extraordinary grace for the church.”
He noted that Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, the longest-lived visionary of the Fatima apparitions, once said the final battle between good and evil will be fought over marriage and the family.
“This battle is raging today. What better person to call on than our spiritual father who has been given the title ‘Terror of Demons’?” said Calloway. “The great St. Joseph once protected the child Jesus from the wicked intentions of Herod, so he is more than able to protect us in the difficulties we find ourselves in today.”
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