To celebrate the Year of Saint Joseph, Knock Shrine commissioned a beautiful new statue which was designed and sculpted by renowned Italian sculptors Ferdinand Stuflesser 1875 studios. It depicts Saint Joseph as he appeared in the Apparition at Knock in 1879. On Saturday 6 November last, Archbishop Michael Neary celebrated Mass on the occasion of the blessing of the new statue of Saint Joseph at Knock Shrine.
During his homily, Archbishop Neary spoke of the important example set for all of us by Saint Joseph, saying, “as the Patron of the Church this quiet man of faith reminds us that the Church will not fail as it is confronted by the changes and challenges in our culture today and like Saint Joseph it will continue to be a faithful vehicle of God’s plan of salvation.”
The senior prelate said, “The goodness, gentleness and generosity of people of faith is frequently overlooked in a competitive culture. Faith brings calm to situations … It provides inner strength and gentleness of character. It is respectful of the freedom of others. Joseph, the man of faith enabled Jesus to pursue his own ministry of preaching and healing.”
Emphasising the relevance of Saint Joseph in today’s world, the archbishop continued, “Even today, the pandemic and the consequent lockdown has enabled us to become more appreciative of the quiet lives of people that perhaps we were inclined to take for granted. Like Saint Joseph there are many people who live far from the spotlight, who do their work conscientiously, who are people of faith and whose faith inspires and motivates their work, their dedication, their call to duty and their family responsibilities. They are the ‘ordinary’ people who enable others to do their work and support them in that work.”
In conclusion the Archbishop of Tuam, who is the custodian of the International Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo, said, “Devotion to Joseph can lead to a deeper faith and a closer relationship to Jesus and to Mary. Pope Francis emphasised that ‘faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation’. He recognised that Saint Joseph knew this in his heart and this faith allowed him, and will allow us, to move forward although the way may not be clear. Like many today, especially those who might be struggling with the questions of life itself, Joseph had to face some challenging situation. Yet faith sustained and supported him when the scene seemed to be changing and the changes were communicated to him by God. Joseph was able to respond in a positive manner.”
To read this homily in full, click here.