Every June, Father’s Day sees Americans give salute to and celebrate our fathers. What better model of fatherhood could we look to than St. Joseph — the protector of Jesus, and the loving husband of Mary?
The Lord instructed St. Joseph to navigate many uncomfortable and perilous situations. Rather than divorce his betrothed-but-pregnant Mary, he took her into his home (Matt. 1:20-21). With great difficulty and sacrifice, St. Joseph escaped danger and fled with his family to Egypt (Matt. 2:13). Finally, he resettled the Holy Family in Nazareth, in fulfillment of the prophets (Matt. 2:21-23). It seems that St. Joseph was a man of simplicity, humility, and few words (the Gospels share none of them with us). However, he was quick to trust in God and courageous in his commitment to God.
In his 2022 address to the Congregation of St. Joseph, Pope Francis wrote: “Let yourselves be guided by the meek and concrete example of Saint Joseph. Like him, who, working for Jesus and Mary, made of his own life a ‘sign’ of a higher fatherhood, that of the heavenly Father. Welcome the great call to be dedicated fathers for the youth of today”.
I am fortunate to celebrate Father’s Day twice each year. In Honduras — where I have the opportunity to care for children — Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. Like many Central Americans, St. Joseph worked with his hands. Also, like many fathers worldwide, he struggled to be a good parent. It is understandable that so many fathers relate to the life of this beloved saint.
The actions of St. Joseph speak to us more loudly than any words could do. Fathers in every part of the world may find his courage and faithfulness inspirational. This year, may we emulate him as provider, protector, and spiritual guide to our children.
William Stavinoha, MD