Vox Antiqua, the acclaimed Hong Kong-based choir, returns to Macau on May 1 to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph with a special choral programme at two of the city’s most beautiful churches. Led by Andrew Leung, Vox Antiqua will perform William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, Gregorian chants, traditional hymns, and works by composers from around the world.
While the parish of St Joseph the worker celebrates its patronal feast on May 1, Macau’s youngest Catholic church looks forward to the celebration of its 25th anniversary as well. To commemorate a quarter-century of pastoral work, the parish will organize, starting from October, a wide programme of initiatives and activities.
The month of March of every year is the month of St. Joseph, “father” of Jesus, husband of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church. In his letter titled, ‘Patris Corde’, Pope Francis has focused on the special fatherhood of St Joseph, and outlined seven characteristics of his unique fatherhood: beloved, tender, loving, obedient, accepting, creatively courageous, and a father in the shadows.
Once the World Cup is over, another one will soon be set in motion. The process of discerning God’s will for us is also an on-going, life-long commitment. “Do not be afraid” the angel told Joseph as it had previously told Mary. Let’s face this commitment without fear. Conscious or unconscious consolations and desolations might come and go. But when taking decisions, let’s be fully awake and fully welcoming, like Joseph, longing for the ultimate prize of doing God’s will: a deep and lasting inner peace.
The virginal conception that is even explicitly mentioned by Luke (Lk 1:26-39) is not intended to emphasize the moral superiority of Mary nor, still less, does it constitute a depreciation of sexuality. It is introduced to reveal a fundamental truth for the believer: Jesus is not only a man; he is from above and is the same Lord who has taken on human form.
Saint Joseph’s Diocesan School celebrated its 91st anniversary last week, unveiling a new book that tells us how the educational institution evolved ever since it was founded. Authored by three of the directors of the Diocesan School, the book was launched last Friday at Fatima Centenary Auditorium on the campus that Saint Joseph’s Diocesan School (6th School) shares with the University of Saint Joseph on Ilha Verde.
In Macau, devotion to St Joseph is evident not only in the Catholic community but also in the religious institutions and buildings dedicated to him. Among these are the St Joseph’s Seminary and Church, St Joseph the Worker Church and St Joseph’s University. The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau, on its World Heritage website, tells us that the old St Joseph’s Seminary – center of formation for numerous Catholic priests – was founded in 1728 and the adjoining church was built in 1758. It is mentioned that the Seminary, together with the College of St Paul, “was the principal base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region.”
“A wonderful book that will help you foster a greater love for St. Joseph…I highly recommend this book!” said Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, foremost Josephologist and author of Consecration to St. Joseph. Steve Ray, popular Catholic author and speaker says, “Journey with Joseph enables us to hear Joseph, though we have no recorded words from this silent saint.” Troy Guy, founder of Discover His Church, says it’s “an intimate experience with one of the greatest saints in history…!” And theologian Fr. Matthew Habiger, OSB, calls it “a real jewel.” When it comes to books about Saint Joseph, “you will not go wrong by starting with this one,” said Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB distinguished Josephologist and Director of Spiritual Formation at St. Vincent Seminary.
Pope Francis holds up to us, the faithful, the life of St Joseph as a model for our own daily lives. Like him, we too are to bloom where we are planted, faithful to whatever is asked of us in each of our daily tasks and activities. If we are faithful in this way, we too will delight the heart of God and merit a holy death, with Jesus and Mary at our side. As it was for St Joseph, such a happy death will be for us the crown of a life well-lived-in love and fidelity to God.
The “Year of St Joseph” ended this month on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), but we keep our eyes fixed on the foster father of Jesus, Guardian of the Holy Family, given the approach of Christmas. We reflect on his increased mystical presence in the Church. It is remarkable that, in the private revelations about St Joseph, both in the apparitions of Our Lady, as to the mystic and devout saints, Heaven is calling for greater devotion by Catholics to the foster father of Jesus and chaste husband of the Mother of God.