By James Day/National Catholic Register
Fathom Events will release a new documentary nationwide on the enduring popularity of St. Joseph on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. A second screening in Spanish will run on May 2. Titled A Father’s Heart: The Miracles of St. Joseph Today, the film spans five continents, emphasizing how the intercession of St. Joseph has transformed various lives.
A short film produced by the Knights of Columbus, Our Liberator: St. Joseph and the Priests of Dachau, will screen before A Father’s Heart. This documentary tells the story of the hundreds of Polish priests saved from death in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau through the intercession of St. Joseph.
Produced by Goya Productions, A Father’s Heart is directed by Barcelona-based filmmaker Andrés Garrigó, who previously helmed Fatima: The Ultimate Mystery. The film is in Spanish with English voice-over. Expertly photographed with visceral recreations of Joseph as a carpenter in Nazareth, the film relies on eye-popping drone footage to capture the film’s remarkable locations, such as Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Church. (Sagrada Familia means “Holy Family” in Spanish.)
In addition, the film highlights the veneration of the Holy Patriarch that increased dramatically in the late 19th century. Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph “Patron of the Universal Church” in 1870, the year the papacy lost most of its temporal power with the fall of the Papal States. His successor, Pope Leo XIII, was the first pope to dedicate an entire encyclical to Joseph, Quamquam Pluries. Pope St. Pius X consecrated Wednesdays in honor of St. Joseph. Pope Benedict XV created the feast of the Holy Family. Pius XI dedicated St. Joseph as protector of the Church against communism. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Pope St. John XXIII proclaimed St. Joseph patron of Vatican II. Pope St. John Paul II issued an apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph, Redemptoris Custos, in 1989.
When Pope Benedict XVI personally consecrated Sagrada Familia as a basilica in 2010, he spoke in his homily of the epic church’s connection with St. Joseph:
“This church began as an initiative of the Association of the Friends of St. Joseph, who wanted to dedicate it to the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always been regarded as a school of love, prayer and work. The promoters of this church wanted to set before the world love, work and service lived in the presence of God, as the Holy Family lived them.”
He went on to say:
“The joy which I feel at presiding at this ceremony became all the greater when I learned that this shrine, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship with St. Joseph. I have been moved above all by Gaudí’s confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in divine Providence, he would exclaim, ‘St. Joseph will finish this church.’ So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a pope whose baptismal name is Joseph.”
American audiences of A Father’s Heart will recognize Marian Father Donald Calloway, author of Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. In his interview, Father Calloway details the extraordinary confidence and devotion great saints like St. Teresa of Ávila had toward St. Joseph.
In its global canvas, A Father’s Heart chronicles moving stories from everyday people on how St. Joseph changed their lives.
An Argentine youth group brings hot broth to people on the streets on Christmas Eve, mirroring the peripatetic journey of the Holy Family going from inn to inn looking for warmth. In this sequence, the filmmakers nicely depict Joseph bringing bread to those living outside in Nazareth.
One of the recurring themes in the many anecdotes told about the intercession of St. Joseph are the testimonies from fathers around the world who look to St. Joseph for inspiration to be better fathers to their own children. An Italian father talks about the influence of his younger sister, who became a nun of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word at the San Paolo Monastery in Tuscany. This religious order credited St. Joseph for leading them to the 800-year-old convent to satisfy the needs of the growing order.
But there is an even deeper connection with St. Joseph in the old building: In 1871, a sickly nun was certain she saw a vision of St. Joseph enter her cell and sit in a chair. Within moments, she found herself totally healed. The chair is still preserved today at San Paolo.
From radical conversions to impossible cures, from the rebuilding of broken marriages to aid to the dying, this compelling documentary reveals just who St. Joseph is and how he acts in the world today.
In reflecting on St. Joseph’s feast of May 1, a feast recognizing the dignity of work, St. John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris Custos:
“Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.”
For tickets, visit FathomEvents.com/events/A-Father’s-Heart.