Q&A: St. Joseph is the secret weapon the Church and society needs

Ever heard of a Consecration to St. Joseph? Neither did Father Donald Calloway, MIC. So, he decided to do something about it.

In his groundbreaking new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (Marian Press), Father Calloway dives into some of the lesser-known and extraordinary qualities of the oft-underrated father of Jesus. It culminates in a consecration to St. Joseph, who, whether we realize it or not, is our spiritual father. This year especially marks an opportune time to renew and strengthen our devotion to St. Joseph, considering that March 19 marks the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared the Patron of the Universal Church. For the book, Father Calloway also commissioned several artists to create beautiful, updated depictions of St. Joseph.

We chatted with Father Calloway about his new book and why a consecration St. Joseph might just be exactly what our society and Church needs in this time of crisis.

Denver Catholic: Why did you want to write this book?

Fr. Donald Calloway:  Right now in the world, we’ve got what I call an anthropological crisis. People are confused about their sexuality, about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman. Marriage has been redefined in many countries. People don’t even know what it means to be a family anymore. You know, we’ve got modern families and we’ve got people identifying as cats. It’s crazy. So, I thought to myself about three years ago, what are we doing here as Christians? We belong to Jesus Christ by our baptism and many of us have done a Marian consecration, which is phenomenal. It’s one of the best things you can do. Still, we don’t seem to be making much ground when it comes to this crisis today. Sister Lucia dos Santos of Fatima said that the final battle between good and evil would be over marriage and the family. So I thought to myself, I wonder if there’s anything about St. Joseph, like a Saint Louis de Montfort-type consecration program, because when a house is in disorder, and by that I mean society and even the Church, it takes a father to restore order in a house. I thought, does this thing exist out there? Is there some gem hiding in Poland or Croatia or something that nobody knows about that we can get out there? I know a lot of people around the world, so I contacted them. I said, hey, have you guys got anything like this in your country, like a Saint Louis Montfort-type consecration, not to Our Lady, but to St. Joseph? Everybody said no, and everybody also said, ‘Father, that’s brilliant.’ They said this is exactly what the Church needs right now in the midst of this crisis and confusion. We need St. Joseph as a good, loving father. And so I said, ‘you know what, I’m gonna do it then.’ So I’ve spent the last three years doing all the research and writing and putting it together.

DC: Very little is known about St. Joseph. How did you conduct research and learn more about who he was?

FDC: That’s a great point. First, I wanted to clear up a whole bunch of misconceptions about St. Joseph, since we don’t have much about him — we don’t even have one word in the New Testament. Most people over the centuries have just thought that he was some old geezer who God used and basically was a nobody and really is not that important. And even in art, he’s shown as old and almost headed for the nursing home. So I asked, ‘was this guy old? What is the reality here?’ I did a lot of digging, a lot of research. I went to the Fathers of the Church. I went to St. Jerome and St. Augustine, and I went to all these scholars and saints and then also writings of mystics and popes. And lo and behold, none of this stuff is true. The church has no teaching on his age whatsoever. In all likelihood, he couldn’t have been old because of the rigors demanded by him with all the walking they did back then. I did the math: for the 30 years that they walked to Jerusalem three times a year, which they were required to do from Nazareth, Joseph and Jesus basically walked around the planet. There’s no way an old man could do that. There’s just no way. And so I just explored all these writings and things from the time of Jewish culture and customs and everything to really get a fuller picture of who he is.

DC: What are some qualities of St. Joseph that you uncovered in writing this book?

FDC: That he’s the greatest saint after the Blessed Virgin Mary! A lot of people don’t realize that. They think it’s Saint Francis of Assisi or the Little Flower or something. And look, they’re awesome, but they’ve got nothing on this dude. I mean, he is so holy that only he and Our Lady have the privilege of referring to God as their son. You and I can’t invoke Jesus and say a prayer and say, ‘Jesus, my lord and son.’ That’s weird, right? But Mary and Joseph can. Joseph has a paternal relationship with Jesus. And he has power. He has intercessory ability that is unparalleled after Our Lady. That, to me, is extraordinary. And that’s why one of his titles in particular that I talk about in the book is Terror of Demons, because that’s the money title. That’s the big gun title. A lot of people would not think of him like that because they see images where he’s old, got a cane and he’s about to die. If you know who he is and the power and the authority and the influence that he has with God, it’s unbelievable. He is the untapped treasure, the secret mega weapon that the Catholic Church has had in the background for 2,000 years. And now, in light of the crisis, we need to bring out the big guns. This is the man.

DC: Why does St. Joseph make a good patron of the Universal Church? Why is his intercession so important right now?

FDC: It goes basically to the roots of what that patronage means. The root word of patron is pater, which means father. That was declared in 1870, and since that time we have consistently seen divorce rates go up as well as fatherless families. Right now, statistics are saying something like 52 percent of all modern families do not have a father — that’s more than half. We’ve known about the spiritual motherhood of Mary for a very long time. And it’s wonderful. But in order to close the gap and to help with this crisis in families, we need to look to THE family, and especially the head of the Holy Family and his patronage and ability to help us. That’s why I think ever since that declaration was made in 1870, we have seen a nonstop increase in emphasizing the importance of St. Joseph.

DC: Why should people read this book and engage in this consecration?

FDC: Ultimately, it’s to lead them closer to Jesus. Just like Marian consecration, ultimately it’s to lead us closer to Christ. That’s the same with this. And it’s really to imitate our Lord himself. In the New Testament, we read that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature before God and man under the watchful care of his parents in his human nature, of course. We need to do the same. We’re not members of a single-parent spiritual family. We need to recognize that Mary is our spiritual mother and St. Joseph is our spiritual father. And it’s time now for St. Joseph. It’s his time.

Consecration to St. Joseph

For more info, visit consecrationtostjoseph.org

COMING UP: The benefits of consecration to St. Joseph and his ‘necessary’ patronage

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The benefits of consecration to St. Joseph and his ‘necessary’ patronage

Universal Church celebrates 150th anniversary of his patronage this year

Saint Joseph was given the mission to protect, guide and provide for two people conceived without sin, Mary and Jesus, which means that he himself had to be a very virtuous man. And indeed he was. The Fathers of the Church and various saints throughout history have esteemed St. Joseph as “the greatest saint” – that is, of course, with the exception of Mary, who has always been placed in a different category from the rest. He occupies a unique category among the saints for his important role in salvation history, for being predestined to become the father of Jesus on earth.

For this reason, and after an expressed desire by bishops from all over the world, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church in 1870.

As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of this decree, Archbishop Samuel Aquila supports pastors, parishes and the faithful to consider consecrating themselves or their community to St. Joseph sometime in between March 19, 2020 and March 19, 2021.

This consecration would not be in vain, as Saint John Paul II writes: “This patronage [of St. Joseph] must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to re-evangelization in those lands and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and now are put to hard test.”

If you are wondering what a consecration specifically entails, consecration is an act by which something or someone is separated for a divine purpose. In our Catholic faith, certain items are consecrated for liturgical purpose, such as church buildings, altars, chalices, etc. People also consecrate their lives to God by making vows in the religious life.

A consecration “to a saint,” like Mary or St. Joseph, is actually a consecration to Jesus himself through that saint, through Mary or Joseph. It is a serious commitment to respond to God’s grace, under their guidance.

“The person who consecrates himself to St. Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness,” writes Father Donald Calloway in his book Consecration to St. Joseph. In turn, St. Joseph gives that person “his loving attention, protection, and guidance.”

The Venerable Mary of Agreda laid out seven privileges of devotion to St. Joseph: attaining the virtue of purity, procuring powerful intercession to escape sin, increasing love and devotion to Mary, securing the grace of a happy death, fighting off demons with the mention of his name, gaining health of body and assistance in difficulties, securing children in families.

St. Joseph holds a privileged place

Pope Leo XIII explained that no one has come so closely to the Virgin Mary’s holiness as St. Joseph. “By its very nature, [the conjugal union] is accompanied by a reciprocal communication of the goods of the spouses. If then God gave St. Joseph to Mary to be her spouse, he certainly did not give him merely as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, a guardian of her honor, but he made him also participate by the conjugal bond in the eminent dignity which was hers.” (92)

For this reason, it is also said that his closeness to God surpasses that of all of the holy angels.

But the final answer is, of course, God. As Father Calloway writes, “Saint Joseph is the greatest saint in the Kingdom of Heaven because God predestined him for that position.” Ultimately, no angel, regardless of his ranking, had the privilege and responsibility to be called “father” by the Son of God on earth. That authority was reserved to Joseph – to love, command and educate the God-Man.

It is for this reason that he can be the patron of the Church and our spiritual father.

The word “patron” comes from the Latin “pater,” which means “father.” And, although St. Joseph wasn’t the biological father of Jesus, he was certainly “a real father to Jesus because he exercised a fatherhood toward Jesus that was authoritative, affectionate, and faithful.” And if the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, St. Joseph is also the father of the Church.

This has personal implications for all of us. We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ by our baptism, which means that, if St. Joseph is the father of the Church, then he is also our spiritual father. He, of course, is not meant to replace our biological father, but is there to “spiritually feed, shelter, clothe, educate, protect, and correct us.”

Let us then ask for the aid of such great intercessor, as St. Teresa of Avila suggested: “I would wish to persuade everyone to honor him with particular devotion. I have always seen those who honored him in a special manner make progress in virtue, for this heavenly protector favors in striking manner the spiritual advancement of souls who commend themselves to him.”

Credits: Consecration to St. Joseph, Father Donald Calloway, MIC