On January 9th at 7:00, one hundred and sixty years ago, our beloved foundress soon Blessed Pauline Marie Jaricot, breathed her last after intense physical and spiritual suffering. She died in poverty, officially registered among the poor of Lyon. She was buried in obscurity with only a handful of Lyon’s poor attending her funeral. Just before she died, she spoke her final words: “Ô ma Mère, je suis toute à vous”! [O, my Mother, I am all yours!]. These are the very words St. John Paul II chose for his motto: Totus Tuus [all yours], referring to the Mother of God. 

May our beloved Foundress intercede for all of the baptized and sent, especially for those engaged in the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies who are at the service of the Holy Father in his solicitude for the proclamation of the Gospel ad gentes and the support of Young Churches in mission lands!

Father Tadeusz Nowak, OMI,
Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith

Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph”

With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.

By Vatican News

In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

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The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

A beloved, tender, obedient father

Saint Joseph, in fact, “concretely expressed his fatherhood” by making an offering of himself in love “a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home,” writes Pope Francis, quoting his predecessor St Paul VI.

And because of his role at “the crossroads between the Old and New Testament,” St Joseph “has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people” (PC, 1). In him, “Jesus saw the tender love of God,” the one that helps us accept our weakness, because “it is through” and despite “our fears, our frailties, and our weakness” that most divine designs are realized. “Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser,” emphasizes the Pontiff, and it is by encountering God’s mercy especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we “experience His truth and tenderness,” – because “we know that God’s truth does not condemn us, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us” (2).

Joseph is also a father in obedience to God: with his ‘fiat’ he protects Mary and Jesus and teaches his Son to “do the will of the Father.” Called by God to serve the mission of Jesus, he “cooperated… in the great mystery of Redemption,” as St John Paul II said, “and is truly a minister of salvation” (3).

Welcoming the will of God

At the same time, Joseph is “an accepting Father,” because he “accepted Mary unconditionally” — an important gesture even today, says Pope Francis, “in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident.” But the Bridegroom of Mary is also the one who, trusting in the Lord, accepts in his life even the events that he does not understand, “setting aside his own ideas” and reconciling himself with his own history.

Joseph’s spiritual path “is not one that explains, but accepts” — which does not mean that he is “resigned.” Instead, he is “courageously and firmly proactive,” because with “Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude,” and full of hope, he is able “to accept life as it is, with all its contradictions, frustrations and disappointments.” In practice, through St. Joseph, it is as if God were to repeat to us: “Do not be afraid!” because “faith gives meaning to every event, however happy or sad,” and makes us aware that “God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.” Joseph “did not look for shortcuts but confronted reality with open eyes and accepted personal responsibility for it.” For this reason, “he encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak” (4).

A creatively courageous father, example of love

Patris corde highlights “the creative courage” of St. Joseph, which “emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties.” “The carpenter of Nazareth,” explains the Pope, was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting in divine providence.” He had to deal with “the concrete problems” his Family faced, problems faced by other families in the world, and especially those of migrants.

In this sense, St. Joseph is “the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.” As the guardian of Jesus and Mary, Joseph cannot “be other than the guardian of the Church,” of her motherhood, and of the Body of Christ. “Consequently, every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is ‘the child’ whom Joseph continues to protect.” From St Joseph, writes Pope Francis, “we must learn… to love the Church and the poor” (5).

A father who teaches the value, dignity and joy of work

“A carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family,” St Joseph also teaches us “the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.” This aspect of Joseph’s character provides Pope Francis the opportunity to launch an appeal in favour of work, which has become “a burning social issue” even in countries with a certain level of well-being. “there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron,” the Pope writes.

Work, he says, “is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion.” Those who work, he explains, “are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us.” Pope Francis encourages everyone “to rediscover the value, the importance and the necessity of work for bringing about a new ‘normal’ from which no one is excluded.” Especially in light of rising unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pope calls everyone to “review our priorities” and to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!” (6).

A father “in the shadows,” centred on Mary and Jesus

Taking a cue from The Shadow of the Father — a book by Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński — Pope Francis describes Joseph’s fatherhood of Jesus as “the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father.”

“Fathers are not born, but made,” says Pope Francis. “A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, children “often seem orphans, lacking fathers” who are able to introduce them “to life and reality.” Children, the Pope says, need fathers who will not try to dominate them, but instead raise them to be “capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities.”

This is the sense in which St Joseph is described as a “most chaste” father, which is the opposite of domineering possessiveness. Joseph, says Pope Francis, “knew how to love with extraordinary freedom.  He never made himself the centre of things.  He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.”

Happiness for Joseph involved a true gift of self: “In him, we never see frustration, but only trust,” writes Pope Francis. “His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust.” Joseph stands out, therefore, as an exemplary figure for our time, in a world that “needs fathers,” and not “tyrants”; a society that “rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction.”

True fathers, instead, “refuse to live the lives of their children for them,” and instead respect their freedom. In this sense, says Pope Francis, a father realizes that “he is most a father and an educator at the point when he becomes ‘useless,’ when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied.” Being a father, the Pope emphasizes, “has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a ‘sign’ pointing to a greater fatherhood”: that of the “heavenly Father” (7).

A daily prayer to St Joseph… and a challenge

In his letter, Pope Francis notes how, “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]” he has “recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary.” This prayer, he says, expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph,” on account of its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you.  Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.”

At the conclusion of his Letter, he adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil.  Amen.



The Work of St. Peter the Apostle promotes, in Christian communities, the awareness of the need to develop the local clergy and consecrated life in recently founded missionary churches. It animates and coordinates missionary collaboration in all the local churches, through the offer of prayer, sacrifices and money, to support the formation of future priests and religious of the young churches, and the necessary preparation of their formators. The Work of St. Peter the Apostle was born in France (1889) at the suggestion of Mons. Cousin, Apostolic Vicar of Nagazaki, Japan. Mgr. Cousin, missionary bishop, wanted to train indigenous priests, capable of proclaiming the Gospel and making the Church grow in the midst of their own people. For this, it was necessary to build and support seminaries in the ‘mission lands’. To carry out this project, Bishop Cousin turned to Jeanne Bigard and her mother Stefanie, from a wealthy family from Normandy. Pope Leo XIII, with the Encyclical Letter Ad extremas Orientis, recommends the Work to the whole Church, and on May 3, 1922, Pius XI declared the Work of St. Peter the Apostle “Pontifical”, together with the other two precedents (Propagation of Faith and Missionary Childhood). “As can easily be seen, priestly and religious vocations blossom in the so-called mission countries as a sign and fruit of the vitality of faith and these regions are already transforming into missionary countries – underlined the Secretary General Fr Guy Bognon, PSS during the ‘General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies of 2019 -. The formation of the young people called, whose number increases every year,




The Holy Father dedicated the encyclical letter “Laudato Sì” to the theme in which he writes “our common home is also like a sister, with whom we share life, and like a beautiful mother who welcomes us into her arms”. The Pope writes “Since the middle of the last century, overcoming many difficulties, the tendency has been affirming to conceive the planet as a homeland and humanity as a people living in a common home. An interdependent world does not only mean understanding that the harmful consequences of lifestyles, production and consumption affect everyone, but, above all, ensuring that solutions are proposed from a global perspective and not only in defense of the interests of some countries. Interdependence forces us to think of a single world, a common project. But the same ingenuity used for enormous technological development fails to find effective forms of international management in order to resolve serious environmental and social difficulties. In order to tackle the underlying problems, which cannot be solved by the actions of individual countries, a global consensus is essential that leads, for example, to planning sustainable and diversified agriculture, to developing renewable and low-polluting forms of energy, to to encourage greater energy efficiency, to promote more adequate management of forest and marine resources, to ensure access to drinking water for all ”.



Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon, France, on January 2, 1873 into a family that regularly donated their contribution to the Propagation of the Faith.

At the age of seven, Thérèse was enrolled in the Work of the Holy Childhood which will leave her heart with a keen interest in the baptism of Chinese children, of which she wanted to become the spiritual godmother.

On 9 April 1888 he entered the Carmel of Lisieux taking the habit on 10 January of the following year and making his religious profession on 8 September 1890, on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

Death took her after a serious illness on the afternoon of September 30, 1897.

Author of “Story of a Soul”, published for the first time in 1898, she was canonized by Pius XI on May 17, 1925 and proclaimed Universal Patroness of the Missions , at the same time as St. Francis Xavier , by the Pope himself, on December 14, 1927.

Saint John Paul II said of her: “The road you have taken to reach this ideal of life is not that of large enterprises reserved for a few, but is instead a way within everyone’s reach, the” little way “, the road of confidence and total trust in the grace of the Lord. It is not way to trivialize, as if it were less demanding. It is actually demanding, as the Gospel always is. But it is a way permeated with that sense of trusting abandonment to divine mercy, which makes light even the most arduous commitment of the spirit “, ( Homily for the proclamation as” doctor of the church “of St. Pietro – Sunday 19 October 1997).