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Family Man

Heloo friends! It's been a long time no blog post, so I will try to cover some of our church bound comings and goings so far this year.

Feeling the heat Here in the U.K. we are experiencing what used to be called a bit of a Heat Wave; more recently they changed its pronouns to "global warming" to make people feel guilty about acquiring a sun tan and enjoying a lolly-ice or two.

The English weather changes so rapidly that a period of sunshine is something to celebrate; and a few bob can be saved by hanging out the washing rather than having to use the dryer. As to restoring statuary in such heat, it has its plusses and minuses - while any gilding will cure faster, plaster repairs are best kept cool.

Back to work This week we were awakened by a flock of tilers on the roof opposite ours who squawked the lyrics to "I did it my way". I always feel I should go and offer some libation to those who work by the toil of their hands in the heat of the sun; yet their being in such good voice indicated that they had refreshments to hand. Yet this morning David was off to Scotland with a 4 a.m. start, and my knowing he will be in a hot cab for several hours in this heat I prayed someone will have a mind to offer him a drink when he arrives. We always appreciate when a considerate soul will make us a cuppa on arrival. It is why we like to offer our own visitors a tea or coffee - or an ice lolly if appropriate! I needn't have worried. David rang me around lunchtime to say that everyone was pleased with the restoration, and that he was generously plied with cups of coffee!

Restoration of St. Joseph statue for Fr. D
Restoration of St Joseph statue for Fr D

The statue David delivered was approx. 52 imperial inches tall, that is 133 cm high to those who have been decimilised. Previously the statue had undergone many re-paintings during its 70 plus years.

My colour preferences for holy statues is to keep them true to their liturgical significance. Now we are all prone to saying things that were not actually what we meant - and once upon a time I had to hold on to my seat (pew), when I heard the homilist inform that he didn't like depictions of St Joseph holding a soppy lily, preferring him to hold the instruments of a carpenter. In effect he was saying that one depiction had more merit than the other, yet the two depictions relate to two different but equally efficacious titles by which Catholics honour St Joseph.

My introduction to St Joseph

I personally acquired my affection for St Joseph gradually. The fact that he has no recorded words in scripture made it difficult to relate to him when I was young. I recognised something of St Joseph in my dad, who worked as a plasterer, which is heavy work, and in him I saw reflected the dedication of a hard working man for the good of his family.

St Joseph's medal

As a young mum I would occasionally attend what is referred to as a "Healing Mass", which the saintly Fr Jimmy Collins would celebrate once a month in my local area. One of his assistant priests was Fr John Gough (of holy memory). Perchance he heard my confession during that time, and at the end asked how many were in my family. He gave me five medals of St Joseph, one for each of my children, and of course one for David and myself. Fr Gough clearly had great devotion to St Joseph himself, and through his earnest presentation of the medals, I began to deepen my own interest in St Joseph. Since then my devotion to St Joseph has grown, and its my belief that his intercession has obtained for us a miracle or two, thanks to the faithful Fr Gough. (May he rest in eternal peace.)

Iconography of St Joseph Family man

Statue of Saint Joseph Foster father of the saviour
Statue of St Joseph Foster father of the saviour

I thought green would be a good fit for this large statue of St Joseph, because it is a liturgical colour symbolising anticipation and hope of resurrection. The artist has depicted Joseph holding a lily flower and carrying the infant Jesus in the crook of his arm. Jesus sleeps peacefully under Joseph's protection, whilst holding a small wooden cross in anticipation of his future crucifixion. The small cross reminds us that by the passion and death of Jesus, we can hope to share in his resurrection. As foster father of Jesus, St Joseph protected the infant Jesus from the threats of King Herod, and is also the protector of the mystical body of Christ, which is the church. Therefore, the lily held by Joseph is no namby pamby blossom - it is a staff of authority, as it was given him to be Father and protector of the Holy family. The lily is also complementary to his title "terror of demons" as it represents Joseph's purity, which demons cannot withstand. How much do we need the intercession of St Joseph in these times when families are in such need of strong fathers, and protection from the unholy influences present in today's world.

St Joseph, pray for us! St Joseph has many titles as are named in his litany. This video also features a rather lovely statue of St Joseph.


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