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Catholic World News

Theme of Pope’s general audience: ‘St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father’

January 05, 2022

At his January 5 general audience—the sixth in a series of Wednesday audiences on St. Joseph—Pope Francis reflected on St. Joseph as the foster father of Jesus.

Previous audiences were devoted to St. Joseph and the environment in which he lived (November 17), St. Joseph and salvation history (November 24), St. Joseph, just man and husband of Mary (December 1), and St. Joseph, man of silence (December 15), and St. Joseph, persecuted and courageous migrant (December 29). (There was no general audience on December 8, and the December 22 audience was devoted to preparation for Christmas.)

“In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now consider Joseph’s dignity as the foster-father of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary,” Pope Francis said to pilgrims assembled in Paul VI Audience Hall, according to the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “As Mary’s husband and Jesus’ legal father, Joseph had all the rights of a father, including that of naming their child.”

The summary continued:

Yet Joseph had learned from the angel that, in God’s plan, Mary’s Son was to be named Jesus, which means “the Lord saves”. Joseph’s docility to God’s will and his fatherly care for the child Jesus can teach us much about the authentic meaning of parenthood.

To be a mother or father is not simply a matter of biology; more profoundly, it entails caring for the life of a family. In this sense, one of the highest forms of parenthood is to take on the responsibility of becoming adoptive parents, prepared to welcome an orphaned or abandoned child as part of one’s own family.

Let us pray that through Joseph’s intercession, fathers of families will be given the grace to respond to their noble vocation, and that the many children in our world who long for a secure and loving home will find a welcome on the part of good and generous families.


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