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Theme of Pope’s general audience: ‘St. Joseph, patron of the good death’

February 09, 2022

At his February 9 general audience—the eleventh in a series of Wednesday audiences on St. Joseph—Pope Francis reflected on St. Joseph as the patron of a happy death.

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), St. Joseph, persecuted and courageous migrant (December 29), St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father (January 5), St. Joseph the Carpenter (January 12), St. Joseph, father in tenderness (January 19), St. Joseph, a man who ‘dreams’ (January 26), and St. Joseph and the communion of saints (February 2).

“In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now consider him as the patron of a happy death,” Pope Francis said to pilgrims assembled in Paul VI Audience Hall, according to the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “This traditional devotion was born of the Church’s meditation on Joseph’s own death, comforted by the presence of the Blessed Mother and the Lord Jesus.”

The summary continued:

Today we tend to avoid the thought of our own death, yet our faith in the Risen Jesus invites us not only to be unafraid of death, but to accept it with trust in Christ’s promises. In faith, we see death as a part of life and in turn see life itself in a different perspective. Since we will carry nothing with us to the grave, our concern should be to live lives of faith, hope and charity towards all.

The Church has always shown particular concern for the dying, offering them accompaniment and care, respecting the sacredness of life, even in its final stages, and rejecting the ethically unacceptable practices of euthanasia or assisted suicide. Through the prayers of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary, may the hour of our own death be a blessed encounter with God’s infinite mercy. For that intention, and for all the dying and those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, we joined earlier in praying the “Hail Mary”.


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