NEWS FROM THE JOSEPHINUM
Seminarians in the “House of Joseph” Celebrate Solemnity of Patron
Saint Joseph has always held a special place within the community of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Translated from Latin, Josephinum means “House of Joseph.” The earthly father of Jesus was the special patron of its founder, Monsignor Joseph Jessing, as well as patron of the orphanage and seminary he founded.
Today, more than a century later, Saint Joseph is still at the heart of the seminary. “Seminarians at the Josephinum are formed in the House of Saint Joseph, just as Jesus himself was,” said Father Steven Beseau, Rector/President. “Our vision is to send out into the world holy priests who are rooted in Jesus Christ and look to Saint Joseph as their model and special patron.”
On December 8, 2020, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis declared the coming one-year period as the Year of Saint Joseph, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph being named by Blessed Pius IX as the patron of the Universal Church. The Josephinum’s celebration of Saint Joseph Day on March 19 – including a Eucharistic procession and a communal consecration to Saint Joseph – marked the significance of this unique year.
Thirty-three days prior to March 19, seminarians began the preparation for consecrating themselves to Saint Joseph, as described in Consecration to Saint Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Father Donald Calloway, MIC. Each they, the men dedicated time to exposition on one of the invocations in the Litany of Saint Joseph, readings on Saint Joseph, and recitation of the Litany of Saint Joseph.
“I felt called to grow in greater devotion to Saint Joseph and to remind myself of his powerful intercession,” said seminarian Brother Joseph Logan of the Fathers of Mercy. “Saint Joseph is a saint whom I forget about often; I forget that he spent so many years under the same roof as Our Lord and Our Lady. I am asking Saint Joseph to help me give myself more fully to Our Lady so that she can lead me ever closer to her son, Jesus.”
In his book, Father Calloway, the keynote speaker for the Diocese of Columbus 2021 Catholic Men’s Conference, describes what it means for a person to be consecrated to Saint Joseph: “You acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him…You entrust yourself entirely into his paternal care so that he can help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to Saint Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God. The person who consecrates himself to Saint Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness” (5).
The seminarians’ 33-day preparation was led by Father Brett Brannen, Director of Spiritual Formation. “This experience revealed itself to be extremely powerful for the seminarians, “he said. “The purpose was to help them reflect upon this great saint in a concentrated way, leading to their consecration of themselves and our seminary to Saint Joseph.”
Seminarian Eric Ruiz (Diocese of Oakland) learned much about Saint Joseph while preparing for the consecration. “It helped me spiritually by finding a new form of father figure, which through him has shown me what a true man should be,” he said.
College seminarian Peter Scheck (Diocese of Gallup) is drawn closer to Jesus in the Eucharist through his devotion to Saint Joseph. “Most English translations of the Bible translate the angel's second message to Joseph something like this: ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you.’ (Mt. 2:13),” he said. “But in the Greek, what the angel says is isthi ekei which means be there. Joseph’s role, his identity, is to be there – to be with, and present to, Jesus and His mother. Devotion to Joseph is important because he reminds me that I was literally created to be with Jesus, to be present to Jesus Present. Devotion to Joseph always points to devotion to Jesus Present in the Eucharist.”
Events on the evening of March 19 began with Exposition and Evening Prayer in Saint Turibius Chapel – the seminary’s main chapel. At the close of Vespers, a Eucharistic procession exited the chapel, encircled the campus outdoors, then reentered the building and proceeded to Saint Joseph Chapel in the Theology wing. There, special prayers and the Litany of Saint Joseph were led by Father Beseau, and seminarians voiced in unison their formal act of filial entrustment.
“We ended our procession in the Chapel of Saint Joseph, in the House of Joseph, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, in the Year of Saint Joseph – the first in 2000 years,” reflected Father Brannen. “I think, for the Josephinum, this is not a coincidence; it is Providence. I believe that this has been and will be a very significant year for this seminary.”
A video of the Josephinum’s Eucharistic Procession and Consecration may be found on Facebook: The-Pontifical-College-Josephinum or Instagram: @pontifical.college.josephinum.