Many are familiar with the consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary; in particular, the method made famous by St. Louis De Montfort, consisting of 33 days of preparation.
In recognition of the Church’s emphasis on St. Joseph in recent centuries, Fr. Donald Callaway, M.I.C., introduced a similar consecration to St. Joseph. Fr. Calloway’s book, “Consecration to St. Joseph – The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father,” was used by St. Sebastian Parish and includes 33 days of readings and prayers leading up to the consecration.
In collaboration with Arise Milwaukee, St. Sebastian Parish (5400 W. Washington Blvd., Milwaukee) will celebrate the Consecration to St. Joseph and Holy Hour from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will serve as the celebrant and homilist.
Little is known about St. Joseph, the father of Jesus. He is mentioned briefly in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. He is believed by some historians to have been considerably older than the Virgin Mary and to have died before Jesus’ public ministry.
Joseph was named patron of the Universal Church 150 years ago. Today, he’s held up as an example of sacrificial fatherhood and purity, and as an intercessor in healing and fighting the world’s evils.
According to Dcn. Jim Matthias, when Arise Milwaukee asked him to serve on the board of directors earlier this year, they were looking for ways to get individuals involved in the Church. Arise Milwaukee is best known for Arise Worship night, Arise Family Day and the Catholic Youth Rally.
“Since this was the year of St. Joseph, we came up with the idea to tie the consecration to a Holy Hour with Adoration. I presented the idea to my pastor, Fr. Peter Patrick Kimani, at St. Sebastian, and he was excited to bring this to the parish and open it to the archdiocese,” Dcn. Matthias said. “Thanks to Arise MKE and Pro-Life Wisconsin, we were given over 100 books to give away, and they went in the first weekend. Some people are doing it alone or as a married couple, but we also know there are families doing it where the children are involved in some of the daily readings. We started the 33-day consecration on Sept. 20 and will conclude on Oct. 22, the memorial of Pope St. John Paul II.”
In addition to Arise Milwaukee supplying the books, they used their network to get the word out about the consecration throughout the archdiocese. They are also providing a small ensemble to lead the worship music and sing traditional Adoration hymns.
For those participating in the consecration, Dcn. Matthias sent daily emails to those wanting them, which entailed the pages to read and also a short and long video message from Fr. Calloway. He also included art depicting St. Joseph in each email.
“That is probably the most fun part since there are surprisingly many different pieces out there. I will also add a quote about St. Joseph from saints and popes,” Dcn. Matthias said. “I try to encourage the readers to keep up but remind them that the readings are only the prep work for the consecration. They are still welcome to come and consecrate themselves to St. Joseph, even if they missed some days or stopped reading completely.”
Dcn. Matthias said there’s a saying that all the saints become saints due to their ability to imitate Christ in their love of God and his people, but St. Joseph best imitates God the Father.
“The book takes a look at the Litany of St. Joseph and explores why he is called various names, like Model of Workmen, Pillar of Families, Hope of the Sick and Terror of Demons,” Dcn. Matthias said. “In the exploration of the various titles, his virtues are revealed, and it should make it easier for us to imitate this great saint in our daily lives and actions.”
Because the year of St. Joseph is coming to a close, Dcn. Matthias thought inviting Archbishop Listecki, who has a great devotion to St. Joseph, would be a great way to close out the year for the archdiocese.
“St. Joseph is a person who does God’s will in action. God, who knows all beings on earth, entrusts Mary and the child Jesus to the care of this man. If that’s so, it’s not bad to entrust our lives to someone who so faithfully follows in action what God wants him to do,” Archbishop Listecki said. “When you dedicate yourself to that particular saint, you look to explore not only that saint’s life, but what that saint’s life means for you, in particular, as a Catholic, and how you can enact the virtues of that saint in your own life.”
For those who cannot attend in person, a live-stream will be available on the Facebook pages of both St. Sebastian (https://www.facebook.com/StSebsMKE/live) and Arise Milwaukee (https://www.facebook.com/AriseMilwaukee).