In Pope Francis’ homily preached at his inauguration mass on Tuesday 19th March 2013 at St Peter’s Square, Rome the Holy Father described how Saint Joseph had exercised his role as a protector of Jesus Christ, Mary and the universal church with ‘an unfailing presence and utter fidelity’ and responded to his calling by being “constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own….God does not want a house built by men, but by faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house. but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a ‘protector’ because his is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will: and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons trusted to his safekeeping.”
Pope Francies called on us to learn from St Joseph how to respond to God’s call so that we can recognise our own vocation as protectors. “Protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those who are most fragile and who are often on the periphery of our heart. it means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness.”
The Holy Father concluded his homily speaking of the service that the bishop of Rome is asked to perform and called upon us all to pray for him in his minisry and to ‘protect with love all that God has given us’.