by Rita Wall
THE Pope sees renewed significance in St Joseph's life as the Church approaches the third Christian millennium. In a papal letter published this week, the Pope says "Joseph serves as a model for the entire Christian community, whatever the condition and duties of each of its members may be".
Writing a century after Pope Leo XIII's Quam quam Pluries in praise of St Joseph, Pope John Paul II offers his own reflections as part of the veneration given to St Joseph over the centuries.
Pope John Paul presents
Joseph as a pilgrim of faith in his marriage, an example for Christian fathers and husbands and a teacher of the value of work and prayer. In his family life Joseph knew the joys and cares of any father John Paul stresses. He shows Joseph the carpenter as the teacher of Jesus and teacher of all of the value of work.
The silence of Joseph is also evidence of the depth of his interior life, John Paul feels. He presents the saint as achieving "an ideal harmony in apparent tension between the active and the contemplative life. . . only possible for those who possess the
perfection of charity".
The Pope recalls that in 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St Joseph to be "Patron of the Universal Church". As the third Christian millennium approaches the Holy Father asks all to learn from Joseph's participation in Christ's mission to the world: "This mission is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate."