By Amy Julian
Director of Family Life Ministries
“I did not understand St. Joseph well enough, but that will change.”— St. John of the Cross
One hundred fifty-years after Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis authored an Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart) and declared Dec. 8, 2020 – Dec. 8, 2021, to be a Year of St. Joseph. Seven years earlier, Pope Francis had added the name of St. Joseph to several of the Eucharistic Prayers, after the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Clearly, our Holy Father is calling his flock to embrace the witness, prayers and protection of the man who was the foster father of Jesus.
On Dec. 8, during the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Peter Muhich, in union with the priests and faithful of the Diocese of Rapid City, will answer that call by closing the Year of St. Joseph with a consecration of the Diocese of Rapid City to St. Joseph.
What is a consecration, and what does this mean for our diocese? To consecrate means “to set apart”— such as a chalice or an altar are consecrated, set apart exclusively for use within the Holy Mass. Thus, a consecration to St. Joseph is the short way of saying the complete reality: that our bishop, with his spiritual authority over our diocese entrusted to him by the Lord, will be consecrating, setting apart, our diocese for Our Lord and his kingdom through the paternal intercession and care of St. Joseph. It is almost like setting a spiritual seal on our diocese — and thus, upon each one of us and our families — setting us apart from the power of the enemy and sealed by and for the goodness, truth, beauty, and life that flows from the heart of God; the same goodness, truth, beauty, and life that St. Joseph knew, experienced, and allowed to transform his masculine and paternal heart during his years of earthly pilgrimage at the side of Our Lady and Our Lord. This is an immense grace!
To prepare the faithful to fully engage in the Consecration, the diocese is sponsoring an Advent Mission, “Go to Joseph,” on Wednesday, December 1, 8, and 15. Building on previous recent “hybrid” events, the diocese will host mission events at parishes in the Black Hills that will be livestreamed on the diocesan website, to allow for the participation of as many parishes and faithful as possible. In addition, portions of those mission nights will be pre-recorded, so that parishes throughout the diocese will be able incorporate those elements of the mission into their local celebrations.
Dec.1 — Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, 6 – 7:30 p.m. “The Beauty of the Heart of St. Joseph,” Deacon Josh Lee
Dec. 8 — Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help: 5 – 6:30 p.m. “The Power of Consecration to St. Joseph/St. Joseph, Defender of the Eucharist” Homily & Consecration, Bishop Peter Muhich
Dec. 15 — Our Lady of the Black Hills: 6 – 7:30 p.m. “Pillar of Families, Glory of Home Life,” Fr. Mark McCormick.
The Mission on Dec. 8 at Cathedral will include adoration and Josephite devotions from 5 – 5:30 p.m., followed by the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Mission nights on Dec. 1 and 15 will include music, testimonies, reflections as well as adoration and Josephite Devotions. For any questions on how you might fully engage in the consecration, please contact any member of the Pastoral Ministries team at the Chancery, 605-343-3541.