John Paul II´s Address Before Angelus

Points to "School" of Nazareth on Eve of St. Joseph´s Feast

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 18, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square for the Angelus.



Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Tomorrow, March 19, we will celebrate the feast of St. Joseph. In the heart of Lent, the liturgy points to this great saint as an example to follow and a protector to invoke.

In the first place, St. Joseph is a model of faith for us. Like Abraham, he always lived in an attitude of total abandonment to divine Providence, and, because of this, he offers us an encouraging example, especially when we are asked to trust God´s "word," without seen his plan clearly.

Moreover, we are called to imitate him in the humble exercise of obedience, a virtue that shines in him by way of determined silence and hiddenness. How precious the "school" of Nazareth is for contemporary man, deceived by a culture that all too often exalts appearance and success, autonomy and a false concept of individual liberty! How much need there is, on the contrary, to recover the value of simplicity and obedience, of respect and of the loving search for God´s will!

2. St Joseph lived at the service of his Spouse and divine Son; thus he became an eloquent witness for believers that to "serve" is to "reign." To him must look especially for useful training in life those who in the family, school, and Church have the responsibility of being "fathers" and "guides." I am thinking especially of fathers, who, in fact, celebrate their feast day on the day dedicated to St. Joseph. I am also thinking of all those whom God has placed in the Church to exercise a spiritual paternity. And, among these, allow me to mention the new bishops whom I will have the joy of ordaining tomorrow in St. Peter´s Basilica. I ask you to pray for them and for all the pastors of the Church.

May St. Joseph, whom the Christian people invoke with confidence, always guide the steps of God´s family [and] help in a singular way all those who exercise the role of fatherhood, either physical or spiritual. May Mary, Virgin Spouse of Joseph and Mother of the Redeemer, accompany our invocation and intercede for us.

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At the conclusion of the Angelus, the Holy Father said: "I express special wishes to all fathers, and am happy to support the ´Adopt a Father´ campaign, promoted by the Committee of Catholics United for a Civilization of Love. This is a new form of long-distance adoption that, through the direct mediation of missionaries, makes it possible to ensure dignified work for heads of families in poorer countries. My heartfelt blessing to this initiative, which helps families to remain united and contributes to create a world of greater fraternity and solidarity.
[Translation by ZENIT]