Bishop’s Festival Letter is timely teaching

Before reading another paragraph of this editorial, make sure you have pulled out Bishop Jenky’s Festival Letter on St. Joseph included with this issue of The Catholic Post and — if you haven’t already read it — place it somewhere safe for future reading and reflection.

If you are a man, our level of encouragement doubles.

This teaching by our bishop is particularly timely. First, it was issued just as the church prepares to enter the season of Advent. St. Joseph is a key and sometimes overlooked figure in the Incarnation. Reflecting on his role in the life of the Holy Family, and in our lives today, is a very appropriate Advent activity. Bishop Jenky’s portrait of St. Joseph will make that familiar figure in our Nativity scenes much more understood and appreciated.

And the Festival Letter is timely at this stage of 2017 when daily headlines tell us of men behaving badly, especially in their treatment of women.

“The life of St. Joseph certainly reminds of a sacred role for males,” writes Bishop Jenky. “Like St. Joseph, men should be encouraged to embrace the virtues of their God-given masculinity.” Among the positive attributes demonstrated by St. Joseph and listed by Bishop Jenky include courage, generosity, discipline, determination, prudence, resourcefulness, and most especially a vigorous and sustaining life of faith. “He simply does whatever God asks,” observes the bishop.

Joseph cherished and protected those entrusted to his care. That makes him a role model for any age, but perhaps especially for this time when male leaders are in the news for being predatory rather than protective.

Finally, a focus on St. Joseph is always timely in the Diocese of Peoria. A dozen of our churches are under his patronage, as are a Newman Center, a medical center, a monastery, a convent, and a nursing home. Bishop Jenky reminds us that our first bishop, John Lancaster Spalding, entrusted all working people and all the works in this diocese to the prayerful care of St. Joseph.

Calling St. Joseph “a model for all men,” Bishop Jenky specially encouraged families, members of the Knights of Columbus, men’s groups, and all who work to form young men to read his letter. To that list, we add all readers of this newspaper. We are proud to include the bishop’s teaching in this issue. — Thomas J. Dermody

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