Q. What is the new “Year of St. Joseph” just announced by Pope Francis?
A. From time to time a pope will declare a special year to be celebrated by the universal Church as a way of focusing attention on some aspect of Catholic belief or practice. St. John Paul II, for example, declared the “Year of the Eucharist” (October 2004 to October 2005) and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI declared the “Year of St. Paul” (June 2008 to June 2009).
On Tuesday of this week, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis issued a proclamation declaring the beginning of a “Year of St. Joseph” (December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021). That day was the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as “Patron of the Universal Church” by Blessed Pope Pius IX in the decree Quemadmodum Deus. The decree of Pope Francis says that he has established a Year of St. Joseph so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.”
In addition, the Pope issued on th