Parishioners pray during the Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph celebrated in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton.
Parishioners pray during the Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph celebrated in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton.
Ruth and Joe Woodcock realized another meaningful way they could relate to St. Joseph.

They knew St. Joseph has a litany of titles – spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus – and that he serves as the patron saint of the Universal Church, of a happy death and of workers, among others. But what they found especially heartening to hear were phrases on how St. Joseph “speaks no words in the Gospel” and “carried out his mission in silence.”

Silence is something the Woodcocks, members of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton, have had to learn about on a deeper, personal level since Joe was diagnosed with an aggressive form throat cancer in December. Joe’s treatment in the past three months included 10 weeks in the hospital, surgery to remove his voice box and chemotherapy.

“We’ve been praying a lot of St. Joseph Novena’s,” said Ruth, noting that St. Joseph tops the list of numerous saints to whom they and many of their family members, friends and fellow parishioners pray to and ask to intercede on her husband’s behalf. But with Joe being named after St. Joseph, “we pray to him constantly,” she said.

“I pray to St. Joseph every morning,” Joe Woodcock shared by handwriting his quotes. “If St. Joseph can’t help me beside God, nobody can.”

Like the Woodcocks, it was expressions of faith and deep devotion to St. Joseph that drew faithful to attend the specially planned 12:15 p.m. Mass that Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio celebrated on March 19 for the Solemnity of St. Joseph in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton.

In his homily, Msgr. Gervasio spoke of the “many lessons that St. Joseph teaches us” even though very little is known about him and the Scriptures do not provide any details.

Along with how St. Joseph “carried out his mission in silence,” St. Joseph always remained in the background, never seeking to be in the limelight or receive the praise of others, Msgr. Gervasio said, “We might call him the patron of the hidden life.”

Msgr. Gervasio drew a comparison between  the way the majority of his parishioners most likely lead their lives to the way St. Joseph led his life, saying, “So much of our routine, so much of what we do each day will never make the headlines, will never receive the acclaim of the public.

“If we think that what we do, day in and day out doesn’t matter, think of St. Joseph,” Msgr. Gervasio continued. “It is not so important that our deeds, our words be seen or broadcast to have value or importance in the sight of God. God does not measure our virtue by the fanfare we receive. He does not weigh our merits by a popularity poll.”

Msgr. Gervasio reminded the faithful that when thinking about Jesus, most often the thoughts are directed toward his words, miracles, his Passion, Death and Resurrection.

“But we should never forget that before all of that, Jesus lived a simple, hidden life, in a small village, far away from all the great people, great cities and great events,” Msgr. Gervasio said. “In Jesus’ hidden life, he lived at Joseph’s side. It was a life that was simple, not spectacular and very ordinary.

“That is how most of our lives are lived,” Msgr. Gervasio said. “Let St. Joseph teach us that in the day to day ordinary routine of life, our loving and merciful Lord sees the extraordinary.”