St Joseph and Jim Susi pray for us

March 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm

On St Joseph’s Feast  Day,  some students would spread out table clothes on the cafeteria table, light candelabra and bring in elaborate meals.  These were the Italian students at my high school celebrating their heritage.  It always falls shortly after St Patrick’s Day.   Wikepedia indicates that the celebrations originated in Sicily when the intercessory prayers of St Joseph were credited with ending a drought.  I know that we had a lot of Sicilians at Fenwick, but I have always associated the celebration with the larger Italian family.   In retrospect, I appreciate the Catholic culture that I experienced growing up in a bit of an Irish/Italian/Polish ghetto  while being educated in the Catholic school system.  But I digress…St Joseph is a patron saint for a few groups.

St Joseph the Worker  is the patron saint of laborers.  The Catholic Worker includes him on its mast head and also has one of its original homes named after him.  Of course, we always view him as a carpenter.  It is just as likely that he was a masonry worker.  A humble common laborer.  Probably living at a subsistence level like so many masonry workers in India.

He is also the patron saint of a good death which I learned  on St Joseph’s Feast Day shortly before another wonderful Italian  brother,  Jim Susi, entered the afterlife.  I happened to attend a noon hour Mass at the Cathedral  a few years ago and the priest shared Joseph’s role  for the dying as part of his homily.  I realized at that Mass that Jim had fought the good fight, but was not going to make it.  He was a Navy Seal and fought a terrible cancer  to the bitter end only accepting death a few days before he died.

Of course, Joseph was also  the father of Jesus.  We do not know much about him from the Gospel narratives, but he who knows the son,  will know the father.  Don’t all of us sons find it spooky sometimes how we mirror our fathers?   I am sure  that there must have been much of Joseph in Jesus since  we all learn how to relate to the world from our fathers and mothers.

St Joseph and brother Jim Susi pray for us that we may reflect the faithfulness and love of our Heavenly Father.  Pray that we may possess the wisdom of God  to see others and the world as God does…grounded in God’s love.  Pray for us now and at  the hour of our death. Amen.