PROVIDENCE — In the documents of the Second Vatican Council, only the Blessed Mother is mentioned more than St. Joseph. Many of the Church’s canonized saints were devoted to him.
“This silent man, this man about whom little is known, has countless cathedrals, shrines, schools, cities, streets, millions of peoples, churches and temples named in his honor,” said Father Joseph Brice, the assistant pastor of St. Patrick Church in Providence.
Father Brice spoke on St. Joseph as a model for young men during a talk May 1 — the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker — at St. Augustine Church in Providence. The talk was sponsored by the Men of St. Joseph and the Knights of Columbus of St. Augustine Church.
Father Brice said it was “a pleasure” for him to speak about his own patron saint, who he noted lived “a humble, simply ordinary life” and who met great challenges in his life with courage, humility and a deep faith in God.
“He did not cave,” Father Brice said. “He placed himself in the service of God, and because of that he is the best example for young men, for husbands and for fathers.”
St. Joseph’s everlasting impact as a husband and father — despite the fact that he is never quoted in Sacred Scripture — continues to offer important lessons for Christian men more than two thousand years after his death.
“Though very few may know our names, though you may never go viral, though you may not be very educated, though your life may be lived in the shadows... If you allow God to take the driver’s seat in the car of your life, your reward will be guaranteed,” Father Brice said.
“Your name will be written in the book of life. Your legacy will be extensive and expansive,” Father Brice added. “You can still have an impactful and influential life, because it is not about how well known you are, it is about how much you cooperate with the Lord.”
St. Joseph also models for men the importance to “do your job, live your vocation to its fullest magnitude,” to work well and to be faithful in season and out of season, whether it is easy or difficult.
The importance of fathers is a particular important lesson from St. Joseph’s life, said Father Brice, who added that many societal problems — such as high school dropouts, crime, suicide, behavioral disorders and a loss of religious faith — can be linked to absentee fathers.
“St. Joseph reminds us, my brothers, my friends, that there is no substitute for a good and loving father,” said Father Brice, who emphasized the importance of fathers setting limits for their children but also encouraging and building them up, showing kindness and admitting mistakes.
“It’s okay to say you’re sorry and start over,” Father Brice said. “Know that you don’t always get it right, but you can always learn.”
Bob Chase, from the Knights of Columbus at St. Augustine Church, said Father Brice’s talk was part of a new outreach strategy that the Knights are carrying out this year.
“We’re trying to get young fathers involved, to take leadership roles in their families,” Chase said.
John Olobri, of the Men of St. Joseph, presented Father Brice with a Men of St. Joseph T-shirt for doing “an excellent job in illuminating the characteristics and integral role that St. Joseph played during his days on earth, and now as a heavenly intercessor.
“I think his actions, though overlooked at times, say a lot about how we are supposed to be as men and as fathers,” Olobri said. “We can learn a lot from him.”