When Pope Francis proclaimed the Year of St. Joseph late in the year, he made clear the “St. Josephs” of 2020, those living hidden lives of service, “praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all,” inspired the Church’s new holy year.
“Each of us can discover in Joseph — the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence — an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” he said.
In a year that saw more than 75 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 1.67 million deaths from the virus, seeking the intercession of St. Joseph, who has been venerated for his temporal care of the Holy Family and also called upon for the grace of a happy death, was most fitting.
Catholic laity and clergy gave hidden witness to Jesus Christ through the hardships of the year, living a love for God and neighbor sometimes briefly captured by the headlines but forever kept in the heart of God.
Many Catholic priests heroically stepped forward to take on the risks to provide the sacraments, despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spotlight was on the “good guys” who made every effort to follow the Good Shepherd and care for their flocks.
With church buildings shut down for safety and out of concern for an unknown, potentially aggressive danger, many priests innovatively built drive-through “confession sheds,” livestreamed or held open-air Masses, and even offered drive-in adoration.
At St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Clayton, North Carolina, around 250 vehicles arrived by 3pm, the hour of mercy, on Divine Mercy Sunday. The “Divine Mercy Drive-In Holy Hour” featured a liturgy literally proclaimed from the parish rooftops in both Spanish and English.
“Christ can’t be locked out in this time of trial,” Father Thomas Macdonald, vice rector of the Boston Archdiocese’s St. John’s Seminary, told the Register about his own experience of acting in persona Christi, with full personal protective equipment (PPE), holy oils and cotton swabs.
“We’re going to do it as long as we’re healthy and there is a need,” he said. “It’s just what priests do.”
Read more at National Catholic Register