Did Someone say 'Road Trip'?

by Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC

We made it through our year dedicated to St. Joseph. I hope it's been a spiritually fruitful time for you and all those for whom you pray.

If you're just tuning in, we members of the Holy Souls Sodality declared 2019 a year in which we especially turn in prayer to that common carpenter from Nazareth whom God the Father entrusted with the protection of His Only Begotten Son.

Why St. Joseph? Because we who have a devotion to the souls of Purgatory have a special friend in St. Joseph. After all, he's the patron saint of a happy death. As the Church teaches and as many saints attest, St. Joseph rushes to intercede on behalf of those in need of conversion.

Moreover, St. Joseph proved himself a powerful intercessor to our common spiritual soulmate, St. Faustina. You may recall the following words from her Diary:

Saint Joseph urged me to have a constant devotion to him. He himself told me to recite three prayers [the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be] and the Memorare once every day. He looked at me with great kindness and gave me to know how much he is supporting this work [of mercy]. He has promised me this special help and protection. I recite the requested prayers every day and feel his special protection (1203).

May our little Year of St. Joseph keep you ever mindful of this beloved saint who stands ready to aid your loved ones here on earth and the dearly departed in Purgatory.

To close out the year, I have a suggestion. As a New Year's resolution for 2020, how about you plan a pilgrimage with friends, family, or by yourself to one of North America's shrines and landmarks dedicated to St. Joseph? I have my own list of favorites (see below). Please send in your favorites.

Why make a pilgrimage? To temporarily take yourself out of your daily life; to draw closer to God; to get a foretaste of Heaven; and to immerse yourself in quietude and solace at a location suited to reflect on the more eternal questions.
Take this time to pray, to extend gratitude to God, and to ask St. Joseph to place you and your loved ones under his protection.

In these times of turmoil, we need St. Joseph, that silent witness to holiness, that solid, faithful son who continues to do God's will in humility and love.

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

Where to go?
Here are a few suggestions:
•I visit Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada, each autumn. It's cavernous. It's heavenly. And for anyone who doubts St. Joseph's power in Heaven, just marvel at the wall. It's got thousands of crutches and other artifacts left by those who were reportedly healed through his intercession.

The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy here in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, has a side chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. Indeed, St. Joseph is one of the patrons of the Marian Fathers. Many people have reported graces received through St. Joseph after prayers to him in our side chapel.

The Shrine of Saint Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey, is administered by the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Like our Shrine in Stockbridge, it has a scenic location in the hills.

The Shrine of Saint Joseph in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, is a gorgeous old church with beautiful statues and candles all over the place. Its altar, known as The Altar of Answered Prayers, was built in thanksgiving to St. Joseph for his intercession in ending an outbreak of cholera among parishioners in 1866.

Saint Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, Massachusetts, is a beautiful spiritual refuge. Administered by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, it was originally built for the French Canadian working class. It's a refuge for all ethnicities these days.

The Shrine of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer in Santa Cruz, California, is administered by the Oblates of St. Joseph. It's small and peaceful, and the Oblates' beautiful devotion to St. Joseph is quite contagious.

The National Shrine of Saint Joseph on the St. Norbert College campus in De Pere, Wisconsin, is beloved among Wisconsinites. The Norbertine Fathers, who administer the Shrine, have done excellent work to tailor devotion to St. Joseph to modern times.

The historic Saint Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, Michigan, was built in the mid-1800s to serve the Irish workers who were settling in this corner of the Wolverine State. The Shrine includes an outdoor Stations of the Cross that winds down by a lovely lake.

The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is now part of a privately owned hotel. Its miraculous spiral staircase is open to the public. Miraculous? Yes. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. The story goes that in 1878, upon completion of the chapel, a problem arose regarding access to the choir loft. A novena was made to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, and on the final day of prayer, a man showed up with a donkey and toolbox, built the elegant staircase, then disappeared. Many believe it was St. Joseph. I believe it, 100 percent.