This Monday, May 1,st The Feast of St Joseph the worker is the 200th anniversary of the Founding of the Josephite Fathers (the Daughters of Mary and Joseph, our sister congregation, was founded just a month and a half earlier). So we are celebrating 200 years of service in Catholic Education of the young and support for their families. Our family of 24 Josephite schools in USA, Europe and Congo and about 12 parishes continue this witnessing of the face of Christ to thousands of people; even under the most difficult conditions, in the heart of the Forests of the Congo interior, thousands of children are educated and their families supported. Again, we’d like to thank you for your most generous support for our missions over the years. Also, thank you for being partners in the Gospel with the Josephites in Santa Maria and until recently in Santa Barbara and in the 70’s in Downey, LA.
During this year we will explore our Josephite Spirituality, history, and current story with you. It surprises me somewhat that very little is known in the parish about us Josephite Fathers who have served you for over 40 years in the parish and since the founding of St Joseph High. Our own Fr Mark was one of the founding fathers of the California Region of the Josephites, coming here in 1963. Over the 200 years we have had ups and downs like any religious community, but today we have, despite the uncertainties of life in the Congo, a lot of hope with over 30 young men in formation both here in USA and in Africa. At all Masses there will be a Thanksgiving prayer card for you all. We apologize that the Spanish cards have not arrived yet.
The motto of the Josephites is “Ite as Joseph” which means “Go/come to Joseph”, and our charism is summed up as being “Instruments of Mercy in the Hand of God”. Joseph is chosen as our Patron, as that just and good man God placed as guide and protector of the Holy Family.
The Founder, Constant van Crombrugghe (a canon of Gent Cathedral in Belgium), wrote on the top of the first rule written for the Brothers of St Joseph as we were first known in capital letters “FRATERNAL LOVE MUST BE THE DISTINCTIVE CHARCTER OF THE JOSPEHITES”. Whilst we are only human and sometimes fail to live up to our ideal, we wish to thank you for all the love, support and opportunities you have given us over the years to live up to our Founding charism. God bless you and God bless the Daughters of Mary and Joseph and the Josephites.
Fr Aidan Peter, as Vicar General on behalf of the Josephites