Bishop Fisher leads St. Joseph Day Mass
Bishop Michael Fisher blesses the blood of Christ during the Solemnity of St. Joseph at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. The Mass closed out a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph held in the Diocese of Buffalo. Photo by Nicole Dzimira
The Diocese of Buffalo closed out a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph with a Mass, appropriately, at St. Joseph Cathedral on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph.
Bishop Michael Fisher has always had a fondness for St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, because of the importance his own father had played in his life.
“My father was, in many ways, those qualities that I see in St. Joseph,” Bishop Fisher said in his homily. “I had a great father, wonderful. He was just. He was truthful. He was strong. He was smart. He was loving. I couldn’t have had a better father.”
At the pulpit, Bishop Fisher revealed that that day was also the sixth anniversary of the death of his father. Mr. Fisher died just before midnight on March 19.
“The day he was dying, I prayed to St. Joseph as we were gathered around him. I said, ‘Lord, if You’re going to take my dad, this is the perfect day to do so.’ And the Holy Spirit, I think was listening. St. Joseph in heaven was listening, and he was taken five minutes to midnight.
“So, I know on this day, in a special way, this births into the promise of our Lord’s redemption mystery. It is a day filled with much grace for all of us. And it’s so wonderful that this year the holy father has declared this to be dedicated to St. Joseph.”
He described St. Joseph as a just man because he acted in a responsible way towards each person, serving with dignity and attentiveness to the needs of those who he loved and cared for, both family and those in his community.
“He’s always that willing and faithful participant in the actions of God, even when he didn’t quite understand what God was calling him to. How he must have felt confused when he had seen, heard Mary, her situation, her condition in the midst of their marriage.”
Calling St. Joseph one of the most important patrons in the Church, Bishop Fisher said his example should be a reminder that each one of us is called to holiness by our baptism. This does not only mean carrying out extraordinary actions, but in performing our duties faithfully toward God, ourselves and others.
“His silent actions of compassion and attention to the will of God make him our hero and model. He trusted the inspirations of God and lived with the deepest faith in God. An act of charity at every turn. We would do well to imitate him.”
The noon Mass drew a nearly full cathedral, with people coming from all corners of the diocese to participate in the Mass.
This was the first time Gail Hastings from Immaculate Conception, Ransomville has visited St. Joseph Cathedral.
“I thought it was very beautiful,” she said. “The whole consecration was beautiful.”
Since early February, the diocese has taken part in a series of prayers and readings surrounding St. Joseph. Consecrating oneself to St. Joseph means an acknowledgement that he is a spiritual father, and that there is a desire to be like him. This presents an opportunity for one to entrust themselves entirely to his paternal care so that he can help the individual to acquire his virtues and become holy.
“I can’t believe I didn’t know St. Joseph that well. I can’t believe it. We’re all in love with him,” Hastings said.
“I fell in love with him,” agreed Lisa Falsetti, from Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston. “He’s a very, very, very special saint. I just feel as though I don’t have anything to worry about anymore. Just leave it to St. Joseph.”
Pope Francis has declared this to be the Year of St. Joseph. The diocese is planning a series of events and prayer opportunities leading up to the 175th anniversary of the Diocese of Buffalo’s founding in April 2022.