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Bishop Egan urges “Christian Dads” to emulate St. Joseph as model of fatherhood and faithfulness

In a pastoral letter Bishop Philip Egan issued to “Christian Dads” to be read in all churches and chapels of the Diocese of Portsmouth, he spoke about the life of St. Joseph, the importance of fatherhood, and encouraged fathers to emulate the virtues that Saint Joseph displayed on a daily basis as the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father to Jesus Christ.

In the letter issued in conjunction with St. Joseph’s feast day (St. Joseph, Husband of Mary on March 19) he said: “It’s not an exaggeration to say fatherhood is in crisis”.

Now more than ever the world needs a standard for fatherhood and we believe that standard can be found in St. Joseph. The Bishop lamented about the rapid rise in divorce  which ends over four in 10 marriages, and to the fact that “over a million children in Britain grow up without fathers present in their lives”.

Bishop Egan said that St Joseph had played “a crucial part” in the Holy Family: he held Jesus as a newborn, played with Him in childhood, and supported Him in adolescence. St. Joseph models a protective instinct that too many men lack today. A man protects his children from harm, physical, moral and spiritual. Joseph shows forth this aspect of manhood. “He gave Jesus an inspiring example of being a man,” the bishop added.

“Above all, the self-sacrificing father-son relationship would have run so deep that in this profoundly good man, Jesus would have recognized a beautiful and resplendent icon of His heavenly Father.”

The bishop said that all men “called become fatherly”, whether or not they have biological children.  St. Joseph models this essential aspect of manhood.

Bishop Egan added that society needs to hear “the Good News of Christ about the complementarity of being male and being female, about the vocation to marriage, and about the joy of Christian family life”.

“In this battle, St Joseph, Defender of Life and Patron of Marriage, is a bright light and a brilliant example,” the bishop noted.

The bishop encouraged fathers to try and emulate Saint Joseph’s humility, courage, and obedience in being a great husband and father. He also said families might keep a picture of St Joseph in their home, organize a “St Joseph’s Table” for “the poor or the housebound”, or invoke him – “St Joseph, protect us” – while traveling.





  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    What a stretch! The bible says absolutely nothing about Joseph’s virtues as a father to Jesus, and next to nothing about his life. I can find nothing in the gospels about Joseph holding Jesus, playing with him, and supporting him in his adolescence. If it did, the article would have included scriptural support. I can just as easily assume that Joseph was a bad father who beat his son for all the inconvenience of traipsing back and forth to Egypt, and you could not use the bible to prove me wrong. Mark and John don’t even mention him and the accounts of Matthew and Luke disagree on most points regarding Jesus’ birth and childhood.

  2. Will Nier Reply

    Patrich their was no need to write down an account of the early life of Jesus with his Mom and Dad because at that time in history no one saw the need.

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      Why are there two different accounts of his birth then?
      The answer is simple, and I’ll provide it myself – it was because the author of Matthew was trying to tie OT prophecy to Jesus’ life. However he made a mistake – he used a Greek translation of the OT, and it had several errors in translation, the most critical of which was the Hebrew word “alma” meaning “young woman” was translated incorrectly to “virgin.” There was no information at all about Jesus, so the author of Matthew made it up by trying to fit the story of Jesus to the old scriptures in an attempt to sway his Jewish audience that Jesus was the real deal even though he met few if any of the Jewish qualifications for the messiah their scriptures referred to. The author of Luke piled on later, embellishing the story, while the author of Mark knows nothing about the birth and the author of John must be disputing it since he almost certainly had at least some of the prior gospels in his hands by the time he got around to writing his version (which is about a Jesus who is completely different from the other three).
      However, you basically made my point. Nobody wrote anything down, yet this Bishop Egan had no trouble making up this stuff for which no evidence exists. What else do they make up? That’s the really interesting question!

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