Chinese Catholics to have ‘great celebration’ for Feast of St. Joseph


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Beijing, China, Mar 19, 2010 / 01:06 am (CNA).- Chinese Catholics are preparing for the Feast of St. Joseph with "great celebration." Looking to Joseph's example as a holy man and father, religious communities are preparing for final vows and immigrant workers have been invited to church. "Humility, generosity, unconditional devotion, enlivened by a genuine spirit of service, living in poverty, absolute obedience and chastity, all these virtues that distinguish St. Joseph, which the Church celebrates on March 19, are so relevant for men today," a Beijing priest told his flock during a Lenten retreat, according to Fides.

Parishes dedicated to St. Joseph are especially preparing for the feast. The Parish of St. Joseph in downtown Beijing dates back to a church built by two Jesuit missionaries, Fr. Louis Buglio and Fr. Gabriel de Magallanes. The two were successors of pioneering missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci.

Marking the 400th anniversary of Fr. Ricci's death, the parish has tried to unite the event with the figure of St. Joseph.

The diocesan religious congregation in Beijing dedicated to St. Joseph is preparing for the final vows of some sisters to be held on the feast day, Fides reports.

Priests have invited immigrant workers to help celebrate the patron saint of workers.

"Dear brothers and sisters, workers, the Church is your home, where you are received and where you breathe spiritual oxygen not only in the days of the Feast of St. Joseph, but all year," they commented.

Fides reports that devotion to St. Joseph, the guardian of Jesus, has a long tradition in China. Every year, the feast is marked with prayers, novenas, and Eucharistic Adoration. Many parishes, seminaries, charities and schools are dedicated to him.

According to Fides, his status as patron of a "good death" is also resonant with Chinese traditions attentive to the spiritual aspects of life and death.