Fr. Rene Lopez, PSS, STL
Vice Rector, Assumption Seminary

To celebrate the 150th year of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Letter With a Father’s Heart and proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph. Both acts of the Holy Father were happily received at Assumption Seminary in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (March 19) was observed with special festivity. Himno a San José animated all the liturgical celebrations: Hoy a tus pies, ponemos nuestra vida; hoy a tus pies, ¡Glorioso San José! Escucha nuestra oración, y por tu intercession, obtendremos la paz de corazón!

First Solemn Vespers set the tone. The Himno, the Magnificat in Gregorian Chant, and the use of incense added a touch of splendor worthy of St. Joseph’s greatness—“being the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, ‘at the service of the entire plan of salvation.’ ”

With Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, as presider, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette, Bishop-elect Gary Wayne Janak, and seminary priest faculty concelebrated the Mass of the Solemnity. These are the “fathers” of those being formed at Assumption to serve in the person of Christ. St. Joseph who expressed his fatherhood in “a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home” is an inspiration to them.

After Mass, Fr. Anthony Pogorelc, PSS, gave a conference on leadership. His references to the leadership qualities of St. Joseph were taken up by the seminarians in small reflection groups. Every leader can learn from him who “never made himself the center of things. He did not think of himself but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.”

In the afternoon, the Seminary’s Life, Peace, and Justice Committee led the community in praying the Stations of the Cross. The reflections recalled Pope Francis’ words, “Every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is ‘the child’ whom Joseph continues to protect.” After the Stations, a statue of St. Joseph borne on shoulders of four seminarians was brought in procession from the Chapel to the Atrium of Flores Hall. There, Second Solemn Vespers was celebrated. A good number of seminarians who had undertaken personal preparation collectively pronounced an Act of Consecration to Saint Joseph.
The day ended with an outdoor social, a veritable fiesta. ¡Viva San José!

(All quotations are taken from With a Father’s Heart.)