Hammond parish celebrates patron of Universal Church

HAMMOND - St. Joseph is the patron of the Universal Church, unborn children, fathers, workers, travelers, immigrants and a happy death. He is the patron of my parish in downtown Hammond. As we approach his feast day on March 19, our parish family will again gather to celebrate his watching over us since our inception in 1879. 
We will be having a Mass celebration beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner in our parish hall downstairs after church. We look forward to this gathering as we continue our Lenten journey which culminates with the celebration of Easter on March 31.
What little we know of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, comes from scripture. We know that he was a working man, a carpenter by trade, because skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” (Matt 13:55) He wasn’t a rich man for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised, he offered two turtle doves or two pigeons, which was allowed for those who couldn’t afford to offer a lamb. (Luke 2:24) Despite his humble profession and of meager means, we know that he comes from royal lineage, because both Luke and Matthew point to his descent being from David, the greatest king of Israel. (Matt 1:6) and (Luke 3:31) 
We know that Joseph was a compassionate man, because when he was betrothed to Mary and he found out that she was pregnant, he was going to divorce her quietly instead of exposing her to shame and the cruelty of Jewish law. 
Before he does this, however, an angel of the Lord comes and tells him in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1: 20-21) “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” (Matt 1: 24) Later an angel appeared in a dream and told Joseph that his family was in danger, so Joseph immediately departed and took them to Egypt where they would be safe. He returned with his family only when Herod had died, and it was safe to do so.
Joseph is again mentioned when he and Mary find Jesus in the Temple, after searching for him with great anxiety for three days. (Luke 2:48) Joseph is not mentioned in Jesus' public ministry, and it is believed that he died before this time. Joseph loved Jesus and his wife Mary, and he is the perfect example for us to emulate.
We at St. Joseph parish in Hammond, throughout our 145-year history, have looked to our patron saint for guidance. This continues with our Novena prayer to St. Joseph which begins after Mass on March 10, and concludes on March 18 at 6:30 p.m. May St. Joseph continue to intercede for all who look to him for help, and through his foster son Jesus, and may you and yours have a blessed St. Joseph Feast Day.

Deacon Dedelow was ordained a permanent deacon on June 4, 2011 at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels. He was then assigned to St. Joseph and St. John Bosco parishes in Hammond in 2011. He has been active in the community for many years, including holding the position as mayor of Hammond for a time.