The feast of St Joseph, March 19th, has always been a highly celebrated day in the Homes of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Traditionally, the Bishop and priests from the diocese join us for this occasion. This year, it was even more special because it marked the beginning of the ministry of Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter. In his homily at the inauguration Mass, our Holy Father spoke of St. Joseph’s vocation as a “protector” of the Holy Family and also of Christ’s mystical Body, the Church. Further on, he reflected on the sort of power that he should exercise as the Successor of Peter. He said, “Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison” (cf. Mt 25:31-46).
How providential it was that on this same day, Archbishop William Lori and several priest friends came here to St. Martin’s Home! They came for the same reason Pope Francis felt summoned – to be of service and bring joy to the elderly poor!
Our day’s celebration started with some excitement. A few minutes before Mass, while the Archbishop was vesting, our fire alarm went off, which made it necessary for us to evacuate the chapel. Thank God it was a false alarm. This whole incident gave Archbishop a beautiful opening for his homily. He smiled and said, “Whenever I come to St. Martin’s, I always receive a very, very warm welcome. Today, it was so warm that the fire alarm went off!” We were privileged to have him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass along with other priest friends for our Holy Father’s intention on this historic moment in the life of the Church. Following Mass they all rolled up their sleeves and donned aprons to serve our elderly Residents their feast day meal. This was symbolic of St. Joseph’s life of service and commitment to Christ and His Blessed Mother. Our Residents couldn’t have been more pleased with their new hosts! Doesn’t this whole act of service by our priests exemplify what our Holy Father meant when he said, “Only those who serve with love are able to protect!?”