Today Pope Francis was installed as the Bishop of Rome, on this the feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. In Pope Francis’ homily he reflected on the role of St. Joseph as protector and the similarities it shares with the Petrine ministry. He also focused on the many roles that the Christian faithful have in protecting our families and the environment.
And of course, when talking about St. Joseph, it would be difficult to not speak about Mary. Below are the Marian references of Pope Francis during his Installation homily:
1. Pope Francis acknowledged the fact that St. Joseph was the spouse of the Virgin Mary. He commented quite nicely on Joseph’s role as spouse: “As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.”
2. He spoke about St. Joseph as the protector of Jesus and Mary and by extension, to the entire Church. He quoted Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.”
3. Pope Francis also elaborated on the role of the Bishop Rome as protector. He said his role is “To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!”
From the very first days of Francis’ pontificate he has constantly spoke of Mary’s role as protectress. Today he developed the theme of protector with St. Joseph and extended it to his own ministry. He said he is protect Jesus with Mary. Over the years we have seen Jesus protected through dogmatic declaration regarding Mary such as her Divine Motherhood. Each of the dogmas of the Church reveals a truth about Jesus and allows us to better understand Jesus through Mary. The Holy Father as a protector of Jesus though is also the protector of Mary, because he will defend her from the attacks by coming her to assistance by preaching and defending Mary through teaching and homilies.
4. He implored the Holy Spirit through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the intercession of Sts. Joseph, Peter and Paul, and Francis.
Read the full homily here.