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Pope Francis declares 'Year of St. Joseph' starting Dec. 8

It's the "Year of St. Joseph" starting December 8.

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis made the declaration on the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

In an Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis described St. Joseph as an "extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience." He said his desire to speak about this "increased during these months of pandemic."

"Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble," he wrote.

"Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all," he added.

The Pope also shared a prayer to St. Joseph:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

"The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal," Pope Francis said.

The Year of St. Joseph will be celebrated until December 8, 2021. —JCB, GMA News