Catholic Charities adopts St. Joseph as patron saint

DETROIT — St. Joseph is many things to many people: a laborer, a devoted family man, a foster father, a refugee and a protector of pregnant women and unborn children.

So the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus makes perfect sense as the patron saint of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, which offers such works of mercy and more, says CEO Dave Bartek.

“He is the ideal saint to represent the ministries of Catholic Charities,” Bartek said in a statement announcing the new patron March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. “He was a carpenter and laborer, so he is the patron of working people. He led the Holy Family into Egypt to protect the infant Jesus from those who threatened his life, and eventually returned them to Nazareth, so he is considered the patron of both refugees and immigrants like those we serve through our Hispanic and Newcomer Outreach ministry.

“He is the protector of women and children — a perfect complement for our Project Hope ministry helping expectant mothers. Another important ministry is our adoption and foster care program, for which St. Joseph is the perfect role model,” Bartek continued. “He is also known as a ‘Consoler of the Poor’ and ‘Solace of the Afflicted,’ comparable to the people in need we serve through our All Saints Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.”

Bartek said St. Joseph will be honored with candles and lilies during Catholic Charities’ annual gala April 28, and a prayer for the protection of the agency’s work was composed by Fr. Jeff Day, a CCSEM board member and deputy moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“Good Saint Joseph, just as you protected and watched over your adopted son Jesus, we ask you to watch over Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan,” reads the prayer. “May our works of mercy be an extension of your loving and compassionate arms to the vulnerable in our world today. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”