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st-joseph“Try a little tenderness.”

Father David Andel, JCL, says the title of the classic Otis Redding soul song might make a good unofficial theme song for the Diocese’s observance of the current Year of St. Joseph. The model that St. Joseph offers as a father is a perfect antidote for the anxiety and uncertainty of the present day. That connection is a major takeaway from “With A Father’s Heart,” the Apostolic Letter issued by Pope Francis when he declared the Papal Year in December of last year.

“Tender husbands and fathers would be nice,” says Fr. Andel, the Judicial Vicar of the Diocese. “In this world there is lack of tenderness.”

Adds Mario Martinez, Director of the Diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, “Pope Francis reminds us how St. Joseph, a Christian saint, Mary’s husband, and father of Jesus, offers marriages and families the image of a man of faith, who by the grace of God journeyed within his Holy Family in obedience and love.”

Fr. Andel and Father Cristobal Subosa, Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, are leading planning efforts for the Diocesan celebration of the Year of St. Joseph. They have developed a website https://sites.google.com/view/yearofstjoseph-dsb/home that includes a schedule of events, activities, prayers, church documents, scripture passages, and music and art.

“There are a lot of things happening in the next few months,” Fr. Andel says. “The website can be a place to plug into these events.”

The unofficial kickoff of the Year of St. Joseph will be a Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral on March 19, celebrated by Bishop Alberto Rojas. Fr. Andel and Fr. Subosa’s planning group is coordinating the Mass in collaboration with the Diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.

The website invites local Catholics to consider making a pilgrimage to one of the six parishes or missions in the Diocese that bear St. Joseph’s name. The parishes are in Upland, Fontana, Barstow, Big Bear and Loma Linda, with a Mission in Soboba. Also described on the website are indulgences granted by the Holy See for acts of penance made during the Year of St. Joseph.

The Papal Year comes as the Diocese begins anew under Bishop Rojas as the third Ordinary of the Diocese. Fr. Andel says that Bishop Rojas is “in a sense, a father of his priests,” and that the Year of St. Joseph invites the Bishop to deepen is relationship with the Presbyterate.

“Bishop Rojas is new, he’s looking for feedback and dialogue,” Fr. Andel says. “This year is a good opportunity to look at how we’ve done things.”

It’s also an opportunity, he adds, for the many fathers in the Diocese to ask themselves, honestly, “how can I be a better Dad?”