I met John in 1996, just a year after the failure of my non-sacramental marriage. I was treading water, spiritually, financially and emotionally.
future loomed before me. I had a teaching degree, but no job. I had three
children (seven, nine, and eleven). My only option was to live in my parents’
basement and see if I could gain some ground by working on a master’s degree.
Grace has a way of showing up when we are at the end of ourselves. And that’s what happened in graduate school. That’s where I met John. Eventually, we married and began rebuilding a family out of the ashes.
I look back over the years now and realize just what a gift John has been in my life. Like so many other step-fathers (and step-mothers), he has taken on a responsibility he did not have to accept. He has become a father to my children and given them the most normal childhood one can possibly have when their biological parents are not both under the same roof.
Daily, John has picked up this unique cross and carried it with a very steady hand. In many ways, he has been my
. He could have
married a woman without children, a woman without a non-sacramental marriage in
her past. He could have remained unmarried and spent his salary on himself
rather than on orthodontia bills and school clothes. Instead, he has given his
entire life to making a family where there was very little hope for a normal
future. He has offered advice and meted out discipline, always carefully
weighing in the balance the fact that he is not the biological father, and yet
he is a father. He is a St. Joseph
in this family. And I know that Our Lord’s beloved foster father, the real St. Joseph , must be interceding
on John’s behalf. St. Joseph
Blended families need St. Joseph. We need someone to carry our burdens to the Lord and intercede for our children. We need someone to pick up the pieces when we are at the end of ourselves. We need a saint who is given to the mission of helping the family to endure the present age and triumph in its effort to raise saints for the
Kingdom of God is
that saint. As Pope John Paul II said, " St. Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright
guardian of those entrusted to his care.” Saint
He is a patron saint for every family and most especially for every step-parent and non-traditional family that is trying very hard to create a home following their own cataclysmic familial event.
In June of 2013, in his first decree of a liturgical nature, Pope Francis announced that St. Joseph would be added to Eucharistic prayers II, III, and IV. I believe Pope Francis understands that we are living in an age of blended families, single-parent families, and step-parenting, and that we desperately need St. Joseph’s intercession. May God bless the step-parents and all blended families!