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Leadership of Gabon’s Port-Gentil Diocese Issues Guidelines for Year of St. Joseph

St. Joseph and the Christ child.

The leadership of Gabon’s Diocese of Port-Gentil has issued pastoral orientations to guide the people of God in the Ecclesiastical See throughout the Year dedicated to St. Joseph.

In a letter addressed to Catholics in all Parishes of the Diocese, Christians and people of goodwill, Bishop Eusebius Chinekezi Ogbonna Managwu says, “The Jubilee of St. Joseph is to be celebrated in all the parishes of the Diocese of Port-Gentil with a number of activities including prayers, conferences, prayer to St. Joseph, rosary to St. Joseph, Litany to St. Joseph, Novena to St. Joseph, a pilgrimage to St. Joseph Parish in Omboué.”

“For this purpose, plenary indulgences will be granted until December 8, 2021 to all those who meet the usual conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Pope's intentions,” Bishop Ogbonna adds in the February 3 letter obtained by ACI Africa.

He continues, “The faithful, by participating in the Year of St. Joseph with a soul detached from all sin, will be able to obtain the indulgence through various modalities that the Penitentiary enumerates in the decree.” 

“Those who meditate for at least thirty minutes on the prayer of the Our Father, or who participate in a spiritual retreat even for a day, which includes a meditation on St. Joseph, will be able to benefit from this special gift,” Bishop Ogbonna adds.

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The 61-year-old Gabonese Bishop further says, “The virtue of justice, practiced by Joseph, is the basis of mercy and is the mercy of God who brings true justice to its fulfilment.”

The Local Ordinary of Port-Gentil goes on to recommend, “Reciting the Rosary in the family and between fiancés is one of the ways of obtaining this gift.”

“Saint Joseph was the husband of Mary, the adoptive Father of Jesus and the guardian of the family of Nazareth, where his vocation blossomed. Christian families are invited to recreate the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was lived in the Holy Family,” Bishop Ogbonna explains in the February 3 letter.

The Bishop who has been at the helm of the Port-Gentil Diocese since 2016 encourages youth in search of decent jobs to “confidently turn to the craftsman of Nazareth to find a job and make it worthy for all.”

The youth, he says, “will be able to obtain the plenary indulgence, extended also to those who daily entrust their work to the protection of St. Joseph.”

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The Gabonese Bishop invites members of the Clergy under his jurisdiction to “offer themselves with a voluntary and generous spirit to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and often administer Holy Communion to the sick.”

Pope Francis proclaimed the “Year of Saint Joseph” to run from 8 December 2020 to 8 December this year, calling upon Catholics across the globe to celebrate “a man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

In the Apostolic Letter titled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes St. Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

As part of their program to celebrate the year of St. Joseph, Catholics in Kenya’s Diocese of Ngong have been invited to participate in monthly reflections on the patron Saint of the Universal Church.

“There will be monthly reflections about St. Joseph led by the Priests. Since we are a mission land with few Priests, in some places, the Catechists will lead the reflections,” the Pastoral Coordinator of Ngong Diocese, Fr. Boniface Mukwe told ACI Africa January 25 adding, “We want the people to know who St. Joseph is, to imitate him, and to learn from his life.”

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In Uganda, an initiative by children at Namugongo Catholic Parish of Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese to mark the Year of St Joseph has spread to other Parishes across the East African country, attracting other children who are eager to learn about the Saint.

In an interview with ACI Africa February 3, the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) Children animator at the Ugandan Parish, Dorothy Atuhaire Ssonko, who started the initiative in which children are invited to share weekly reflections on St. Joseph, envisions “a child whose relationship with St. Joseph and Jesus will grow immensely, a child who will have Jesus as their closest friends through the intercession of St. Joseph.”

The children’s celebrations of the Year of St. Joseph in a program that is aired every Sunday on the Uganda Catholic Television (UCTV) was born at the onset of COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda.