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Leadership of Cameroon’s Buea Diocese Issues Guidelines for Year of St. Joseph

A detail from Joseph with the Child and the Flowering Rod, by Alonso Miguel de Tovar (1678–1752).

The leadership of Cameroon’s Buea Diocese has issued pastoral orientations to guide the people of God in the Episcopal See in marking the Year dedicated to St. Joseph.

In his letter addressed to Catholics in Parishes of the Diocese, Christians and people of goodwill, Bishop Bishop Michael Miabesue Bibi says the Year of St. Joseph “calls for a deeper understanding of the great spiritual personality of the Foster Father of Jesus and of his mission in the work of salvation.”

“It is a year of grace but also a year of hard work to better live with the heart of the father, after the example of Saint Joseph the faithful, courageous, gentle and responsible spouse, father ever watchful over the growth of the Child Jesus,” Bishop Bibi adds in the March 12 letter shared with ACI Africa.

The Cameroonian Bishop further says that during the year that started on 8 December 2020, the people of God under his pastoral care will “have the opportunity to commit themselves, with prayer and good works, to obtain, with the help of St Joseph, head of the heavenly Family of Nazareth, comfort and relief from the serious human and social tribulations that besiege the contemporary world today.”

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.”

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In the Apostolic Letter titled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), the Holy Father 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.

In the March 12 letter, Bishop Bibi says, “The celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 19th of March shall mark the Official Launching of the Year of Saint Joseph for the Diocese of Buea at the Co-Cathedral Site with Holy Mass at 9 a.m.”

The announced celebration has been preceded by the ongoing Novena to St. Joseph that started on March 10, and expected to conclude on the eve of the official launch, March 18.

The celebration of the year of St. Joseph is expected to be organized in five distinctive periods, the first of these periods having started on February 19, the 49-year-old Cameroonian Bishop says.

During the period, Bishop Bibi explains in his March 12 letter, “Individuals and groups are encouraged to go on pilgrimages, perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy and to pray within the family.”

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“Christians are encouraged to pray for Young People within the family, go on pilgrimages at the various centres indicated and perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” Bishop Bibi says.

He indicates that “a pilgrimage day with St. Joseph for all Priests is expected to be organized,” adding that “Christians are encouraged to pray for their Priests within the family.”

“The Plenary Indulgence is granted under the customary conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayers according to the Holy Father's intentions) to the faithful who, with a soul detached from any sin, shall participate in the Year of Saint Joseph, in the occasions and with the modalities indicated by this Apostolic Penitentiary,” the Local Ordinary of Cameroon’s Buea Diocese further says.

In February, the leadership of Gabon’s Diocese of Port-Gentil also issued pastoral orientations to guide the people of God throughout the Year dedicated to St. Joseph.

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.

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“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.”

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