By Dave Jolivet, Editor
WOODS HOLE — On May 1, the tiny church building dedicated to St. Joseph in Woods Hole provided, what Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., called, “An appropriate place to celebrate the memory of St. Joseph,” because the cozy confines “connect with St. Joseph’s humility and simplicity.”
He told the small congregation at the church and those watching the Mass on live-stream, “This is my first time coming to this beautiful, tiny church. It is a joy and a pleasure to be here.”
The Mass was celebrated to remember St. Joseph the Worker, during this year of St. Joseph.
Bishop da Cunha, in his homily, stressed four major points to contemplate on the memorial; the first being St. Joseph’s example, saying we must imitate “St. Joseph’s humility, service, work, providing for his family, and his faithfulness to God, to his spouse, his Son, his Jewish heritage and his fidelity.”
Next the point shared by the bishop was St. Joseph’s patronage. “We should turn to him for his protection over us, his prayers for us, interceding for us, watching over us; someone like a friend in Heaven we can turn to.”
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., visited the Mary Garden following a Mass on May 1 at St. Joseph Church in Woods Hole where he lauded the virtues and example of St. Joseph. (Photo by John E. Kearns Jr.)
The bishop told the faithful that concentrating on St. Joseph’s example and patronage will help us to “Complete the work God sent us to do,” leading to the third key — “Now it’s time for our share of the work,” Bishop da Cunha said. “St. Joseph did his share already, and he is still doing that from Heaven. But we have some work to do on earth.”
The fourth major point was that we, as Catholic faithful, have to pause and ask ourselves, “What is the work I need to complete? What is the work God has entrusted to me? First it is the work of our own Sanctification; and the work of being witnesses to the faith to other people.”
The bishop said that with St. Joseph, it was never about him, it was always about Jesus. In the common phrase, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” the bishop said, “Joseph is happy to come after Jesus and Mary.”
The bishop explained that the Church has various levels of celebrations of the Mass: solemnities, feasts, memorials, and optional memorials. He said the St. Joseph the Worker Mass celebration was an optional memorial. “What caught my attention was the word ‘memorial,’ because that reminds us of keeping something in memory,” the bishop said. “Not something to memorize, but to keep and pass on.
“Just think of where we are right now in this beautiful little place that has been here for 139 years. Think of the memories of this place; of all the people who have gone through here; of those who have built this place; those who donated the land; those who worked; those who prayed; those who celebrated joyful occasions; those who came here for healing and peace in the difficulties in their lives. The memories are so many and so wonderful, and how those memories have been passed from one generation to the next.”
The bishop explained that’s what the Church wants us to do, “To pass on the memory of St. Joseph and his life, his virtue and his example — to keep the memory alive.”
Comparing this to Jesus, the bishop explained that when Jesus told the Apostles, “Do this in memory of Me,” they kept the memory of all they had heard and seen.
“Imagine if the Apostles said they were not going to pass it on, there were no written Gospels,” he said. “Imagine what the world would be like now. We would not know all that Jesus did and what Joseph and Mary did.”
The bishop said that it was so fitting that the tiny Woods Hole church, the oldest Catholic church still standing on all of Cape Cod, was the mother church of all the Falmouth area; that other parishes spun from simple St. Joseph’s Church.
“We live in a fast world,” the bishop added. “Things change so fast that it is possible to lose memories. But we can’t just remember but we have to pass on the memories, the faith and values.
“Let us keep that memory of all that Jesus said and did, and let us keep that memory of St. Joseph alive in our hearts, in our homes, our minds and in our souls and in our families.”