Faithful Grow Closer to Jesus through St. Joseph

March 17, 2021

Betty Foxhoven

Last fall, when Betty Foxhoven’s mother was dying, Betty was in the middle of a 33-day process of consecrating her life to St. Joseph.

“She had a very peaceful death,” Foxhoven said of her 94-year-old mother. “I came back that night to my daily consecration to St. Joseph and finished on Nov. 1.”

Foxhoven, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Earling, is confident that the support and intercession of her parish’s patron saint helped her through that tough time.

“I have to say, I felt a closeness of St. Joseph during that time of my mother’s last days on earth and getting me through the grieving process,” she said. “Yep, I guess I kind of got hooked.”

Foxhoven’s parish is among several that are offering a process to parishioners for consecration to St. Joseph. Pope Francis renewed interest in the foster father of Jesus when he declared this the Year of St. Joseph in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the declaration that the saint would be the patron of the Universal Church.

Foxhoven first learned about what it means to consecrate one’s life to St. Joseph while sitting in her parish hall last fall watching a Zoom connection to the Christ Our Life Catholic Conference in Des Moines. There, Father Don Calloway focused on the life and devotions of St. Joseph.

“I was thinking we belong to St. Joseph Parish here in Earling, we should take the leadership here” to encourage consecration to the model of fatherhood, she said. “It has to start someplace.”

About 20 people have been gathering weekly for prayer and lunch (observing social distancing and mask guidelines) with the help of the Catholic Daughters group. The consecration prayers end just in time for the March 19 Solemnity of St. Joseph, the day before the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale is encouraging small groups to do the consecration.

“I had some friends do it and having daily or weekly accountability partners helps you stay focused and remember to reflect and pray every day,” said Sam Montang, the parish’s coordinator of youth ministry.

Her parish will begin the process at the end of March, ending on St. Joseph’s second feast day, St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. They’ll offer the consecration process again in the fall.

A lot of people I think are unfamiliar with consecration in general,” Montang said. “Over the course of a year, we’ll be talking about what it means.”

What does it mean to consecrate one’s life to St. Joseph?

“It’s really placing our lives in the hands of Jesus through St. Joseph,” said Father Joe Pins, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Des Moines. The faithful can do a consecration to Mary and St. Joseph because through them, one can grow closer to Jesus.

Vickie Shepherd, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Des Moines, was thrilled when her parish began anull consecration. She and her husband are doing it.

“I just think this is so exciting that we can do this. When Pope Francis said this was going to be the Year of St. Joseph, that was even more exciting,” she said.

“We’ve seen so many conversions through Mary in our family and with some of our friends, it’s just been amazing in the last year,” Shepherd said. “I’m excited to see what happens as we go through this consecration to St. Joseph.”