St. Francis of Assisi Devotion: Patron of Animals and the Environment
For three days prior to or near October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis, prayers are offered in the context a bi-lingual mass in his honor. Likewise on a date on or near the feast the parish conducts a special service in memory and honor of the saint who had such an affection for all of God’s creation. Parishioners are invited to bring their animals, their pets, to the church property to be blessed. The image of St. Francis is enshrined in the lower church.
St. Anthony Devotion
Here at St. Joseph’s, annual devotions to St. Anthony of Padua, great follower of St. Francis of Assisi, a Doctor of the Church and patron of the poor and elderly, consists of a triduum, three days, of prayer, invoking the intercession of St. Anthony at the end of the daily Masses leading up to the Feast of St. Anthony in June. A solemn Mass is celebrated in the evening of the third day. A tradition of lighting candles before the saint image in the upper church continues as parishioners come forward to venerate his relic. The image of St. Anthony is enshrined in both the upper and lower churches.
St. Jude Thaddeus Devotion
Annual parish devotions to St. Jude Thaddeus, apostle and martyr, and patron of those in desperate situations consist of a triduum, three days, of prayer invoking the intercession of St. Jude at the end of the daily Masses leading up to his feast day in October. A solemn Mass is celebrated in the evening of the third day. Candles are lit before his image in the church as parishioners venerate his relic. The image of St. Jude is enshrined in both the upper and lower churches.
The Divine Mercy Group
The local group was brought here to St. Joseph’s approximately 7 years ago by parishioner Miriam Bracety to foster devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. Regular members number 50 more or less. Regular weekly holy hours occur every Tuesday (bilingual) and on Thursday, from 3 to 4:30pm and include the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer reflection on the saving action of Jesus. Readings and reflections from the diary of St. Faustina, the mystic founder of the Devotion, as well as readings of the life of the saint of the day are shared. Prayers for the Pope, the Church, the poor and the needy fill out the holy hour.
The group organizes an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Sturbridge, Massachussetes in September. A celebration of the anniversary of the foundation of the parish group is held in December. The Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter, along with growing tradition of the Universal church, at a special parish Mass. The group also offers financial help to the Food Pantry which helps the needy of the parish area.The image of Christ as “the Divine Mercy” is hung in both the upper and lower churches.