EWTN documentary highlights devotees to St Joseph, past and present

The relic of the holy cloak of St. Joseph at the Basilica di San Giuseppe al Trionfale in Rome A mural of St. Joseph at San Giuseppe al Trionfale in Rome | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

A new documentary about St. Joseph, set to air on EWTN this month and available to watch online now for free, focuses on Catholics who have had their spiritual lives enriched through learning about St. Joseph and asking for his prayers. 

Produced by the Knights of Columbus, the film features interviews with theologians and experts on St. Joseph, as well as first-hand testimony from people who say a devotion to St. Joseph has touched their lives. 

The film was created in honor of the Year of St. Joseph, proclaimed by Pope Francis, which ran from Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021. 

Blessed Pius IX declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church in 1870. The film discusses Joseph’s royal lineage, as he was a descendant of David. 

Interviewees include Father Donald Calloway, author of “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father,” which that encourages people to consecrate themselves to the saint’s care. 

The film features historical stories of how devotion to St. Joseph led to incredible outcomes for the devotees. For example, the film highlights St. Andre Bessette, a Quebecois man who in 1870 took a menial job as a porter at Notre-Dame College in Montreal. Despite the lowly job and Andre’s poor health, he gained a reputation for holiness as he welcomed the sick and heartbroken over a 25-year period, inviting them to pray to St. Joseph. 

Inspired by his devotion to the saint, Andre built a chapel with help from friends and money he earned from giving haircuts to students, and the chapel was successively made larger over the years. Eventually it grew to become the grand St. Joseph’s Oratory, a minor basilica and the largest church in Canada. 

The film also showcases the courage of a group of 800 prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp during World War II. The prisoners consecrated themselves to St. Joseph, and credited the saint’s intercession when they were eventually rescued, hours before they faced certain death. 

But beyond the historical examples of devotion to St. Joseph, the film also includes testimonies from contemporary people who say that Joseph has helped them in their spiritual lives. A married couple discusses how learning about St. Joseph’s example of steadfastness and sacrifice has helped them to strengthen their marriage. 

In addition, the widow of Paul Coakley, a Catholic man who inspired many with his faith after a short battle with cancer and subsequent his death, talked about how St. Joseph— the patron saint of a good death— served as a source of strength for both her husband and herself. 

“St. Joseph: Our Spiritual Father” is set to air on EWTN on March 19, 2022 at 10 am Eastern.

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