The archbishop of El Salvador's capital city, who is in Rome for the Oct. 5-19 Synod on the Family, has proposed that St. Joseph be officially named patron saint of the family.

"May God grant us this grace, as he is a model spouse, father, and teacher of young people," Archbishop Jose Escobar Alas of San Salvador told Vatican Radio in a recent interview.

"But we should also see him now as a defender of the rights of women and children. It was he who protected the Sacred Family and the Holy Infant in the flight to Egypt and at all times."

Archbishop Escobar continued: "allow me to say something else: St. Joseph continues to care for each one of our families."

The Salvadoran archbishop said he also made the proposal during his intervention at the Synod of Bishops taking place at the Vatican.

St. Joseph has already formally been named patron of the universal Church, and is popularly regarded as a patron of both fathers and families.

"Love for St. Joseph is present throughout the Church – he is the patron saint of the universal Church. He is also the patron saint of workers," Archbishop Escobar noted. "But the bishops of my country and the people of God believe it would be appropriate for St. Joseph to be the patron saint of the family, and this is what the bishops participating in the synod have asked for in writing."

He also thanked Pope Francis for organizing the Synod of Bishops, and said it is an assurance of the Church's concern for families in Latin America "who are suffering so much from poverty."

"Undoubtedly it is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who has enlightened Pope Francis to convene this synod. I wish to thank him as well for always being among us and for his kindness," Archbishop Escobar added.

"We are seeking solutions for such difficult problems the family is facing worldwide, but we are very happy and hopeful. And I am sure that during the next synod we will find valuable tools for family ministry."