Glenn Humphreys shows his new St. Joseph prayer book. He was one of more than 30 members of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie who gave testimonies about the work of St. Joseph in their lives. “God prepared my heart through St. Joseph,” Humphreys said. (Screen grab from Christ the King Parish website)
Glenn Humphreys shows his new St. Joseph prayer book. He was one of more than 30 members of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie who gave testimonies about the work of St. Joseph in their lives. “God prepared my heart through St. Joseph,” Humphreys said. (Screen grab from Christ the King Parish website)
St. Joseph is having a banner year.

Even before Pope Francis declared 12 months in honor of the earthly father of Jesus, Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie was getting wild about the man who also is known as Patron of the Universal Church and, intriguingly, Terror of Demons.

In December, on the feast of the Holy Family, Christ the King welcomed almost 500 people who wanted to consecrate themselves to the humble saint.

The roots of the parish devotion came from Julie Onderko, director of evangelization at Christ the King. She has long revered and loved St. Joseph, believing he saved her husband from a serious brain condition. She shared her feelings with Msgr. John Cihak, the pastor, and gave him a painting of St. Joseph holding a church as if to protect the whole people of God. The painting hangs in the priest’s home.

Onderko then gave her pastor a copy of Mark Miravalle’s book, “Meet Your Spiritual Father: A Brief Introduction to St. Joseph.” He liked it so much that he made it available to all parishioners. That ignited everyone’s interest. They wanted more of St. Joseph.

So Onderko introduced a new book, “Consecration to St. Joseph,” by Father Donald Calloway of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. The book includes a 33-day program that leads up to consecration.

As part of the faith formation effort, Onderko asked parishioners to give brief video testimonies about their experiences of St. Joseph. More than 30 people came forward.

“I want to tell all the men out there: Go to St. Joseph,” Antonio Guitron said in a testimony as his son sat on his lap. “He is the perfect model for all men.”

Glenn Humphreys, who became Catholic last May, explained a longtime interest in St. Joseph, even as a Protestant. In a time of desperation, he sought any open church — it happened to be St. Joseph in Vancouver, Washington. After days of prayer and increasing consolation, he noticed a unobtrusive statue of St. Joseph. “I thought: ‘He’s been there the whole time.’ I think he was praying for me the whole time,” Humphreys said. “God prepared my heart through St. Joseph.”

In her video testimony, Brooke Bucceri described the night her husband died and her conviction that St. Joseph helped him, and her, during the difficult moments.

Tomasa Geronimo reported that prayers to St. Joseph seemed to have halted chronic nightmares. The saint is known both for his own dreams and as a force that dispels evil.

About half way through the 33 days of the consecration at Christ the King, Pope Francis made his announcement about the Year of St. Joseph, focusing on the saint’s ordinariness, service, tenderness, obedience to God’s will and acceptance of what life brought. The parishioners in Milwaukie saw that as another wonder. They had a head start.

Deacon Dustin Busse and Onderko gave evening talks on St. Joseph, covering the life of a typical Jewish father in first century Palestine and the great devotion that developed in the church.

One of the largest Catholic parishes in Oregon is planning to go through the consecration Feb. 15-March 19. St. Joseph Parish in Salem will pay special attention to its patron with the devotion, concluding on the saint’s March 19 feast day with a 6:30 p.m. rosary procession followed by a 7 p.m. Mass with many languages included. St. Joseph Parish is home to a large fresco that shows key moments in the saint’s life.

Other parishes are considering consecration and other events to highlight St. Joseph.

Learn more

Testimonies and talks from the Christ the King Parish consecration are available here.