An icon of St. Joseph and the child Jesus hangs in St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northwest Portland. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)
An icon of St. Joseph and the child Jesus hangs in St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northwest Portland. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)

Joe and Millie Hoffman traveled from Beaverton to attend the Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph March 19 at Portland’s St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

St. Joseph is their man.

Not only is Joe named for the earthly father of Jesus, but the whole family has consecrated themselves to the saint. For the past 15 years, the Hoffmans have prayed a novena leading up to March 19. They give St. Joseph credit for smoothing their recent move from Eugene to Beaverton. Now Joe looks to St. Joseph for help in being a good example of manhood and faith for his grandsons.

“He is the personal protector of our family,” said Millie just as the pair left to have dinner with their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. “He is just such a regular guy. He is just so relatable.”

Joe and Millie Hoffman beam after attending the St. Joseph Mass. “He is the personal protector of our family,” said Millie. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)


At the same time, Millie explained, St. Joseph “was content to say, ‘God this is what you need me to do and I’m just going to do it. I don’t understand how, why, when or where. I’m just going to go with your plan for me.”

Jayson Strayer, a member of St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro, also made the trip. He figures the Solemnity of St. Joseph during a Year of St. Joseph will not happen very often.

Aware that the saint is patron of chastity, Strayer asks for help having a chaste body and heart.

“St. Joseph is guardian of the chaste, guardian of virgins and guardian of our Lord,” Strayer said. “You can’t get any better than that.”

During the Mass, which had a good sized in person congregation and was livestreamed, Archbishop Alexander Sample reminded listeners that after the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph is considered the greatest saint and is universal patron of the church.

“Just as he cared for the body of his foster son, the son of God,” the archbishop said, motioning as if rocking a child to sleep, “he looks over the mystical body, the church.”

The archbishop lauded St. Joseph for being all in with God’s plans, even when they sounded wild. Joseph quietly said yes.

“Look who it was to whom God entrusted his only begotten son,” the archbishop said. “Look who it was to whom God entrusted the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

The archbishop urged listeners to recall that the Holy Family were real flesh and blood people and that Joseph fathered it with strength but docility to God’s will.

“He is a strong, silent, gracious, chaste husband and father,” the archbishop said. “Boy, do we need his example today.”