Dozens of young people from St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton this summer joined their parents in a pilgrimage walk to contemplate the seven pains and joys of St. Joseph. The devotion took place in Northeast Portland at The Grotto, the popular name for the National Shrine of Our Sorrowful Mother.

In a year Pope Francis has dedicated to St. Joseph, the community gathered June 19 in the Chapel of Mary to begin the day with Mass.

Then about 50 pilgrims were guided to the shrine’s upper gardens by Servite Father Vidal Martínez, rector of The Grotto.

The tradition of meditating on the seven pains and joys of St. Joseph includes the entire life of the man who was chosen by God to give paternal protection to Jesus.

In a path similar to the Way of the Cross, the pilgrimage wound past stations to reflect on matters such as Joseph’s consternation when Mary became pregnant, his joy at being told of God’s plan, his eagerness to educate the boy, his guilt at losing the lad at the temple and his joy at finding Jesus teaching wisely beyond his years.

Larisa Aguilar, a member of St. Cecilia and an accounting major at Portland State University — along with her sister Emily, 14 — led the preparation course for youngsters to consecrate themselves to St. Joseph.

Youths desire to learn more about the faith but get little chance beyond preparation for the sacraments, Aguilar said.

Children carried posters alluding to St. Joseph, showing their connection with the saint and displaying what they learned about him. Then the consecration took place June 20 at St. Cecilia Church.

Andrea Oraaz-Lupercio, a youngster from St. Cecilia, sees St. Joseph as an angel who always showed love and care for the Mary and Jesus. Now, Andrea prays every day for the saint’s intercession and understands “how important it is to have a family.”

Disa Cana Cumez didn’t know much about the saint at first. That changed. “I learned that he was a person who did not care what other people thought of him. He was quiet and had a big heart,” Disa said. “He taught Jesus how to pray, be a hard worker and everything else that Jesus knew how to do. I feel ready to be like him and act like him through prayer, silence and love for those around me.”

Jonathan Olmos admitted that his knowledge also had been limited.

“Now I know that he was a strong and humble man,” Jonathan said. “I plan to act like him as a good man and father and by being humbler.”  

Dharma Cumez called St. Joseph “a great model for all men; great father, teacher and amazing model of patience.”

Uriel Figueroa affirmed that St. Joseph is a loving person and a humble man who loves and protects his family and everyone. "I see San José as a role model, so I plan to follow in his footsteps," Uriel said.

Pope Francis has called  St. Joseph “a beloved father, a father in tenderness, in obedience and in welcoming; a father of creative courage, a worker, always in the shadows.”