Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father


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From left: Jennifer’s husband, Glenn; their son, Anthony; Fr. Ben Pitre; and Jennifer at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Christmas Day, 2018.

Consecration to St. Joseph Enlivens Cajun Country

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By Marc Massery

When Marian Helper Jennifer Angelle of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, started following the spiritual director of the Marian Fathers' Thirteenth of the Month Club, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, on social media last summer, she couldn't help but get excited about his then-upcoming book, Consecration to St. Joseph. "[Father Donald] was so excited about it. He's such a great marketer and motivator," she said.

In the fall, Jennifer's husband attended a men's conference given by Fr. Calloway. "The conference was standing-room only," she said. "Over 600 men went to hear his testimony. There, Fr. Donald spoke about the book again, so my husband came back excited about the publication of it, too."

Soon thereafter, Jennifer and her husband wrote a letter to their local bishop, J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette, asking for prayers and support. "We did the research, and we found out that there were 13 parishes in our diocese named after St. Joseph. We included that to the bishop and just personalized the letter. We asked him to pray for [Fr. Donald], and we asked if there were anything we could do at the diocesan level for the St. Joseph movement," she said.

Immediately, Jennifer received a letter back from Bishop Douglas. "Now, I don't want to presume that I was the only one who contacted him," she said. "This is just my story. But he sent us back a letter saying he was working on [an initiative to spread devotion to St. Joseph in the diocese]."

On March 19, 2020, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Diocese of Lafayette announced a year of prayer to St. Joseph. The diocese has planned a year of activities themed around St. Joseph, which includes chances to gain indulgences.

"It's a grassroots movement," Jennifer said.

When Consecration to St. Joseph was published on Jan. 1, Jennifer purchased several cases. "I have a small company," Jennifer said. "We posted on social media that we had these books, and we were giving them away. Any donation we received, we would just use to buy more books." Jennifer said that the response to her post has been nothing less than incredible. She's given away more than 100 copies of the book. "We just set up an outlet, and the Holy Spirit is at work doing the rest," she said.

As often as possible, Jennifer has also been strategically placing Consecration to St. Joseph in the hands of Catholic leaders around the country. "Our governor, John Bel Edwards, and his wife, Donna, are pro-life Catholics. We gave them a book, so they are reading it," she said. "We also gave it to our local senators. My brother-in-law works in Washington, D.C., in the Trump administration. He has one. It's been such a neat thing to be a part of. There's something in it that we can all learn from."

Last year, with a group of about 50 people connected online, Jennifer read the book 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, Fr. Donald's confrere. This year, that same group has grown to more than 300 as they read Fr. Calloway's book together.

"The way that Fr. [Donald] wrote this book is kind of incredible," she said. "It's a text book, it's a picture book, it's a prayer book, it's a guide book. [Father Donald] has a way of keeping it user-friendly, yet he's citing the Doctors of the Church, and he's done such thorough research. It's just neat to watch him from afar. He's just stirring up this incredible energy of the Holy Spirit.

"At first I thought, '[St. Joseph] is a boring person who didn't say anything [in the Bible]. ...' because that's how we were raised! He was the quiet background guy, and that was what made him a good person. But no," she said. "That's why I think it was important and brilliant Fr. Donald had new art created, to show [St. Joseph] as this strong, relevant person. This modern approach is brilliant. It makes it fun and delightful."

With the publication of the book, Fr. Calloway commissioned several works of art featuring St. Joseph by various artists, some of which are available for purchase on ConsecrationToStJoseph.org

"As my husband and I are raising a 14-year-old son, [Consecration to St. Joseph] just speaks to me about teaching the virtues of St. Joseph. We're doing it as a family," she said. "It's just a fresh, new look at the basics, and I think that's speaking to people, and I think that's making us lay people feel like there's a place to be involved and get excited."

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Sal - Jun 19, 2020

Lovely! I was hoping that Pope Francis would consecrate this year to St. Joseph.