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Korean Catholic fathers urged to emulate St. Joseph

Catholic fathers seek inspiration from the patron of the Universal Church to improve family life

UCA News reporter, Seoul

UCA News reporter, Seoul

Published: March 21, 2021 05:00 PM GMT

Updated: March 22, 2021 04:17 AM GMT

Korean Catholic fathers urged to emulate St. Joseph

A priest baptizes a child in a Catholic church in South Korea in 2020. The Catholic Fathers Association of Seoul Archdiocese is helping Catholic fathers to emulate Saint Joseph. (Photo: Catholic Times)

Taking cues from Pope Francis' call for Catholics around the globe to intensify their devotion to St. Joseph, Catholic fathers in Seoul Archdiocese, South Korea, are reflecting and practicing the role of the saint to become good husbands and fathers.

Pope Francis has declared 2021 the Year of St. Joseph to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church. The pope issued an apostolic letter, Patris Corde (With A Father’s Heart), last December dedicating Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021 to St. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus Christ.

Seoul Archdiocese's Catholic Fathers Association, founded in 2010, has taken the opportunity to help their members think and act more enthusiastically about their important roles in their families.

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They are also encouraged to connect with the pope’s appeals for families based on love and care presented in Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), the apostolic exhortation published in 2016 following the Synods of Bishops on the Family (2014-2015).  

“St. Joseph was a gentle, loving, obedient, and responsible husband and father. Fathers need to renew their commitments to the family in order to become good husbands and fathers,” said Father Joseph Kim Deok-geun, chaplain of the association.

The association recently launched a five-week program divided into six hours each week for Catholic fathers in the archdiocese to assist them to emulate St. Joseph.   

The group brings together Catholic fathers through meetings to provide them with lessons on how they can be more responsible, sincere, and lovable and maintain a happy and holy family like the Holy Family of Nazareth.

“There is a distorted image of males in our society where males are categorically viewed as workaholics and detached from families. Our mission is to help them realize you need to become a good husband to become a good father that will also inspire many others,” Father Joseph said.

As part of home assignments, Catholic fathers are encouraged to spend good time with their wives and children at the end of each work-week. They are asked to write passionate letters to family members, join family prayers for God’s blessings and hug wives and children.

Husbands have also been told to wash the feet of their wives as a sign of love and care.   

“Most of them were a bit embarrassed because they were not used to such gestures. But they followed and it has good effects in creating a harmonious atmosphere in the family,” said Vincent Kim Sang-gil, in-charge of the association.

“We focus on connecting spirituality in family life to help them experience the joy of love. Priority is given to good dialogue in the family. This is how families can be happy and holy, enabling them to receive God’s grace and peace of mind,” he said.

During special retreat sessions, fathers shared with others how they felt happier and closer to their families by performing the assignments.

“Now, they are capable of overcoming family problems and crises by following the model of St. Joseph who always stood by the family and protected it with love,” said Dominic Kang Dong-hwa, who is in charge of the group.

The organization is a place where good fathers work together to form and sustain happy families, he added.

The group also plans to hold a family festival with fathers, wives, children and other acquaintances to help them share their joy of love together.

“Saint Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, had always been dedicated to his wife and son and protected them with love and care. He is our patron and inspiration,” Dominic added.

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