Text by Fr. Eugene Tremblay, OMI, Photos by John Gelinas
This being the “Year of St. Joseph” celebrated throughout the universal Church, the Oblate Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Lowell, MA is carrying-out a series of commemorations in his honor.
(L-R) Oblate Fathers Quilin Bouzi, Terry O’Connell (former Director of Shrine of St. Joseph) Michael Amesse, (Current Director) Cardinal Seán O’Malley, ofm. Cap, servers: Joseph Tibbetts, Samantha Wood, Lorna Wood
Fr. Michael Amesse, OMI, the Shrine’s new Director, has taken the lead in creatively planning these year-long festivities. On Saturday, May 1st, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the Shrine celebrated our Patron in a special way. The Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, Seán O’Malley, ofm. Cap, accepted Fr. Mike’s invitation to join our festivities by presiding at our Vigil Mass. He blessed our pilgrim statue of St. Joseph which was then carried in a mini-procession into the Shrine (it will also feature prominently in several more processions through the city streets in the coming months). His Eminence also led the congregation in the Consecration to St. Joseph at the conclusion of the Mass. In preparation for the Consecration, a Triduum had been preached by Fr. Ron Meyer, OMI, expounding on the virtues of St. Joseph as a laborer – participants having been encouraged to bring the “tools of their trades” to each evening’s service for a blessing of themselves and the implements of their employment. A previous Triduum leading up to the March 19th Feast of St. Joseph was preached by Fr. John Hanley, OMI centering on the joys and sorrows of St. Joseph.
Representatives of Lowell’s first responders processed with the pilgrim Statue of St. Joseph, Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Robert Bean is 2nd from left, Captain Brett Darling is 2nd from right. Police officers were not identified
Representatives of the city’s First Responders had an active role in our Mayday celebration – embodying Joseph-like roles as guardians and protectors. Leaders of the Lowell Fire Department and Police Department carried the pilgrim statue of St. Joseph and were given a special blessing by the Cardinal in the course of the Liturgy. Our celebration drew some 175 congregants who gathered in the Shrine (the max allowed in our 500 seat capacity venue) as per Covid protocols.The celebration of the worldwide Josephite sesquicentennial is enhanced at the Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker because of singular objects of devotion located here: one is a unique stained-glass window depicting St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church. The window, dedicated in 1964 to St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church, presaged the more ecumenical times in which we now live. Depicted in the window is St. Joseph casting beams of paternal affection and protection toward St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, toward St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, as well as toward nearby Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and a representative Protestant church, thereby encompassing the larger Christian community of Lowell.A second venerable object of devotion is St. Joseph’s is life-size statue – an image that originally graced the sanctuary in the former parish church of St. Joseph built by Oblate Father André Garin in the 1860’s – it has been completely restored and is now fittingly installed in aguardianposition as one enters the reconfigured Shrine of today.The newly blessed pilgrim statue of St. Joseph will add to the Shrine’s array of devotional images of our Patron – it will be incorporated in future commemorations and will be installed in a permanent place of honor in our Conference Hall.Streamers emblazoned with the invocations from the Litany of St. Joseph now grace the pillars of the Shrine and will be mounted on stanchions to accompany our pilgrim statue during up-coming processions in the city streets – planned for June and August.
See more photos and read Cardinal O’Malley’s comments on his visit to the Shrine of St. Joseph. Click on the link below to visit “Cardinal Seán’s Blog”