Homily of a Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit

Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Homily on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church

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Homily on the Patronal Feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

In Epiphania Domini

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Homily on the Patronal Feast at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sermon for the Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday in Advent 2023, Rorate Caeli Mass

Sermon on the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of St. Mary of the Snow

Homily on the 15th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Shrine Church

Sermon for the Votive Mass of Our Lady Help of Christians

Homily on the Third Sunday of Easter 2023

Dominica Resurrectionis Domini Nostri Iesu Christi (Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ)

Homily list

Homily on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

La Crosse, Wisconsin

March 19, 2024

2 Sam 7, 4-5. 12-14. 16

Ps 89 [88], 2-3. 4-5. 27. 29

Rom 4, 13. 16-18. 22

Mt 1, 16. 18-21. 24


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Honoring Saint Joseph as True Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are filled with wonder at the tender love with which God the Father has provided for our eternal salvation. He had destined the Virgin Mary from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to conceive within her womb God the Son through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, so that His only-begotten Son Incarnate would save us from sin and eternal death by His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. As today’s Gospel makes clear, Saint Joseph was truly married to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the time of the Annunciation, even though they had not yet begun to live under the same roof.

Their marriage was marked by the particular grace of virginity. Saint Joseph married the Virgin Mary with the full intent to honor her vow of perpetual virginity. The Holy Spirit moved Saint Joseph to enter a virginal marriage, so that the Child Jesus would be born into a family, the family of Mary in whose womb He was conceived and of Joseph, her True Spouse, who became His virginal Father or, as we popularly say, His Foster Father.

When Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he thought “to divorce her quietly,”[1] but he was favored by the apparition of an angel of the Lord who explained to him the great mystery in which he was called to participate. The angel spoke to him thus:

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.[2]

The angel of the Lord revealed to Saint Joseph that his marriage to Mary should be consummated by taking her into his home and giving himself totally to her, while always respecting her virginity, and by being the Virginal Father of her Divine Son. His responsibility of Virginal Father began with his giving the name to the Divine Child, the name which signified the mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation. The Purest Heart of Joseph was totally one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the perfect union of her heart with the Divine Heart, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Celebrating Saint Joseph under his title of True Spouse of the Virgin Mary, we also honor him under his title of Patron of the Universal Church. Saint Joseph is the father of all who have come to life in Christ through the Faith and Baptism. Joseph, who, with fatherly compassion and strength, provided for and protected the Holy Family, now provides for and protects the family of the Church, the family of all those who have come to life in Christ through Baptism. With the obedience to God’s will, which marked the totality of his life, Saint Joseph continues to exercise pure and selfless love towards all in the Church, especially the dying.

Saint Joseph is the son of Abraham who became the Virginal Father of Him Who fulfilled the promise of God to King David, spoken through the Prophet Nathan: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.”[3] Christ is King of Heaven and Earth. We are His subjects, in the words of Saint Paul, by the grace of “the righteousness of faith.”[4] Saint Joseph, whose Purest Heart was one with the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, is our powerful fatherly example and intercessor in living the righteousness which is the fruit of faith in Christ, God the Son Incarnate. It is the righteousness which flows from His glorious-pierced Heart into our hearts.

Saint Joseph radiates for us the humility and purity of heart which faith in Christ, life in communion with Him, produces in our hearts and, therefore, in our thoughts and words and actions. Loving us as the Virginal Father of Christ and, therefore, the Patron of the Universal Church, Christ’s Mystical Body, Saint Joseph unceasingly intercedes for us that we may have a humble and contrite heart. Dom Prosper Guéranger, in his commentary on today’s feast, thus prays through the intercession of Saint Joseph:

O sublime minister of the greatest of blessings, intercede for us with God made Man. Ask Him to bestow humility upon us, that holy virtue which raised thee to such exalted dignity, and which must be the basis of our conversion. It is pride that led us into sin, and made us prefer our own will to that of God: yet will He pardon us if we offer Him the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart. Get us this virtue, without which there can be no true penance. Pray also for us, O Joseph, that we may be chaste. Without purity of mind and body we cannot come nigh the God of all sanctity, who suffers nothing defiled to approach Him. He wills to make our bodies, by His grace, the temples of His holy Spirit: do thou, great saint, help us to maintain ourselves in so exalted a dignity, or to recover it if we have lost it.[5]

Confronting the sin and darkness that more and more corrupt the world and threaten the life of the Church, we beg Saint Joseph to teach us to be humble and contrite of heart, to intercede for us that we may more and more cooperate with the grace of righteousness which comes from faith in Christ and in His promise of salvation. Imitating the humility and purity of the Heart of Saint Joseph, we dispose ourselves to cooperate with God’s plan for our salvation, that is, to be “fellow workers” of Christ in the truth and love which transform the world.[6]

Facing the daunting work of the conversion of our lives to Christ and of the transformation of the world in accord with God’s plan, in accord with His truth and love, we have begun on this past March 12th a Nine-Month Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe which we will complete with a solemn consecration to her on this coming December 12th. Praying each day the Official Prayer of the Novena, we ask her to intercede for the conversion of our hearts to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the conversion of millions of hearts who do not yet know Christ and have not yet received the grace of faith or who, once having known, loved, and served Him, have abandoned Him and left His Way.[7] May Saint Joseph intercede powerfully for all of us who are engaged in the Nine-Month Novena so that it may be an efficacious instrument for our own salvation and for the salvation of the world.

Let us now imitate the faith and righteousness of Saint Joseph, uniting ourselves to Christ as He makes sacramentally present His Sacrifice on Calvary. May Saint Joseph help us by his example and by his prayers to trust in God always. So may we, with Saint Joseph, do always whatever God asks of us. So may our hearts be always, with the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph, united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the truth and love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

[1] Mt 1, 19.

[2] Mt 1, 20-21.

[3] 2 Sam 7, 16.

[4] Rom 4, 13.

[5] “Daignez, ô sublime ministre du plus grand de tous les bienfaits, intercéder en notre faveur auprès de Dieu fait homme. Demandez-lui pour nous l’humilité qui vous a fait parvenir à tant de grandeur, et qui sera en nous la base d’une conversion sincère. C’est par l’orgueil que nous avons péché, que nous nous sommes préférés à Dieu ; il nous pardonnera cependant, si nous lui offrons « le sacrifice d’un cœur contrit et humilié ». Obtenez-nous cette vertu, sans laquelle il n’est pas de véritable pénitence. Priez aussi, ô Joseph, afin que nous soyons chastes. Sans la pureté du cœur et des sens, nous ne pouvons approcher du Dieu de toute sainteté, qui ne souffre près de lui rien d’impur ni de souillé. Par sa grâce, il veut faire de nos corps des temples de son Saint-Esprit : aidez-nous à nous maintenir à cette élévation, à la rétablir en nous, si nous l’avions perdue.” Prosper Guéranger, L’Année liturgique, Le Carême, 6ème éd. (Paris: Librairie Religieuse H. Oudin, 1903), p. 534. English translation: Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Lent, tr. Laurence Shepherd (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2000), p. 430.

[6] Cf. 3 Jn 8.

Cf. Mt 10, 38; 16, 24; Mk 8, 34; Lk 9, 23; Jn 14, 6.