St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #12

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The Patron of this parish is rightfully a figure of prominence in this church. This parish was named after St Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. Our heavenly Father, to whom we address the prayer that Jesus taught us, chose St Joseph to be the father here on earth for His only begotten Son. St Joseph was hand picked by God, of all men throughout all of time, to be the earthly father of Jesus. This alone should make us pause and ponder his importance in the life of Jesus and, therefore, our lives.
Since St Joseph is the namesake of our parish community, it should make us pause all the more and put ourselves individually and as a community under his care to lead us ever closer to Jesus. We are not a community of just Jesus and me; that is not why Jesus founded a church. We need help from each other here below and help from above. If we did not need help from above, why would God make angels and have them serve us, as is well attested in the bible.

We know that Joseph was married to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Joseph also took Jesus as his own son when he had his dream to not “be afraid to take Mary into his home” when he found Mary with child, not by himself (Mt 1:18-24). Joseph had the heart to take into his home a child that was not his own. He has this same heart for us. He is willing to take us as his spiritual children into his home. Being in this home also means everything that comes with it: his protection, guidance and intercession before Jesus.
When the community got the name of St Joseph, it essentially asked St Joseph for these helps and would use his life as an example by which to live. They rejoiced to have St Joseph leading them to the love of God in heaven. It is very fitting that his image would be aloft the high altar in the stained glass as rays shine through. He, like many others in our lives, has been a bright and shining example of living our life for Christ. From the time of the name of this Community, he would be there for us for generations to come.
This is what it means to be baptized, born into the family of God. It means having relationships with all of our brothers and sisters. We can benefit from all these beautiful people throughout all of time. The discovery of these wonderful people seems limitless. It brings us so much hope when we are surrounded by such goodness from men. The forefathers of this church specifically chose St Joseph as its special guardian. Have you developed a relationship with him?
The other image of St Joseph is to the right of the high altar on the wall about ten feet above the floor and heat register. In this image he is strong, as with the strength of what God gives, with a strange twist from the worldly perspective. He is holding a flower. In fact, he is holding a white lily. This white lily is a symbol of purity. A man holding a flower, by the world’s standards, is a sign of weakness. Yet the church understands that purity is actually something of strength, not weakness. Remaining pure is a sign of wisdom, not ignorance. It never ceases to happen that the wisdom of God turns the world upside-down. Or, rather, is it that the world is already upside-down and the wisdom of God turns it right?

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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