Sarah Hanley

As we near the end of Lent, I find it fitting that we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph so close to Easter. Although he is never quoted in the Gospels and did not live long enough to walk with Jesus through His Passion and Resurrection, scripture makes it evident that St. Joseph exemplified the same traits Christ embodied: trust in God, obedience to His will, and humble leadership.

A Life of Trust, Obedience, and Humility

Amid great confusion and uncertainty, St. Joseph obeyed God’s command to take Mary as his wife. He trusted God to provide shelter for the Holy Family at the time of Jesus’ birth. He quietly led them and kept them safe on their dangerous sojourn to Egypt and led them back to Nazareth and Jerusalem for sacred festivals.

Through it all, St. Joseph was never flashy or arrogant and he trusted in God the Father. I often think of how he must have felt being asked to flee to a foreign land, leaving the safety of everything he knew with a wife and small child. Yet, St. Joseph didn’t have to be asked twice; he immediately trusted that God’s power was bigger than his fear, and that faith – so often overlooked in Lent – is precisely what made Easter possible.

Carrying on the Spirit of St. Joseph

At The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, we are tasked with living out St. Joseph’s spirit of selfless leadership by guiding, protecting, and advancing myriad missions within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, each having a unique and vital role in bringing the Kingdom of God to life daily in our local communities.

We work behind the scenes; counseling with pastors, advising program leaders, and offering our expertise to work alongside those who are acting as Christ’s Hands to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, enrich our children, and be a line of hope to those who cannot find it elsewhere. We are humbled to be part of this Catholic family of faith, and I pray that, like St. Joseph, our leadership is rooted in a deep and abiding trust in Divine Providence.

As we move closer to Easter, may the spirit of our giving be like St. Joseph’s: built on trust, obedience, and humble action, even when doing so is overwhelming or frightening. May we use these remaining days of Lent to dig deep and prepare ourselves to truly walk Holy Week in mind, body, and spirit. In doing so, it is my earnest prayer that through our acts of penitence, fasting, and almsgiving, we better understand the struggles of those in our community who are less fortunate and arrive at Easter with a renewed and deepened love of Christ in His people.

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Sarah O. Hanley is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia