In February of this year, the Sacramento Newman Center student leaders and I went to UCLA for the University Catholic Conference of California (UCCC). One of the activities that we did in the evening was to have a Holy Hour of Adoration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. It was my first time to visit the massive cathedral, but of all its features, the one that impressed me the most was the long tapestries that lined the walls of the main nave. Like the picture above, the tapestries depicted saints from all ages and places, from every possible walk of life. I imagined what it would be like to attend Mass in this cathedral with these striking, visual reminders that the saints and angels join us every time we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. I felt communion in the broadest sense, like I was not alone.
But the more I reflected on that experience, the more I realized that the saints don't just show up in my life at Mass. They are always alive in Christ, available and open to communion with me, willing friends and companions on my journey with God. In fact, even in the loneliest, most isolated times of my life, the saints have always been there with me and for me.
Nothing reminds me more of this than today, the feast of Saint Joseph. I remember him because the day I became a father on June 13 2010, I started my devotion to him. After my divorce in 2013, the courts allowed my ex-wife to move to California with my daughter. I was living in Kentucky at the time, and was utterly spiritually and emotionally smashed to pieces by the separation from my daughter. I remember crying out to Saint Joseph to pray for me, to show me some way to fulfill my vocation as a father with my daughter over 2000 miles away.
For five years, I was a long-distance Dad, until after too many tear-filled FaceTime calls with my daughter I decided to leave my well-established job and community and take the leap of faith to move out to California to be with my daughter. I didn't have a job lined up. I didn't know anyone in California, but I knew I was making the right choice, a choice Saint Joseph would approve of.
When I arrived In California, I remember how isolated I felt. I would lie in bed praying, praying that Saint Joseph would intercede for me and help me. Praying as a father to a father, someone who would understand. Saint Joseph did not disappoint. He connected me with people from church. He introduced me to Yolanda, who became my wife. He provided a job at Sac State Newman Center. He reassured me that God was in control and I was not alone.
In a time when isolation is being mandated, let us remember that we can have communion with the saints. Let us find a friend in them, someone who will pray for us and journey with us during this most uncertain time. We may be physically isolated, but we are connected in the Body of Christ, and the Saints are a beautiful reminder of that. Let us walk with them toward our ultimate home, and remember that we are never alone.