Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata

Stigmatine Fathers & Brothers

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Happy Feast of the Holy Espousals!

from the Provincial's desk


Rev. Gregory Hoppough, CSS, Superior ProvincialDear Friends of the Stigmatine Fathers:

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website. As you do, the Stigmatines are once again preparing to celebrate our Patronal Feastday - The Feast of the Holy Espousals of Mary and Joseph (January 23). The "Espousals Feastday" celebrates our Patrons' commitment (akin to their 'engagement') to the Lord and then to one another. It is an "image" that our Holy Founder, Saint Gaspar Bertoni, left us - with the admonition that his followers, the Stigmatines, would "commit" their ministry to the Lord after Mary and Joseph's example. We are happy to share this Feastday with you - in the union of prayer.

As Pope Saint John Paul II frequently pointed out - God's relationship to His people is "nuptial, spousal". He commits Himself to us in love and calls us, in return, to love Him and one another. Mary and Joseph's bethrothal (commitment) is a sign and symbol of God's covenantal love. As such, rooted in the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, our celebration of the Espousals of Mary and Joseph is not simply a biographical remembrance of what others have done - but indeed it is a call and challenge to each of us to embrace their act of commitment, their "YES" to God's call and to endeavor anew to live out OUR spousal relationship to Christ and to one another.

In this celebration, then, we are being invited to live out OUR spousal relationship with God in a more committed and earnest manner. As the Gospel of Saint John tells us,  we cannot, in honesty, love the God we cannot see unless we love one another whom we do see, and so the "project" of this holy day entails a careful review of just how (1) we treat one another, (2) speak to one another and (3) relate to one another. To do this, we focus on the love between Mary and Joseph - the love that gave them the courage of holy commitment. 

On this Feast of the Holy Espousals, may that kind of selfless, generous and oblative love be ours as we strive to overlook one another's faults and so be faithful to Christ's command": "love one another as I love you."

Please be sure that the Stigmatine Fathers of Holy Spouses' Province will faithfully remember you and your loved ones in our Community celebration of this great feast on January 23rd. We are so grateful for your continued support - and, as always, we ask you to pray for vocations to our Stigmatine Community. 

Thank you for your visit - and may the New Year be filled with many blessings for you all.

Gratefully in Mary and Joseph,

The Stigmatine Fathers of Holy Spouses Province



Last Updated: January 16, 2015