Philippine Catholic Church leaders placed the country under the “special patronage” of St. Joseph on May 1, the saint’s feast day and International Labor Day.
Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, led the “national act of consecration” that was broadcast live online from San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City.
The consecration began with the praying of the Rosary led Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones from the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City.
Several churches across the country allowed a limited number of people to attend the ceremonies during the occasion.
Prior to the consecration, a 33-day spiritual preparation was held in the country’s 86 dioceses.
“We find meaning in coming to St. Joseph,” said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu.
“In believing that just as he was called by God to be the guardian of the Holy Family, we plead for his intercession to journey with us, to assist us in difficult times,” said the prelate.
“We come to St. Joseph in this Act of Consecration. It is our way of saying, ‘St. Joseph, just as God has appointed you to care for the Holy Family, make us as well your family,’” he said.
To foster devotion to the spouse of the Blessed Virgin, Pope Francis declared a year dedicated to St. Joseph in December 2020.
The consecration of the nation to St. Joseph is one of the initiatives launched on the occasion of the special year, which culminates on Dec. 8, 2021.
The celebration also aims to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX.