St. Joseph: an ordinary man given an extraordinary mission

During this Year of St. Joseph, the Church is giving special attention to one of its most beloved saints. Pictured is the statue of St. Joseph that stands outside St. Joseph Church in Madison. Photo by Andy Telli

St. Joseph is one of Catholicism’s most beloved saints. 

Through the centuries, Catholics have asked for his intercession and protection. He is the patron saint of workers, travelers and immigrants, families, fathers, expectant mothers and unborn children, craftsmen and engineers, house sellers and buyers.

He is the patron saint of the dying and of a happy death, of the sort he himself experienced in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

He is considered by many as the patron saint of the New World and is the patron saint of a long list of countries, including China, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Peru and Vietnam, as well as the regions of Carinthia and Styria in Austria, Tyrol in northern Italy and western Austria, and Sicily. Other countries, though they don’t count him as a patron saint, have a strong devotion to St. Joseph, including Italy and Poland.

His name, in many languages, is the most common name for cities and places in the world.

He is the patron saint of untold churches, dioceses across the globe – including the Diocese of Nashville – and of the Universal Church.

The Catholic Church has designated two days in his honor: the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19 and the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1.

And now we have the Year of St. Joseph, announced by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2020, the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX.

All this for a man who is never quoted in the Scriptures.

“The universal appeal of Joseph is that he was this normal guy … called to this amazing mission,” said Joan Watson, director of the Office of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Nashville. “All of us can see ourselves in Joseph,” often more easily than in the lives of Mary or the other saints, she added. 

‘He lived a very normal life’

The Lenten speaker series sponsored by Watson’s office this year is focused on the Year of St. Joseph. Watson gave the first of the four talks, which was entitled, “What’s all the fuss about Joseph?” 

“He lived a very normal life, from what we know,” Watson said. “It’s clear from the gospels that nobody thought he was out of the ordinary.”  She noted that according to the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus returned to Nazareth, people were astonished by his preaching and wisdom and asked, “Is he not the carpenter’s son?”

Yet, St. Joseph is a great model for living a life of virtue, Watson said. “That’s our life. Our lives are ordinary, but we’re still called to live lives of virtue.”

Although he’s never quoted in the Scriptures, St. Joseph is one of our greatest teachers through his actions, Watson said in her talk.

In his apostolic letter “Patris Corde” (“With a Father’s Love”) about St. Joseph, Pope Francis reminds us that we don’t need to make a big splash in the world to make a difference, Watson said. The pope reminds us that those who remain hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation, she added.

During her talk, Watson said Joseph must have struggled with the news of Mary’s pregnancy. “We need to look at this time for Joseph as a dark night of the soul, a trial,” she said. “What would I have done in St. Joseph’s shoes?” 

Scripture describes Joseph as a “just man,” and the Old Testament understanding of that phrase was that a just man obeys the Lord, Watson said.

Joseph’s betrothal to Mary was not the same as a modern engagement, Watson said. “It was essentially a legal marriage without living together.”

Under Jewish law of the time, the punishment for a betrothed woman found guilty of adultery was stoning, Watson said. 

“He’s a law-abiding man, but he decides not to obey the law,” opting instead to quietly divorce Mary, Watson said.

As a faithful Jew, Joseph would have known of the prophecy that a virgin would conceive a son, Watson said. “There is where we find Joseph’s discretion and humility,” she said. “He must withdraw to leave Mary free to allow God to work through her. St. Joseph wants to do the will of God above all else.”

That is when an angel appears to Joseph in a dream to tell him not to be afraid to take Mary into his home because it is through the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. The angel tells Joseph to name the child, which gave Jesus his legal identity, Watson said. “You are not to step aside from this mystery. You are to guard this mystery … you have a mission,” Watson said of the angel’s message.

“Think of the selfless love this mission required of Joseph,” Watson said. “He can be that model of how we’re supposed to love our friends and family. … ‘All I want is for them to do the will of God.’”

Obedience and courage

“His whole life was lived not for himself but for the plan of God,” Watson said. “We may not have the words of Joseph in Scripture, but we have his actions. And again and again and again and again he’s obedient. Four times we have dreams commanding Joseph to do something and four times we have obedience.”

Joseph showed his courage, particularly in the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, leaving behind their family, their support system and their culture, Watson said. “Who knows the dangers that were waiting for them on the journey.”

“He didn’t know what the end of the story was,” Watson added. “We read the story knowing the end. … He had to really trust and have faith and have courage.”

“There was every reason for Joseph not to have peace in his life,” Watson said. “But he had it, not because there weren’t struggles in his life … but because he had Jesus.”

“He protected Jesus, he protected Mary, and he continues to protect the Body of Christ, us,” Watson said. “We need protecting. We need to learn courage, we need to learn obedience, we need to be at peace.”

“This is why Joseph is a perfect saint as we emerge from 2020,” Watson said. “Am I willing to let go of my own dreams to follow the greater mission that God asks of me? I think that’s a great lesson for us.”

A continuing devotion

During the Year of St. Joseph, the Church has approved several ways to earn an indulgence. “The Church is making it really easy for us, throwing grace at us,” Watson said. “Really embrace those opportunities.”

And there are many prayers to St. Joseph. Watson encourages people during this year to find one that suits their needs.

Pope Francis has said a prayer to St. Joseph every day for 40 years: “Glorious patriarch, St. Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serous and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome. My beloved Father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain. And since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.”

The Year of St. Joseph is an opportunity to incorporate St. Joseph’s characteristics in our own lives, Watson said. 

“I don’t think it was given to us for just this year,” Watson said. “It’s an introduction to Joseph … so the devotion can continue.”

Two seminarians to be ordained transitional deacons

Ohanaka

Bishop J. Mark Spalding will ordain two seminarians for the Diocese of Nashville as transitional deacons at Sagrado Corazon Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 27. 

This is an important final step before their planned ordination to the priesthood next year.

Nonso Ohanaka and Brent Thayer, both studying at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, and scheduled to be ordained priests in 2022, are looking forward to serving as deacons for the diocese. 

“One of the things that hits me the most when I think about the diaconate is being able to be a part of people’s lives even more,” said Thayer. “As a deacon I’m looking forward to the opportunity to preach at Mass,” as well as being able to baptize people into the Church, he said. 

Ordained deacons can also witness marriages and lead funeral services. 

“I’m looking forward to being able to serve in a different way on the altar,” said Ohanaka. He plans to serve his first Mass after being ordained a deacon at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church. Thayer will serve his first Mass at St. Catherine in Columbia. 

Ohanaka was born in Nigeria then lived most of his life in Nashville with his parents and four siblings. “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a priest,” he said. The example of his parents, and “all the holy people I’ve met along the way,” have been strong examples of committing to a vocation, he said. 

The active Nigerian Catholic Community in Nashville has also been an “a place for me to continue to grow in my faith,” Ohanaka said. 

Thayer

Thayer, who was raised in a Catholic family in Syracuse, New York, graduated from Franciscan University. As he began to seriously discern a call to the priesthood, his family moved south to Nashville to be closer to his sister, Sister Mariana, O.P., who had joined the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation. He credits her example as the final confirmation that he wanted to pursue a religious vocation. 

The grandson of two World War II veterans, Thayer seriously considered becoming a military chaplain, and was set to split his commitment between serving as a parish priest and ministering to airmen in the Air Force. 

Now, he said, “I have discerned out of doing military chaplaincy,” and he will be solely committed to serving in the Diocese of Nashville. 

Thayer and Ohanaka are two of about 20 men in various stages of formation, discerning their priestly vocations. 

They are the next two men on track to be ordained priests for the Diocese of Nashville. This year, 2021, is the first time in many years that no priestly ordinations are scheduled. 

“It’s been a great experience and a blessing” to be a seminarian for the diocese, Ohanaka said. “It’s an opportunity to grow as a person and fall more in love with the Church and the diocese.”

Diocesan site Safe Environment coordinators meet

Julie Perrey, vice chancellor and chief mission integration officer and Jason Liuzzi, the diocesan safe environment coordinator present a training session for parish safe environment coordinators in Ascension Hall at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville, TN on Thursday, 11 March 2021.

The Diocese of Nashville has made it easier to access its Safe Environment policies and procedures protecting children.

“We’ve taken all of our existing policies and updated them,” said diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator Jason Liuzzi. “We’re presenting them in a succinct way” in both English and Spanish, he added.

“The policies have already been there,” Liuzzi said. “We’re building on the firm foundation that was already there.”

Julie Perrey, Vice Chancellor and Chief Mission Integration Officer for the diocese, and Liuzzi met with 85 site Safe Environment Coordinators and pastors on Thursday, March 11, to review the policies and procedures. Similar meetings with directors of religious education and youth ministers will be held in the coming weeks as well as meetings with parish staffs as requested.

“Our ultimate goal was that everyone who attended had the confidence and clarity that if there is an allegation they know how to proceed,” Perrey said of the March 11 meeting.

Perrey and Liuzzi used the meeting to review the diocese’s Safe Environment training program that all church personnel and volunteers who work with children must complete. They also reviewed the policies and procedures site Safe Environment coordinators must follow when they receive an allegation of abuse of a minor or of a professional relationship by church personnel or volunteers.

Under Tennessee state law, every adult who knows of abuse of a minor is required to report it, Liuzzi noted.

At the top of every page of the diocese’s website, there is a link for “Child & Youth Protection” that will show all the numbers to call to report an allegation of abuse.

The Safe Environment page on the diocesan website also has been updated and the Safe Environment documents have been revised, Perrey said. “We wanted to make it easily accessible,” she said. 

The diocese’s policies require that “church personnel will never be alone with a minor in a residence, sleeping facility, locker room, restroom, dressing facility, or other closed room or isolated area that is inappropriate to a ministerial relationship; necessary one-on-one meetings with a minor must take place at times and at locations that create accountability and avoid inappropriate activity.”

When someone reports suspected abuse to parish or school Safe Environment coordinators, “We want you to have the rule of two,” Perrey said during the March 11 meeting. “You are so focused on hearing that parent or that problem that you might not be writing it down.” The second person in the room should be taking notes, she added. “Four ears are better than two.”

When taking a report of abuse, “you have to remain calm,” Perrey said. “I know that’s hard.”

“Let them hear the compassion in your voice,” she added.

In April, Perrey and Liuzzi will begin traveling throughout the diocese to meet with site Safe Environment coordinators to make sure they understand all the policies and procedures. “We are here to support you above everything,” Luizzi said during the March 11 meeting.

They also will use the meetings to get input from people from around the diocese about how the policies and procedures are working, just as they did as they were revising documents and updating the diocesan Safe Environment program.

“We will constantly update policies and training,” Liuzzi said.

“I feel that we have a strong structure, but as the world changes, we need to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our parishes,” Perrey added.

In June 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted the Char­ter for the Protection of Children and Young People and approved a revised version in 2018. The Charter outlines a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, including guidelines for: 

• Creating a safe environment for children and young people

• Healing and reconciliation of vic­tims and survivors

• Making a prompt and effective re­sponse to allegations 

• Cooperating with civil authorities

• Disciplining offenders

The Diocese of Nashville has been in full compliance with the requirements of the Charter since its adoption in 2002, and recently was found to be in compliance with the Charter for the 2019-20 audit period.

“We are proud of that,” said Perrey, who noted that the audit covered a period before she and Liuzzi were hired by the diocese. Perrey has worked for the diocese since March 2020 and Liuzzi since September 2020.

The pair have been working on updating and revising the Safe Environment documents, policies and procedures since they joined the diocese, with input from the diocesan Safe Environment Committee and Review Boad, Perrey said.

Having a vibrant Safe Environment program is crucial for the diocese.

“One of our most important resources is our children,” Perrey said. “As Catholics we must put things in place that protect our children and provide clear directives on how to respond to an allegation. We do this through transparency, education, mandated reporting, and ongoing support.”

“In order to fulfill the mission of the Diocese of Nashville – Living and Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Welcoming All! – we have to provide a safe environment for our children to encounter Jesus Christ,” Liuzzi said. “It’s foundational to our mission.”

Bishop J. Mark Spalding addressed those attending the March 11 meeting to express his gratitude for their work protecting children.

“We comfort our families when they know good, safe policies are in place” and are being implemented, Bishop Spalding said. “I thank you for your work. It’s important work.”

The diocese encourages anyone who knows of or suspects that abuse has taken place to make the proper reports to civil authorities and to diocesan of­ficials if the potential abuser is an em­ployee or volunteer of the diocese or one of its institutions. 

The 24-hour report line to report abuse to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services is 877-237-0004. For more information on the diocese’s Safe Environment pro­gram, visit www.dioceseofnashville.com/safe-environment.

St. Joseph Altar returns to Church of the Nativity after a year off due to pandemic

The tradition of a St. Joseph Altar has traveled from its birthplace in Sicily to all corners of the world. In 2010, Beth Haydel brought it from New Orleans to Thompson’s Station and the Church of the Nativity.

As an adult, Haydel became a parishioner of St. Rita Church in New Orleans. “There was a lady in the parish who used to do a huge St. Joseph Altar in her garage,” Haydel said.

Parishioners would line up outside the woman’s home to see the elaborate St. Joseph’s Altar and receive a bag of cookies. “At night, she would open her back yard, with music and a big meal,” Haydel recalled.

And it wasn’t just her parish, Haydel said. “People in New Orleans go from altar to altar to see them. Some are in the school gyms. They’re huge.”

“Usually in New Orleans they start making cookies and breads in January, because they’re feeding thousands of people from the altar.”

The bakery the Haydel family owned in New Orleans made specialty cakes and breads for St. Joseph Altars all over the city.

“When I moved to Nashville in 2006, I realized they didn’t have anything like that here,” Haydel said. She approached Father John Kirk, then the pastor of Church of the Nativity, about putting up a St. Joseph Altar on the weekend closest to the March 19 feast day. The first altar went up in 2010. “I had such a good response,” Haydel said. “People were just in awe of how beautiful it was.”

It’s now become a tradition at Church of the Nativity, and after a year off in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the St. Joseph Altar will return the weekend of March 19-21.

The tradition of the St. Joseph Altar evolved after the saint was credited with saving the people of Sicily from famine during a drought. In thanksgiving, the people held a huge feast in his honor, building altars that were filled with cakes and breads baked in the shape of nails, St. Joseph’s sandals, bibles, a crown of thorns, a crucifix and a fish, as well as specialty Italian cookies.

St. Joseph Altars, like the one at the Church of the Nativity, also include 12 bottles of wine representing the 12 Apostles, fresh cut bouquets and potted plants as reminders of the rebirth of Easter, and fava beans. The beans, which were usually used to feed livestock, were cooked and eaten by people during the famine. Since then, they have been considered good luck, said Barbara Schee, chair of this year’s St. Joseph Altar at Nativity.

Part of the tradition is helping the needy. At the Church of the Nativity, the parish has used the money raised from selling the breads and cakes, and any donations collected, to support the Pregnancy Center of Middle Tennessee.

This year’s St. Joseph Altar at Nativity will be somewhat limited because of the pandemic, Schee said. There won’t be any baked goods and the spaghetti supper usually held in conjunction with the altar had to be cancelled. 

“Hopefully, next year it will be back to normal,” Haydel said.W

Editorial: Can you increase your almsgiving this Lent?

An usher uses a collection basket during Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark, N.J. Giving alms, sharing what we have with those in need, is not just a good idea, something with spiritual benefits — it is our vocation. CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

It might be hard to believe, but we are almost to the home stretch of Lent. It’s time to examine our consciences to see how well we are practicing the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

In his Lenten message this year, Pope Francis emphasized that our Lenten practices should not only promote individual conversion, but also should have an impact on others. An important way for this to happen is through our almsgiving.

Of the three Lenten practices, almsgiving might be the one many of us have the hardest time with. We find it relatively easier to, for example, add the saying of the Stations of the Cross to our regular prayer life, or give up alcohol or chocolate and abstain from meat on Fridays.

This year, in particular, is difficult because our lives are so controlled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, though, when it comes to personal finances, people have been affected differently.

On one hand, many people are struggling badly because they have been unable to work. This probably isn’t the year when they can, or should, be thinking about ways to increase their almsgiving. It’s time for them to accept help wherever they can find it.

On the other hand, many other people have seen their personal finances improve, mainly because they have been unable to spend money as they did before the pandemic. We have been staying at home. Travel is down, eating out is rarer, and theaters and sports arenas have been closed – until recently. People who have been able to work at home haven’t had commuting or outside-the-home meal expenses.

Then there are also those stimulus checks, or COVID-19 relief checks. They are vitally important for some people, but during previous rounds of stimulus we have heard of cases where recipients of the checks immediately sent the money to their favorite charities because they didn’t think they had done anything to deserve the money or that they needed it.

If you are able to increase your almsgiving, where should you start? We suggest looking at your local parish first. Its expenses continue during the pandemic, but contributions often do not. If you haven’t contributed to your parish while you were unable to attend Mass there, perhaps you could now make up for that.

Next, we believe, should be organizations that help those who are hurting so badly. The agencies and offices of Catholic Charities would be at the top of that list. Among people served are the poor, the hungry, the homeless, pregnant women, the elderly, neglected children, and anyone else in need. There is also the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which provides food, clothing and furniture to individuals and families in need as well as training to help them break the cycle of poverty.

In the Diocese of Nashville, don’t forget the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, which supports a wide range of activities that support parishes, people in need, and Catholics on their journey of faith.

At the international level, we suggest beginning with Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ official international humanitarian agency that serves the poor and suffering people in countries throughout the world, or private organizations such as Food for the Poor and Cross Catholic Outreach, which are accomplishing so much in the fight against poverty.

We suggest that our readers take the pope’s words to heart this Lent, prayerfully discover something they can give up, and contribute what they would have spent to a charity that serves the poor.

As Pope Francis has said on many occasions, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Through our almsgiving, may we use Lent to demonstrate our love for them.

This editorial first appeared in the March 12 issue of The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdiocese. It was written by John F. Fink, editor emeritus.W

Petersen makes dominant run to wrestling state championship

Father Ryan High School senior Parker Petersen capped off his high school wrestling career in dominating fashion, pinning all three of his opponents in 30 seconds or less on his way to a state title in the heavyweight division at the Division II State Wrestling Championships.

“It was great,” Petersen said of his state title. “It was a super satisfying thing knowing all the hard work that was put in.”

Petersen was a state runner-up twice, at 170 pounds as a sophomore and at 195 as a junior. “It was kind of in my grasp the last two years,” Petersen said. “It was definitely my goal to get the title before my high school career was over.”

“The times he lost in the finals, he lost to kids who were All-Americans,” said Father Ryan Coach Pat Simpson. “He was always in a tough weight class.”

During his four years at Father Ryan, Petersen, who has signed a scholarship to play football at Tulane University, grew from 135 pounds to heavyweight. But as he grew, he held onto the techniques he learned as a smaller wrestler.

“Smaller kids tend to develop their skills better than the bigger kids,” said Simpson. “He grew into a bigger kid and had all the skills of a little guy. He never changed his style of wrestling.”

And that became a big advantage as a heavyweight. Petersen finished the season with a 26-0 record, pinning every opponent he wrestled but one. “That match he won 11-2,” Simpson said.

Going into the state tournament, Petersen was confident. “I know these kids. I know how they wrestle,” Petersen said. “I knew what I needed to do.”

Petersen’s speed as a heavyweight and his mental approach also were advantages. “I’m faster than most others,” he said. “My mindset and my match preparedness” were important, he added. “Be aggressive and leave it all out there on the mat.”

Petersen led the Irish to a third-place finish in the team standings behind state champion Baylor School and runner-up Christian Brothers High School.

Ten of the 11 Irish wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament placed in the top six in their weight class.

Junior Ben Stigamier placed second at 145 pounds. Placing third were: freshman Joe Calvin, 106 pounds; junior Calvin Eason, 126 pounds; and senior Thomas Wesnofske, 138 pounds. This was the third time Wesnofske placed, finishing second at 126 pounds in 2020 and third at 120 pounds in 2019, and Eason placed third at 113 pounds in 2019.

Other Irish wrestlers who placed included: sophomore Matt Oberlander, 120 pounds, finished fourth, after placing fifth at 113 pounds in 2020; sophomore Joe Jones, 113 pounds, senior Andy Laden, 152 pounds, junior Joey Terry, 160 pounds, junior Henry Rodgers, 170 pounds, all finished fifth.

Freshman Fuad Ahmed also qualified for the state tournament at 132 pounds.

Three Catholics also placed for Montgomery Bell Academy, including sophomore Gabe Fisher who won a state championship at 220 pounds.

Fisher’s brother, Max, finished third at heavyweight. The Fisher brothers are parishioners at the Church of the Assumption. Sophomore Henry Ribble, a parishioner at St. Ann Church, finished sixth in the 106-pound class.

Gabe Fisher, who placed third at 195 pounds in 2020, finished this season undefeated with a record of 14-0.

“He just had a really good year,” said MBA Coach Patrick Simpson,  a parishioner at St. Henry Church, the nephew of the Father Ryan coach and the brother of Father Mark Simpson, a priest of the Diocese of Nashville. “He’s a really good wrestler, but he’s also a really tough kid, a special kid,” he said of Gabe Fisher. “He’s wrestled for a long time. He’s got really good wrestling skills.”

Max Fisher was bouncing back from a knee injury he suffered the previous year. “About January, he started really wrestling well,” Patrick Simpson said.

“They’re athletic for their size. They can move really well. And they’re strong,” he said of the Fisher brothers, who are part of a wrestling family. Older brothers Ricky and Hal wrestled for Father Ryan, with Ricky winning a state championship, and Dominic was a two-time state runner-up wrestling for MBA.

Gregory Gomez, a parishioner at Christ the King Church in Nashville, finished third place at 113 pounds in the Division I-A-AA state tournament. 

Gomez, a sophomore at Martin Luther King Magnet School in Nashville, went 4-1 in the tournament, his only loss coming to eventual state champion Caleb Uhorchuk of Signal Mountain High School. Gomez secured third place with a 10-3 decision over Malik Wooten of Millington Central High School and finished the year with a 7-1 record.

It was the third time Gomez has placed, finishing second at 113 pounds in 2020 and sixth at 106 pounds in 2019.

Pope John Paul II High School freshman Sean Meffe, 126 pounds, was the only Knight to qualify for the state tournament.

Father-Son Retreat attracts nearly 150 people

The first annual Father-Son Retreat held at Camp Marymount drew just under 150 people. 

“I’m hoping to make this an annual event,” said Julianne Staley, the Director of Formation for the Young Church at St. Philip Church in Franklin, who organized the retreat. The diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry helped promote the retreat throughout the diocese, Staley said. 

The retreat featured three speakers: Dr. Matt Jaeger, Dr. Michael Ferri and Ismael Fierro. Dr. Ferri, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church in Downtown Nashville and a neurologist and psychiatrist, gave a talk for the English-speaking fathers, and Fierro, a parishioner at St. Philip, gave a talk for the Spanish-speaking fathers. 

Dr. Matt Jaeger, a parishioner at St. Matthew Church in Franklin and a pediatric emergency room doctor, talked to the teens in the crowd. 

The talks to the fathers were about the model of good fatherhood and Dr. Jaeger’s talk to the sons was about being a good son, tying it into the Theology of the Body and the dangers of seeing your identity in sex and immorality, Staley said. 

Father Rhodes Bolster, the associate pastor at St. Philip, introduced the speakers. The day also included the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration and Mass. 

The retreat was held from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 7. Staley limited the retreat to a half a day so it wouldn’t take people away from their families for the whole day, she explained. 

The Father-Son Retreat was a companion to the Mother-Daughter Retreat held in February.