The spirit of St. Joseph – the worker, the father, the dreamer – is alive and well at St. Joseph Church in Carpinteria, CA.

The parish is much of the heart of that small town, and their ministry to folks with addictions has gained many hearts for Christ and transformed lives and entire families. Their pastor, Msgr. Martini, cares for his parishioners much like St. Joseph cared for his own family.

St. Joseph the Worker

This year, St. Joseph Church celebrates the 88th year as a parish; today, the parish looks forward to a drive-in festival Mass amidst the beautiful fields upon which many of their parishioners work. Tomorrow, they will have a special blessing of the hands of craftsman and anyone who works in the spirit of St. Joseph the Worker.

Their parish is a family of workers in every sense of the word. That work extends well beyond their professions and deeply into their faith.

In his parish, a group led by Spanish parishioners called Prevención y Rescate – which translates to “Prevention and Rescue” – is hard at work to care for souls.

Their goal: to combat addiction and alcoholism and to rescue people from gangs. Weekly, they share beautiful witness stories of people about others overcoming their addictions. They have retreats focused on support and spiritual intervention. Members hear the kerygma and become committed to Christ and want to follow him.

“This group takes people out of the shadows into the light. They shine a light on darkness, and people choose to change. I am humbled by this group. They become disciples. Then disciple-makers.” Members have turned away from addiction and towards Christ. They become Mass-goers then catechists; others help with parish fundraisers and events; they are becoming involved in the parish in more and more ways.

St. Joseph the Father

The work of their addiction programs has gone far beyond these groups and extended into the community and into families. Msgr. Martini is so proud of this group. “They changed the culture. They have taken faith formation beyond just the Sunday experience. They have created experiences beyond Mass during which St. Joseph and the Holy Spirit truly move people.”

They have special adult faith formation, small groups to deepen the faith of all family members, and retreats that specifically touch the hearts of fathers. They have grown a group called the School of Men of the Cross. All parents in the school were introduced to a special program for parents. Msgr. says of this group, “At first they grumbled about coming. Then, they began to love it. Now, they are begging for more. We have had to extend this parent program into another full year of learning about liturgy, embracing the bible, and coming to know Jesus more fully.”

This group even goes out once a week and feeds the homeless along freeways. “They came up with the idea – the Spirit is alive and moving in them, and I must get out of the way,” Msgr. Martini laughs.

St. Joseph the Dreamer

Msgr. Martini has great hopes and dreams for his parishioners.

St. Joseph Church is working alongside Catholic Leadership Institute to take our Disciple Maker Index survey and to engage in parish envisioning and pastoral planning. Msgr. Martini and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have been partners with Catholic Leadership Institute through our priestly training program, Good Leaders, Good Shepherds, and lay leader programs focused on leadership, discipleship, and evangelization for many years.

Msgr. Martini says, “St. Joseph had to pivot so many times in his life. He had plans for his life, plans for his family. But, every time he thought he had it worked out, he fell asleep, had a dream, and had to pivot. We at St. Joseph Church are doing the same. Our patron saint and CLI are helping us make all of the shifts we need.”

Friends, let us all pray to St. Joseph to guide this parish into the future and pray for all of us that we may all be “ready to pivot” in the spirit of St. Joseph!

p.s. Join us for some joyful Joseph celebrations!

Videos of Virtue: Each week the men of St. Raymond Parish in Philadelphia are offering reflections on the life and virtues of St. Joseph. The reflections invite us to meditate on the life and spiritual legacy of this glorious saint and Patron of the Universal Church. This effort is being led by Deacon Bill Bradley (who graduated from CLI’s Tending the Talents program) and Richara Krajewski (also a Tending the Talents grad and a Leadership Consultant). You can check these inspiration videos out on St. Raymond’s YouTube channel:

Diocesan Consecration to St. Joseph: In the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT – which has 28 parishes participating in the Disciple Maker Index survey – something beautiful is happening. Today at 7pm, Bishop Caggiano will consecrate the Diocese of Bridgeport to the patronage of Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, at a Pontifical Mass live-streamed from St. Augustine’s Cathedral in Bridgeport. Pastors throughout the diocese will also celebrate Mass at the same time to link the diocese together in prayer and purpose. Prior to the Mass, the Bishop will lead us in praying the Rosary. You can join them via the diocese’s livestream page:

by Chad Peddicord

March 19, 2021

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