CAMDEN — Father Jaime Hostios, pastor of Camden’s Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral Parish, has written a book on his parish patron, hoping readers in South Jersey and beyond find an example and protector in his account of the man who was the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary.
“Saint Joseph Between the Divine and the Human” is currently available on Amazon in the Spanish language. An English translation is in the works for future release.
“When I came here to Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral (four years ago as pastor), I didn’t know much about him,” Father Hostios says. But, he says he “wanted to learn more about Saint Joseph.”
Not knowing much is understandable. Of the four Gospels, only Matthew and Luke mention Saint Joseph at all and what they reveal about him is limited. But the priest’s self-education started with a devotional route.
At the parish, he began novenas and special Masses for the patriarch of the Holy Family, and consequently his own personal devotion grew. As well, he started to have a newfound appreciation for a statue of Saint Joseph holding the child Jesus that was gifted to as a seminarian by a retiring deacon. It was this image that inspired the title of his book, he says.
“In this statue, Joseph is holding, protecting, the divine and human — his son, Jesus,” the pastor explained. Although the saint is often depicted in art with carpenters’ tools, here he holds flowers, often used as a symbol of purity.
Three years ago, a childhood friend of Father Hostios’ from his native Colombia, Rogelio Trujillo, convinced him to put pen to page.
The book includes Father Hostios’ research on Saint Joseph, taken from the Bible and scholars. The 264-page book has chapter heading which are descriptions of the saint, such as the “Offspring of David,” “Head of the Holy Family” and “Model of Artisans.”
“This work has three goals: one, so people can know more about Joseph; two, to develop a devotion to him; and three, recognize him as the protector of the church,” Father Hostios says.
When asked, specifically, what he hopes his own parishioners take away after reading the book, the priest is emphatic about the saint’s importance to the contemporary church, and specifically the individuals and families who are under his spiritual care.
“Like my church, Saint Joseph was an immigrant,” fleeing into Egypt with Jesus and Mary during a time of persecution, he says
Father Hostios was ordained at Our Lady of Lourdes, Glassboro, in 2007. He served in Atlantic City, primarily ministering to Hispanics, for seven years before coming to Camden. He became a U.S. citizen in 2016.
“Let’s pray to Joseph to protect us, our families and our jobs,” he says.
“Saint Joseph Between the Divine and the Human” is available now at www.amazon.com