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On today’s podcast episode, host Rick Howick welcomes Lesa Truxaw to the program. Lesa has served the Diocese of Orange for close to 20 years; and, she brings a wealth of ministry experience to the table. Her title is “Director For the Office of Worship” at the Pastoral Center in the Diocese of Orange.

Our key area of discussion today is the proclamation made by Pope Francis that is of such great importance for 2021: “The Year of St. Joseph.”

What exactly does that entail? Tune in and find out!





Originally broadcast on 3/6/21


St. Joseph Evangelization Network-St. Joseph Radio each year honors Catholic lay men who give selflessly to the Church. The individual selected from all nominees as Catholic Man of the Year for the Diocese of Orange will be feted at a dinner on March 22 at the Anaheim Marriot Suites in Garden Grove. Bishop Timothy Freyer will present the award. 

Parishes may nominate one or more men from their church, including individuals as well as those who are active in organizations such as Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul, Cursillo, Legion of Mary and others. 

Candidates must be practicing Catholic lay men within the Diocese of Orange who, as unpaid volunteers, contribute outstanding service to the Church and the community in the humble, quiet spirit of Saint Joseph, according to the nomination committee. Individuals may be nominated every other year. 

Nomination forms can be downloaded at 

Tickets to the March 22 award dinner are $100 per person, $50 for children age 12 and under. Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 12. Information: 714-609-9606


Anyone who is a parent knows that children try your patience. Unlike pets, they can’t be sent to the back yard with a dish of water and praise. They need guidance, support and love, 24/7. 

St. Joseph, our spiritual father, is the model for selfless fatherhood. St. John Paul II explains that the Holy Family is inserted directly into the mystery of the Incarnation, according to  

“Though St. Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, when he reveals, relives, and radiates the very fatherhood of God, he becomes Jesus’ authentic human, and I would add spiritual, father,” notes writer Dave McClow. “His masculinity is fully expressed in his spiritual fatherhood, as it should be for all men, first and foremost, even if they are not biological fathers.” 

Today’s males face a crisis of faith. They are challenged to face the realities of fatherhood along with the responsibilities of raising kids in a world that doesn’t openly value dads. McClow says, “The antidote is men fully living out their faith as spiritual fathers by informally adopting our lost generation. Our faith calls us to care for the ‘least’ and the vulnerable (Mt. 25:40) and to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ (Mt. 28:19) – that’s spiritual fatherhood; that’s the summit of being a man, and St. Joseph is our prototypical model.” 

As if being a dad wasn’t hard enough, our prototype St. Joseph is endlessly patient, abounding in love and content to fade into the background as his stepson lives out his fate as Our Savior. St. Joseph’s kindness abounds. His strength is quiet, sincere and everlasting. 

McClow’s story notes that more than 40 percent of kids today grow up without fathers, according to the U.S. Census. “Fatherlessness is devastating – legally, morally, psychologically, and spiritually,” he adds. Fatherless kids comprise 63 percent of youth suicides, according to the U.S. Department of Health; 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youth are fatherless kids.” 

Sobering statistics, they emphasize the importance of a strong father in the home. My husband provides the backbone of our family. When I was out earning a living at a stressful position, he had a flexible teaching job that meant he was home to cook dinner and do homework with the children.  

No doubt that is why our oldest son says he wants to be home for his future kids in the same way his father was, as he recalls piggy back rides to the pool and riding along on Dad’s bike to his first swim classes.  

Father John A. Hardon writes on that our prayers to St. Joseph for direction toward being good parents are well founded. Hardon says that true fatherhood begins with a lifetime commitment of the husband to his wife, and true fatherhood builds on the selfless love of the husband for his wife. 

“True fatherhood depends on the generous love of the husband for the offspring of his wife,” Hardon writes. “True fatherhood means that the husband cooperates with his wife in the spiritual upbringing of the children. 

“True fatherhood therefore, is not only or even mainly generating a human body in this world,” Hardon concludes. “It is also and mainly collaborating with the mother in developing the human soul for everlasting life in eternity.” 

Yes – parenthood is tough. Still, it may the work that brings us spiritual salvation with the guidance of the holiest of dads, St. Joseph.  


Hope Builders, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange in 1995, empowers disadvantaged young adults with the life skills and job training needed to achieve enduring personal and professional success. The project was a response to increasing gang violence, high youth unemployment, low high school graduation rates and rising teen pregnancy rates in Central Orange County. Each year Hope Builders serves more than 550 youth who are caught in this cycle of poverty and strives to help them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. 

The Innovation Institute subsidiary Hospitality Business Network Solutions (HBNS), an IT management firm, has completed its first field internship for trainees of Hope Builders’ Information Technology Program. 

The 16-week intensive skills training program is provided through a collaboration between Santa Ana College Computer Science Department and Hope Builders. Participants complete the Help Desk Technician certification from Santa Ana College. 

The program prepares trainees for help desk technician, computer technician, network support specialist, and IT support specialist employment positions. Emphasis is placed on building professionalism, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills. A 4-week field internship follows classroom training. 

“We are pleased that HBNS was able to provide hands-on IT training to these promising students,” said Joe Randolph, Innovation Institute President and CEO. “It is great to be able to give back this way, and we wish them the best in their career endeavors.” 

“This program helps youth to realize their strengths and positively impact their futures,” said Larry Stofko, Hope Builders’ Board Member and Innovation Institute Executive Vice President. “We are grateful to all who support this important program.”  


St. Joseph Hoag Health is on a mission to provide resources, support and care for those suffering from mental health concerns. Recently, the network took its message of support to one of the biggest venues in Orange County–Angel Stadium–to let residents know they have a place to turn when they, or someone they know, faces mental health challenges. Sporting batting gloves imprinted with the message “You Are Not Alone,” executives, medical experts and even a recovering patient stepped onto the field before the Angels faced the Yankees to tell the audience that mental illness is not a condition to be hidden.



“We’re here to bring awareness to the issue of mental health and mental wellness, and behavior health, and all of the issues that surround the stigma of mental illness,” said Dr. Richard Afable, executive vice president of Providence St. Joseph Health’s Southern California Region and president and CEO of St. Joseph Hoag Health.

“We want to bring to the attention of the community (that) mental illness and behavioral health is such a major problem in our community…it affects everybody,” Dr. Afable said.

From the most severe chronic conditions such as bio polar and manic-depressive, to schizophrenia and anxiety, there are a range of conditions that St. Joseph Hoag Health is expert at treating, said Dr. Afable.

The number of people dealing with some form of mental health challenge is staggering. Twenty to 25 percent of the population is affected, said Dr. Clayton Chau, regional executive medical director for St. Joseph Hoag Health’s Institute for Mental Health and Wellness.

Dr. Chau explained that a major initiative, led by St. Joseph Hoag Health, aims to change that number. “We just recently established a community coalition for behavior health here in Orange County.” Dr. Chau said. “We have many stakeholders–public, private and academic institutions–joining us in moving toward creating a system of care for people living in Orange County.”

A patient who benefited from treatment for depression at St. Joseph Hoag Health’s Mission Hospital Laguna Beach shared his story of success with the media before he threw out the first pitch.

“My treatment at St. Joseph was a lifesaving event,” he said. “I did feel hopeless. I did feel unbelievably disheartened and discouraged and frustrated.” Six to seven months after reaching a breakthrough in his treatment, he said, he’s well on his way to recovery.

“This is not an illness to be hidden… it needs to be out there and it can be treated,” Dr. Afable said.


For more information:



In the past few years, prominent celebrities have come forward to share their struggles with mental illness.

Lady Gaga talked openly about suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome following a sexual attack when she was a teen. Prince Harry recently admitted that after his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash when he was 12, he shut down emotionally for years. Following the birth of her son, Gwyneth Paltrow says that she fell into a post-partum depression, which made her feeling like a zombie, devoid of feeling.

These celebrity revelations are part of a growing movement to de-stigmatize mental illness so that anyone who suffers from one of its many forms will find the courage to reach out for help.

Providence St. Joseph Health is playing a major role in this effort with the 2016 establishment of the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, which will boost access to mental health services in Orange County and across the country, and will shape policy about it.

“Two years ago, when Providence and St. Joseph Health came together, both organizations considered what we could do together that we couldn’t do apart,” explains Annette M. Walker, president of strategy, Providence St. Joseph and chief executive at St. Joseph Health.

“Both management teams came to same conclusion — that we should tackle mental health, to be a bigger voice for advocacy and to draw attention to mental health issues,” she says.


Meeting a community need

The number of people who need help with mental or emotional problems is great. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States suffered from severe mental illness (basic daily functioning was impaired) in 2015.

And more than 43 million adults suffered from some kind of mental illness — such as depression, anxiety, thinking about suicide, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yet help for these many problems is not easy to find. “If you look at the health of most communities, one of the most under-addressed areas is mental health,” says Walker. “It might be a universally recognized problem, but it’s not universally addressed,” she says.

When people with mental health issues don’t have access to treatment such as medication, psychotherapy, support groups or clinics — or are too afraid or ashamed to look for help — they often end up in emergency rooms, local jails or on the streets. According to one report, about 25 to 30 percent of homeless people suffer some form of mental illness.

This places a heavy burden on police and fire departments and emergency room doctors.


Supporting services that work

Walker said that the new health system has committed to two actions: “First, we’ve created the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, which will drive a national mental health agenda, and fund research for mental health improvements,” she says. “Providence St. Joseph Health invested $100 million to start this foundation and we will be recruiting other institutions to get this work done nationally.

“Second, in California, Providence St. Joseph Health has committed $30 million of new funds to mental health programs in communities we serve.”

This effort is in sync with the Catholic view of health care. “Whole person care is a fundamental part of Catholic theology,” says Walker. “Addressing mental health is 100 percent consistent with that mission.”

Doctors and other caregivers in the Providence St. Joseph Health system are excited by the new initiative. “Mental health is a critical element of an optimal care team, and many physical issues have mental health components,” she says.


Help and understanding

Walker says the goals of the Institute are to boost programs that offer services as well as promote education about mental illness, including addiction, to help remove the stigma around it.

“Look at any room full of people, and most likely every person there has had some issue with mental health. We want to take away the stigma so that everyone, including family members, can find the right resources they need for help.”


With Valentine’s Day upon us, an annual tradition in the U.S., and in many parts of the world, is for fathers to reach out and display their love and affection for their families. Typically, a father presents gifts to his wife and children on Valentine’s Day to display his commitment to them.

As a role model, Catholic fathers are blessed to have St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. St. Joseph is held in high regard by the Church as a selfless father and a faithful husband who was devoted to his family.

“St. Joseph is a protector and a reliable and a trustworthy father,” says Sister Eileen McNerney of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. “The stability he showed in a marriage is extremely important because today 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.”

Joseph is also patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.

The Catholic Church honors St. Joseph annually with two feasts days, on March 19 and May 1.

When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but he was unaware that she was carrying the Son of God.

Joseph knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).

“Joseph would have been justified not to marry Mary because she was pregnant and the baby was not his,” says Sister Katherine “Kit” Gray of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. “He would have been justified in doing so, but he listened and obeyed the Angel and married Mary and formed a family showing selfless love.

“Today, we can follow the example of St. Joseph by serving others in ministry, volunteering, collaborating with others and by providing support from beyond the scenes. St. Joseph sacrificed for the big picture of God’s plan for Salvation.”

When the angel came again to tell Joseph that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and baby. Joseph waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

“St. Joseph exemplifies a symbol of providing safety for his family,” says Fr. Troy Schneider, the Parochial Vicar of the Diocese of Orange. “Joseph had courage that others would not have had. He provided safety and protection for his family on the long and dangerous journey through the desert.”

“St. Joseph is an example for immigrant families who live in fear,” says Sister McNerney added. “He took a big risk to leave his home for a foreign land, not knowing where his next meal or job would be for the well-being of his family.”

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph, along with Mary, searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48).

“I image many of us have a notion of the image of what marriage and the family looks like in modern western world,” says Katie Dawson Director of Parish Faith Formation for the Diocese of Orange. “St. Joseph exemplifies what it truly means to sacrifice for your marriage and your family.

“I’m sure Joseph had dreams and aspirations for his marriage, but God intervened and changed his life. We find a solid example of model faith with St. Joseph. He shepherded his family away from danger on their flight to Egypt.”

The Pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Placentia, Reverend Jack Sewell, emphasized that St. Joseph followed God’s plan.

“The role that St. Joseph took on, without fully understanding it, was not his plan, but part of God’s plan,” says Rev. Sewell. “Joseph’s obedience is an example for all of us. The unusual circumstances he experienced changed his life, Mary’s as well, to be the mother and the foster father of the Son of God.

“Scriptures tells us that Joseph was a model educator who guarded and accompanied Jesus in his growth of wisdom, age and grace and who provided Jesus and the family with a stable environment.

“We can strive to have the virtue of humility as St. Joseph did. Joseph openly received God’s word, heard God’s word and humbly obeyed God’s word.”


In His Footsteps Prayer: Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen



When Orange County’s largest employers come to mind, you think of some big names: Disneyland, Boeing, The Irvine Company. But did you know that St. Joseph Health ranks second when comparing private employers by size in the county? The Catholic health care system, which operates St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, St. Jude Medical Center, Mission Hospital, numerous medical groups, affiliated physician networks, health and wellness facilities, and hospice and home health services, has long and storied roots in Orange County. It was founded by what was then a small group of sisters who call themselves the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. Its first hospital in Orange County, St. Joseph in Orange, rose out of a sea of orange groves in 1929, shortly after the sisters settled here from Eureka, Calif. Today, the health system’s Orange County workforce numbers nearly 15,000.

Recently named one of the county’s Best Places to Work by the Orange County Business Journal, St. Joseph Health is looking for talented people to join its values-based workforce. Recruiters will host a booth at the Diocese of Orange’s 40th Anniversary Celebration on Sept. 18 on the Christ Cathedral campus. St. Joseph Health’s talent team will answer questions about the health system’s work environment and match attendees’ skills to a number of open positions.

“We currently have a healthy demand for registered nurses, clinicians and technicians, along with positions in information systems and administration,” said Najla M. DeBow, Southern California system manager, talent acquisition. “If you’re in the market for a new and rewarding employment opportunity, you should stop by our booth and see if St. Joseph Health has a career path that suits you.”

So what makes working there such a great experience? Ask any employee and most have the same answer.

“I have worked at St. Joseph Health for over 20 years, and the devotion to living our mission and values, as aligned with the Sisters of St. Joseph or Orange, is why I love working here,” said Casey Silva, a senior IT analyst. “Our purpose is to meet the health care needs of our community, especially the most vulnerable, even during challenging economic times.”

Christine Bui, a director of finance, echoes the same sentiment. “I love what we stand for. I feel that I am able to contribute to our organization’s mission – continuing the healing ministry of Jesus,” Christine said. “I love seeing the sisters’ presence and getting involved in our operations.”

St. Joseph Health hospitals and medical groups also serve communities in Northern California, Texas and New Mexico. To view a list of employment opportunities at St. Joseph Health, visit



ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) — The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph celebrated 50 years of advocating for the dignity of the human person, made in the image of God, with a July 9-12 conference in Orlando.

Over 700 individuals participated in the four-day conference, including college students who attend schools operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph, lay ministers, volunteers, and members and associates of the 16 communities of sisters.

The federation includes the sisters in all the Sisters of St. Joseph congregations in the United States who claim a common origin in the foundation of the religious order at Le Puy, France, in 1650. In the U.S. there are 4,465 sisters, 2,919 associates and 16 congregations.

Officials of the federation say it seeks to be an influence for positive change in the world while the sisters live out their vocation in their everyday ministries. A major commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph is to improve the lives of survivors of human trafficking — a work that began five years ago in St Louis.

Florida is listed as third in the United States in human trafficking, behind New York and California.

The theme for this year’s conference was, “Our Emerging Story of Being ONE … God’s Love Unfolding,” reflecting the sisters’ charism: to love God and to love their “dear neighbor.”

Presentations focused on raising awareness of labor trafficking and the exploitation of farmworkers. The presentations also showed the participants how to advocate for victims.

Conference leaders gave attendees a call to action: to urge the Wendy’s restaurant chain to join the Fair Food Program launched by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in 2011.

The Fair Food Program is a partnership among farmers, farmworkers and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions as basic as shade and water for workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. It gives farmworkers a voice in the decisions that affect their lives and helps eliminate abuses.

The program has won widespread recognition for its effectiveness. The Washington Post newspaper has called it “one of the great human rights success stories of our day.”

For example, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers won an increase of 1 cent per pound of tomatoes picked by migrants in Florida and sold to fast-food restaurant corporations. The modest increase has had a minimal economic impact on the corporations, but represents a significant increase for the pickers.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Terry Coonan, an associate professor of criminology and founding executive director of Florida State University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. He also is a practicing human rights and immigration attorney.

He illustrated the indignities of human trafficking through stories of Florida cases he has handled, pro bono, and how programs like Fair Food can help. He indicated that because of Florida’s tourism and large agricultural industry, the state is a prime target for traffickers.

According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report put out by the Department of State, “The risk (of human trafficking) is more pronounced in industries that rely upon low-skilled or unskilled labor. This includes jobs that are dirty, dangerous, and difficult — those that are typically low-paying and undervalued by society and are often filled by socially marginalized groups including migrants, people with disabilities, or minorities.”

Coonan, who attributes his passion for human rights to his Catholic education, applauded the efforts of the Sisters of St. Joseph and their collaboration with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

He suggested that one way to help fight the situation of labor trafficking is through corporate governance.

“Corporate governance,” he explained, is “acting as responsible investors, demanding accountability from the kinds of places where our communities, our religious organizations have investments. … Catholic religious sisters have led the way in this area of accountability.”

He was referring to the fact that the Congregations of the Sisters of St. Joseph have had an official presence as a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations since 1979. The sisters also have consultative status at the world body, the highest status that an NGO can have. More specifically, he acknowledged the Wendy’s stock purchased by a Sisters of St. Joseph congregation.

The purchase was to have “a basis for a working relationship with the company” as a stockholder, said Sister Mary Ellen Gondeck, justice coordinator for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Michigan.

“It is really key that we and the Immokalee workers have a place at the table to speak about our concerns and that happens when we are co-owners with companies through holding shares,” she said.

During the Orlando conference, sisters signed letters and postcards to send to Wendy’s CEO, and members were provided talking points to encourage dialogue with the restaurant’s leadership. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is organizing a boycott of Wendy’s in September because the restaurant chain has refused to join the Fair Food Program, when most other fast-food chains have done so, and it also is shifting its tomato purchases from Florida to Mexico.

“Bad and abusive conditions continue to persist in agricultural industry,” Lupe Gonzalo, a farmworker and coalition member, told conference attendees. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but the important thing is to continue working together as consumers and farmworkers to be able to win the changes that are necessary in the fields. We have our voice and our truth.”

She said efforts to fight abuse in the industry have only been successful through the cooperation of corporations but the involvement of consumers.

Acknowledging how one person can make a difference, Sister Kathleen Power, a Sister of St. Joseph of St. Augustine and assistant vocations director for the Diocese of Orlando, said, “I had a strong experience of life exploding in the congregation. At my table, we had two young people, still in college, so excited about uniting love and (their) dear neighbor.’

“Then we had sisters who were in their 70s and 80s asking, ‘Who are some of the dear neighbors. … It made me feel so aware of the new life springing everywhere — in the young, middle-aged and old, all coming to learn, pray and take the fire back to the dear neighbor.”


Meekins writes for the Florida Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Orlando.