As you know, St. Joseph’s feast day is traditionally March 19 but this year that solemnity was transferred to today because the liturgy of a Lenten Sunday, in this case, Laetare Sunday, supersedes celebrating St. Joseph. No matter what, March 19 is always Father’s Day in Italy and, of course, the name day (onomastico) of men named Joseph (Giuseppe). Tanti auguri to all men who are Fathers or named Joseph (maybe a double celebration if Dad’s name is Joe)!

If you look at March 17, 19 and 25, you can see what a big week we celebrate in the Church: St. Patrick, St. Joseph and the Annunciation!

March 25, by the way, also marks another important date for the Church: It’s the anniversary of St. John Paul II Encyclical “Evangelium vitae” on the value and inviolability of human life (March 25, 1995).


Pope Francis today received members of Italy’s National Union of Traveling Attractionists (UNAV) and underlined the importance that this type of show – rides and carousels – offers to people in town and city squares, where, he said, “one breathes a climate of genuine light-heartedness in the open air, the opposite of what happens when everyone is alone with his mobile phone or your computer.”

Addressing his guests in the Clementine Hall, the Holy Father said, “Your vocation is to sow joy. For this reason, I encourage you to always keep your heart and your life open to a perspective of faith, which is born of an encounter with Jesus Christ, present and active in his Church, present and active in you, in each of the people you find , in each of the people you make laugh. Which is one of the beautiful things: sowers of smiles! It’s so nice!”

The Pope underscored how those rides and carousels that stop in towns and cities, “offer children and adults moments of light-heartedness, distracting them a little from the worries that beset daily life.” He described “images of pure joy of the happiness of a child on the carousel that is in the “memory of every family.”

“In a world so often marked by a gray and heavy atmosphere,” said Francis, “you remind us that the way to be happy is simplicity; and also a form of entertainment in the open air and in company: the opposite of what we see more and more today, everyone alone with their mobile phone or computer that isolates you from social communication. You invite them to go out, to meet in the square, to have fun together.”

All this reminds us “that we are not made only for work but also for celebration,” concluded the Pope. “God is happy when we celebrate together as brothers and sisters in simplicity.”