Spiritual Exercises: Prepare for the Camino by consecrating yourself to St Joseph

Men enter St Benedict’s Broadway on the 2023 Camino of St Joseph. Photo: Patrick Lee/The Good Thief

Prepare for the Camino of St Joseph on 26 April and the feast of St Joseph the Worker by beginning the 33-day consecration to St Joseph on 30 March!

As I ready myself for the physical demands of the Camino of St Joseph on 26 April, I find myself crippled by a combination of fear and trepidation. 

The thought of walking 22 kilometres, in the dead of night, with no sleep and no food, in the name of St Joseph, has me truly me fearing for my 51-year-old knees.  

The fear is only surpassed by a waking nightmare that I’ll be the one hailing the “emergency bus” in the presence of 500 of my Catholic brotherhood. 

Not finishing is not an option. So, like hundreds of Catholic men across Sydney, I find myself physically preparing for this all-night trek from Austral to Moorebank with some intensive cardio and the occasional HIIT class at my local gym. 

But the organiser of the event, Ivica Kovac, co-ordinator with the Maximus Men’s Ministry, tells me there is a better way to prepare myself. 

My colleague here at the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation informs me that it’s my spiritual preparation that will get me over the line.  

He hands me a copy of Consecration to St Joseph by Fr Donald Calloway MIC.  

The book is a 33-day introduction into the life of St Joseph.  

“Read this, he says, “and prepare yourself by falling in love with the man who taught Jesus how to pray.” 

The day to begin is 30 March, Holy Saturday: “Jesus is in the tomb and it’s 33 days to the feast of St Joseph the worker, on 1 May,” he said. 

 “Over 33 days, through the book, you will get to know St Joseph intimately.”  

“Who taught Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour how to pray? It was St Joseph. He’s the one who prayed with our Lord.  

“He’s the one that nurtured Him. Taught him how to live, how to work. That’s what Joseph did. So, who better to model than St Joseph?  

“This is what this will do. This will be the start of your relationship with St Joseph. You will know St Joseph.” 

Ivica has read the book several times and as a father, it drives him to be better, every day. 

“He’s the greatest of all saints. In the hierarchy of saints, apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary, he is the greatest.” 

Its big praise for someone that didn’t say much. But in a country where men prize action over words, it explains why so many Australian men have embraced St Joseph, the worker and why numbers to the Camino Walk grow exponentially every year. 

“St Joseph was the model of masculinity. In past we had this old frail figure of St Joseph. It’s wrong,” Ivica said.  

“Today we have our phones, Google maps and money. He had none of that. And he still had no fear. This is only a small sacrifice. “ 

I cradle the book, as I silently commit to embarking on this 33-day spiritual “boot camp” of St Joseph. 

“Go to St Joseph,” says Ivica. “Let yourself be prodded and challenged. You have everything to gain. Leave nothing behind as St Joseph did. Open your heart and mind. And enjoy the ride.” 

And just like that, my gout ridden knees and my crippling fear seem to have gone.  

Thank you, St Joseph. 

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