This year, Pope Francis proclaimed it as the "Year of St. Joseph" through the apostolic letter "Patris Corde" (with a father's heart), so I thought of writing about the similarity of my father to St. Joseph. Firstly, his name is Jose Salomeo and he married Ma. Jane. What a coincidence? Secondly, well our eldest sister was born on December 25, 1990. Though I sometimes think my mom forced it because my sister was only 7 months that day just to have this similarity 😅. Kidding aside, there are a lot of things that they're similar with, but just a disclaimer, St. Joseph is way better than my papa, though I'm pretty sure he tried his best to be like St. Joseph.
When I was a little boy, I always remember riding a motorcycle with my father, whether it's for a visit to our relatives, taekwondo training, a haircut, or a basketball game. I wrapped my small hands around his body for my safety, and I always felt his deep breath. It was enough for me to be calm because I knew my father was still alive while driving. I can imagine Jesus wrapping his hands the same way to St. Joseph while riding a camel.
I learned a lot from my father without knowing it because he was not the kind of father who would tell you verbally to do this or that. He will just give you something and let you work on it as you want. One time, he bought a little goat and we named him Clothy, tasking me to take care of it. During those days, I really hated tending the goat, and I was so upset with papa because he let me take care of it. Oftentimes, I would forget to tend for Clothy or not tie it well, which would always lead me to apologize to our neighbors because it would eat their plants. Later in my life, I realized that taking care of Clothy and other stuff was his way of teaching me how to be responsible. I wonder if St. Joseph also did the same to Jesus that's why Jesus had the parable of the lost sheep.
He was a man of faith. In fact, all of his clothes or things has Psalm 91 on it. I always remember the image of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on his wallet, which often made me feel guilty when I'm about to take some money from him secretly. He was my first Catechist without knowing it. St. Joseph was a just man; he was a virtuous man especially in faith that's why he took Mary and Jesus to his home.
He was a great protector by serving the country as a military. And I'm very proud to share that he retired at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant of the Philippine Army. He always tried to protect everyone, even those he didn't know. Even on his last breath, he just wanted to protect us. How courageous St. Joseph was by keeping Mary and Jesus from the hands of Herod.
He was a great provider. I always remember that whenever we passed by a pharmacy, sometimes with my sisters, he would let us pick whatever we want. That was a memorable experience for me to be free because if mama were there, we wouldn't be able to do so. Even on his last days, he worked and wanted to provide for us. St. Joseph was a known carpenter in his place that's why he was a great provider too.
I was so blessed to have my father on the phone before he died. His last message for me before he died last September 5, 2021 was about my mother's health. I understood how much he loved and wanted to protect my mama. After he went through fire as a military for us, he went through fire for us again for the last time. He was cremated for the protection of others, like St. Joseph who never had an ending story like he just vanished away. But one thing is sure that they both did, they loved.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for us.
Daghang salamat sa inyong supporta especially sa inyong mga pag ampo para ni papa ug namu. Salamat sa Diyos!
Written by Jasper Salomeo. Jasper served as a full-time missionary for Pure Heart Philippines for the 2020-2021 term. This tribute post was originally published on his personal Facebook page.
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