On 19 March 1961, the Feast of St Joseph, Pope John XXIII, whose baptismal name was Giuseppe (Joseph) Angelo Roncalli, proclaimed him as the patron saint of the Second Vatican Council, as Cardijn himself noted (image above).
“Besides a few glimpses of his recurring figure here and there in the writings of the Fathers, he has remains for centuries and centuries in his characteristic hiding, almost as a figure of ornament in the picture of the life of the Savior,” Pope John wrote.
“And it took some time before his cult penetrated from the eyes into the hearts of the faithful, and drew from it special elevations of prayer and trusting abandonment.
“These were the fervent joys reserved for the effusions of the modern age: oh! how copious and impressive; and of these we are particularly pleased to immediately grasp a very characteristic and significant relief,” he added.
It was only with the advent of the modern popes, from Pope Pius IX till Pius XII, who raised his profile in the Church and among the faithful.
Pope Pius XII, in fact, had proclaimed St Joseph as patron saint of workers, John noted.
In a similar spirit, he now proclaimed his patron of the Second Vatican Council.
“The Council is made for all the Christian people who are interested in it for that more perfect circulation of grace, of Christian vitality, which makes the purchase of the truly precious goods of the present life easier and quicker, and ensures the riches of eternal centuries,” Pope John explaining why he had chosen Joseph, a lay man, as patron of the Council.
Pope John XIII, Apostolic Letter Le Voci, 19 March 1961 (Vatican.va)
Stained glass window from the Catholic chapel of Dartmouth College.