Since the 19th century, May 1 has been associated with the struggle for improved working conditions for laborers, first in the United States and later in Communist countries, where it became closely associated with communist ideology. Pius XII chose to establish a feast of Joseph’s patronage of labor on this date in 1955 to underscore that we can offer our work to the Lord for his glory and our own sanctification.”
Magnificat, May 1, 2021
Solemnity Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
St. Joseph was born in Bethlehem in Judea and later settled in Nazareth. By Divine command he became the husband of the Virgin Mary and adoptive father to God Incarnate. We know from Scripture and Tradition that St. Joseph was a virtuous man and a carpenter by trade. It was he who was entrusted with the great mission to guard, protect, and provide for the temporal needs of God’s most precious gifts, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, in the role of husband and father within the Holy Family.
St. Joseph’s mission continues from heaven as the patron saint of the Catholic Church. He is also the patron of many causes including fathers, laborers, and families. His feast days are: St. Joseph the Husband of Mary on March 19th, and St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 to emphasize the dignity, meaning, and value of human work in the eyes of God, and to give all laborers a model of virtue as well as a heavenly intercessor and protector.
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No worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by the spirit than the foster-father of Jesus … Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we repeat, ‘Go to Joseph.'”
Pope Pius XII
God our Father, creator and ruler of the universe, in every age you call man to develop and use his gifts for the good of others. With St. Joseph as our example and guide, help us to do the work you have asked and come to the rewards you have promised.”
Opening Prayer for the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker
st. joseph the worker
by Author, Universalis.com The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker is not a mere Catholic copying of the Communist First of May – any more than Christmas is a mere copy of the pagan feast of Saturnalia. The dates are taken over, for obvious reasons; but the content is radically different. The Christian view of work is the opposite of the materialist view. A worker such as St Joseph is not a mere lump of labour – “1.00 human work units.” He is a person. He is created in God’s own image, and just as creation is an activity of God, so creation is an activity of the worker. The work we do echoes the glorious work that God has done. It may not be wasted; or abused; or improperly paid; or directed to wrong or pointless ends. To do any of these things is not oppression, it is sacrilege. The glory of the present economic system is when it gives so many, of whatever class, the chance to build and create something worthwhile, whether from their own resources, or in collaboration with others, or by attracting investment from others. But its shame is when that does not happen: when people are coerced, by greed or by poverty, into being “lumps of labour.” Whether the labour is arduous or not makes no difference; whether it is richly paid or not makes no difference. Because she must combat the anti-humanist Communist heresy the Church is sometimes thought to be on the side of capital. Reading the successive Papal encyclicals on labour and society, from Rerum Novarum (1891) onwards, will soon dispel that illusion. The enemies of the Church have no reason to read them; all too often we feel too comfortable in our present economic state and refrain from reading them also. Credit: Universalis.com
saint joseph, model of workmen, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.