May 1st – Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
In the Apostolic letter Patris Corde, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis defines him as a working Father and says about him:
“An aspect of Saint Joseph that has been emphasized from the time of the first social Encyclical, Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, is his relation to work. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living so as to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour”.
“When Fr. Janssen began with the Brothers in our Congregation, Saint Joseph, with his quiet work in the carpentry workshop of the Sacred Family, became the Patron of our Brothers. His feast days were, therefore, days of special celebration. Fr Sandkamp writes: “It is common knowledge that our founder had a strong personal devotion to Saint Joseph and he turned to him for all his needs. Many also testify that he received extraordinary help from him ”.
(McHugh, Peter, SVD, SVD Spirituality, 1975, page 205)
Saint Joseph’s commitment to work should inspire Christians to be increasingly committed to the causes of workers and to the election of political leaders who place the right to work and a decent wage as fundamental ways to guarantee women and families access to housing, education, health and culture.
The increase in poverty and hunger caused by the Covid 19 pandemic invites us to redouble our efforts so that the dignity of the poorest is not trampled on and that workers and their families are the first to be welcomed and cared for in their needs.
O Saint Joseph, guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of Mary, who passed your life in the perfect fulfillment of duty, sustaining the Holy Family of Nazareth with the labour of your hands, kindly protect those who trustingly turn to you. You know their aspirations, their miseries, their hope; and they have recourse to you because they know that they will find in you one who will understand and protect them. You too have known trial, labour and weariness.
But, even in the midst of worries about the material life, your soul was filled with profound peace and it exulted in unerring joy through intimacy with the Son of God entrusted to you, and with Mary, his most sweet mother.
Make those whom you protect understand that they are not alone in their labour, but show them how to discover Jesus near them, to receive him with grace, to guard him faithfully, as you have done. And assure that in every family, in every factory, in every workshop, wherever a Christian works, all may be satisfied in charity, in patience, in justice, in seeking to do God’s will, so that abundant gifts may descend from heaven. Amen.
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