Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
May 1, 2021
“Lord, give success to the work of our hands”
We most notably celebrate and commemorate St. Joseph as the earthly father of Jesus and devoted husband to the Virgin Mary. We celebrate him on March 19 as the Patron Saint of the Universal Church. The May 1 feast extends Sr. Joseph’s protection to the laborer.
Today’s celebration of St. Joseph the Worker was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a response to the Communist Party’s “May Day”, which is recognized in over 90 countries around the world commemorating the working class and organized labor. But that’s another story.
St. Joseph is a perfect example of the fulfillment of the command found in the Book of Genesis that the dignity of human work be celebrated alongside God’s creative work. St. Joseph, the carpenter and earthly father of Jesus, is one example of the holiness of human labor.
St. Pope John Paul II wrote that, “the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide [social] changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and society.”
St. Joseph is held up as the model of such work. Pope Pius XII used this as his framework in instituted the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker, saying, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work.”
Let us praise Christ the Lord, as we celebrate the memory of St. Joseph.
In Praise of St. Joseph
Joseph, patron saint of workers,
blending skill with charity,
silent carpenter, we praise you!
Joining work with honesty,
you taught Christ with joy to labor,
sharing his nobility.
Joseph, close to Christ and Mary,
lived with them in poverty,
shared with them their home and labor,
worked with noble dignity.
May we seek God’s will as you did,
leader of his family!
Joseph, inspiration for workers,
man of faith and charity.
Make us honest, humble, faithful,
strong with Christ’s true liberty.
Make our labor and our leisure
fruitful to eternity.