St. Joseph the Worker
St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19th, Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1st, Joseph, the Worker.
The Story of Saint Joseph the Worker
To foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955. This feast extends the long relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers in both Catholic faith and devotion. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, the dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind both fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Gn 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. Saint Joseph, the carpenter, and foster father of Jesus is but one example of the holiness of human labor.
Jesus, too, was a carpenter. He learned the trade from Saint Joseph and spent his early adult years working side-by-side in Joseph’s carpentry shop before leaving to pursue his ministry as preacher and healer.
Saint Joseph is held up as a model of such work. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “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.”
This feast would be a good day to tackle a hands-on project as a family and to pray for all laborers.
Before beginning your next workday, consider praying this simple, yet powerful prayer to St. Joseph. He will help you utilize your talents, turning the “daily grind” into something beautiful for God.
Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow, you supported Jesus and Mary, and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.
Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance, for God and for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them, that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all.
Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith, so that I shall recognize in it my share in God’s own creative activity and in Christ’s
work of our redemption, and so take pride in it.
When it is pleasant and productive, remind me to give thanks to God for it. And when it is burdensome, teach me to offer it to God, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the world.
Resources from: St. Joseph Shrine; Catholic News Agency; Franciscan Media