St. Joseph the Worker Feast Day

“May Day” has long been dedicated as a special day for labor and working people. The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to Christianize labor and give all workers a model and a protector.

By the daily labor in his shop, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became a role model for laborers. The liturgy for this feast celebrates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. How did this connection with St. Joseph the Worker, which is nearly as old as Christianity, get made?

In an effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in the satisfaction and the drudgery of that vocation.

Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ. In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work of caring for the family.

An excerpt from the Vatican II document on the modern world said, “Where men and women, in the course of gaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, offer appropriate service to society, they can be confident that their personal efforts promote the work of the Creator, confer benefits on their fellowmen, and help to realize God’s plan in history.”


Prayer for Workers

God, the creator of all things, who formed the law of labor for the human race, graciously grant that by merits and patronage of St. Joseph, we may do the work You assign us and earn the reward You promise. Through our Lord, Jesus. Lord God, You have created all things, and imposed on man the necessity of work. Grant that, following Joseph’s example, and under his protection, we may accomplish the works You give us and obtain the rewards You promise. This we ask through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is also a very special day for the Josephites, who have been serving in the African-American community in the United States since 1871. Our pastoral ministry extends from Baltimore and Washington, to Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California where we lead 40 parishes and schools, including the historic, all-Black, 600-student St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. While these are challenging times for our country, St. Joseph the Worker provides comfort, guidance and support to those who are suffering the ravages of our economic problems. You may have family, friends or neighbors that are struggling with employment and making ends meet. You can send your intercession and prayer requests to the Josephites and we will remember them in prayer on the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker. Together we will ask St. Joseph to help us in this time of need.

For us, St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Family and mentor to the child Jesus, is an inspiration. St. Joseph shows us the value of hard work and the importance of sharing skills with others, as he did when Jesus served as his apprentice. Every day in our inner cities and rural areas, Josephites lead, teach and empower others in places where the need has been the greatest. Often the parishes that Josephites serve cannot afford to financially support a priest or brother. Will you help the Josephites continue to provide sacramental ministry, pastoral care and personal witness? In these times of recession with high unemployment, we ask for St. Joseph’s intercession to find good, productive work for all those who are searching. We pray for work which will improve the society in which we live and give us a spirit of peace and prosperity. May good St. Joseph intercede for you and for all of your special intentions. You can be assured that we Josephites will be petitioning our patron saint on your behalf, too.



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