The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in order to Christianize the concept of labor and give to all workmen a model and a protector. By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers. “Workmen and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares”(Leo XIII).

“May Day” has long been dedicated to labor and the working man. It falls on the first day of the month that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that this feast would accentuate the dignity of labor and would bring a spiritual dimension to labor unions. It is eminently fitting that St. Joseph, a working man who became the foster-father of Christ and patron of the universal Church, should be honored on this day.

The texts of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours provide a catechetical synthesis of the significance of human labor seen in the light of faith. The Opening Prayer states that God, the creator and ruler of the universe, has called men and women in every age to develop and use their talents for the good of others. The Office of Readings, taken from the document of the Second Vatican Council on the Church in the modern world, develops this idea. In every type of labor we are obeying the command of God given in Genesis 2:15 and repeated in the responsory for the Office of Readings. The responsory for the Canticle of Zechariah says that “St. Joseph faithfully practiced the carpenter’s trade. He is a shining example for all workers.” Then, in the second part of the Opening Prayer, we ask that we may do the work that God has asked of us and come to the rewards he has promised. In the Prayer after Communion we ask: “May our lives manifest your love; may we rejoice for ever in your peace.”

The liturgy for this feast vindicates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. In many of the documents issued by Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II, reference is made to the Christian spirit that should permeate one’s work, after the example of St. Joseph. In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work done in caring for the family. The Office of Readings contains an excerpt from the Vatican II document on the modern world: “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” (no. 34).

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  1. St. Joseph, let my paperwork fall into the right hands, so that it is approved in Jesus’ name, thank you! May you be glorified!

  2. I want to say that St. Joseph is with me! After typing the last word of the above post, the phone rang, and it was person related to my intention, a person to help me with my paperwork. All praise to God! I wish St. Joseph the Worker Day never had to end!

  3. St. Joseph please intercede on my behalf that my job applications be seen by the right persons so that I may receive a great, stable job offer soon. Amen

  4. Heal my broken heart St Joseph I pray that Jesus Divine Love will fill my heart and soul and my entire being

  5. Dear saint Joseph, please protect my family and bring the younger ones to Jesus. Help me to raise them to be true followers of Jesus Amen.

  6. O St Joseph please pray for my family ,at present lots of stress – My husband is sick please pray that he will be well soon as there are so many issues to put in place – if its God’s Will that is gets over this, please change his attitude towards me, he is a good provider, he worked really hard to support his family but he has a stubbeness that he knows everything that prevents him from being a patient and loving father and husband please make him a little like you St Joseph – Thank you Amen

  7. Wish the Church wouldn’t willy-nilly move saints’ days around. St Joseph The Worker (San José Obrero) used to be celebrated March 19th. I believe that was the day designated by Pius XII.

  8. The use of the term “foster father” needs further study. A foster comes in when there is no one in the family; Jesus had a very loving mother. Foster also implies government intervention. There was no government intervention involved; the angels of the Father were sent. Our blessed St. Joseph is a guardian at worse; a protector, teacher, guide. I do believe that foster parents have their place and the majority are good and loving people. This, however, is not St. Joseph and to perpetually use this term needs prayer for change.

  9. Glorious St. Joseph,
    model of all those who are devoted to labour,
    obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously,
    putting the call of duty above my many sins;
    to work with thankfulness and joy,
    considering it an honour to employ and develop,
    by means of labour,
    the gifts received from God;
    to work with order,
    peace, prudence and patience,
    never surrendering to weariness or difficulties;
    to work, above all,
    with purity of intention,
    and with detachment from self,
    having always death before my eyes
    and the account which I must render of time lost,
    of talents wasted,
    of good omitted,
    of vain complacency in success
    so fatal to the work of God.
    All for Jesus,
    all for Mary,
    all after thy example,
    O Patriarch Joseph.
    Such shall be my motto in life and death.


  10. In a time of many jobless,,,, here in America,,,,Please St.Joesph,,,help these people who need to Care for their
    Families!!!!!!!! I Pray to you,,,St.Joseph that you will intercede on my behalf !!!! I have been PRAYING ,,,,,to our Son,,,,
    Jesus Christ,,,,,and I know the time is NOW!!!!!!!! Lead,,,me guide me to the RIGHT PLACE!!!!!!A place where I can do
    YOUR. WILL !!!!!!!!! May I walk with you Jesus Christ as you give to me EVERYTHING,,,,I need to accomplish my work.
    ALL of your people need to work,,,,no matter what age ,,,,because we can ALWAYS work for you ,,sharing your GOOD NEWS,,,,of God…..ST. JOSEPH,,,your life took many turns,,,,,even puzzling,,questionable times,,,,BUT you BELIEVED!!!
    ST. JOSEPH,,,let your FAITH….YOUR ABILITY to TRUST in God be OURS!!!!!!!!


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