This post originally appeared on May 1, 2012.
May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The feast was originated by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to counter the “May Day” celebrations sponsored by the Communists. But the relationship between St. Joseph and the cause of workers goes further back, all the way to the early Church, which emphasized that Jesus was himself a worker – a humble carpenter – trained by his carpenter father, Joseph.
Here is a nice reflection on this feast, courtesy of Catholic News Agency:
St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.
“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” St. Pope John Paul II had once said.
There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.
We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.
So, on this feast of St. Joseph the Worker, let’s offer a special prayer for all the workers in our lives, especially fathers. Below is a prayer I’ve written for the fathers in my own life:
Dear St. Joseph,
You so humbly, faithfully, worked to serve others, but most importantly to serve your own family. You are an example for all fathers, both actual and spiritual, as they tend to those in their care. Intercede for them in their needs, encourage them in their struggles, rejoice with them in the fruits of their labors, and carry with them the burden of their responsibilities. Ask our Lord to bless them, protect them, and sustain them. St. Joseph, be their every-present companion, co-worker, and guide. Amen.
Happy Feast of St. Joseph the Worker!
Image: Marge Fenelon, Our Lady of Peace Shrine, Santa Clara, CA. Do not use without permission.