We have Pope Pius XII to thank for today’s feast day. In 1955, he established the First of May as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker as a means to Christianize labor and give all workers a model and protector and to counter the “May Day” celebrations sponsored for workers by the Communists.
As St. Joseph so humbly and diligently worked at his carpentry trade to provide for the Holy Family, we, too, are called to labor in humility and diligence for the greater glory of God. Jesus further sanctified the value of work by working beside his foster father and continuing the life of a noble worker for the first thirty years of his life.
In his declaration, Pope Pius XII said of St. Joseph, “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.”
On St. Joseph’s feast day, perhaps you’d like to invoke his intercession for yourself and all those you know who work to provide for themselves, their families, and others.
Here’s a beautiful prayer from the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart:
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.