A Reflection on the Feast of St Joseph the Worker

Saturday 1st May 2021

John Griffin reflects on the Feast Day of St Joseph the Worker, as part of the Year of St Joseph and the Family.

Pope Francis has invited the universal Church to dedicate a Year of St Joseph and the Family. In our Diocese we celebrate this from March 2020-2021. Did you know that St Joseph in one of the principal patrons of our Diocese?

The first of May is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, a liturgical feast established by Venerable Pope Pius XII in 1955 to honour the dignity of work and vocation. St Joseph is the patron of all workers. During the pandemic we have shown our appreciation in particular to the selflessness of frontline key workers who have put the needs of others before their own.

Discerning the task God has assigned for us to do is part of discerning our vocation, whether that be in the religious life or as the lay faithful. Our work is sacred. When we work, we share in God’s creativity of bringing God’s Kingdom on earth. Jesus used many parables associated with working in the vineyard of the Lord. Jesus devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenters bench, assisting St Joseph and in doing so he made work Holy.

Catholic Social Teaching has always taught work is dignified and an intrinsic good, and workers must always be respected and valued. The state has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly workers and ensure there are good working conditions. In his latest book, ‘Let us Dream’, Pope Francis encourages leaders and employers to ensure every work receives a Universal Basic Income to allow a brighter future with fairer economy and an end to poverty.

As we go about our daily tasks, let us ask for St Joseph’s intercession so all that we do can be for the greater glory of God. We pray for those who are looking for work, those who find their work difficult and for fairer and safer working conditions and pay.

During this Year of St Joseph, Pope Francis invites us to pray this prayer:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,

and defend us from every evil.  Amen.


St Joseph the Worker, Pray for us

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