Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
May 1st is the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, is the patron saint of workers. Pope Pius XII decided in 1955 to add the optional feast day of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1, to counteract the Communists’ May Day holiday by Christianizing this European Labor Day. May Day, or Labor Day, is a public holiday in many countries worldwide. It usually occurs around May 1, but the date varies across countries. It is associated the start of spring as well as the celebration of workers.
Like St. Joseph, let us offer our work as an act of charity done for the love of God and for the love of others, for work well done is a work of love. Work has the capacity to perfect us in a heavenly way. Through our work, we share in the cross of Christ. Like the mystery of the Incarnation, Joseph performed his work in a quiet, hidden way, offering up all that he did to God. Let us imitate him in this way and thank God for the gift of our work, which draws us closer to Him.
“Work is a good belonging to all people and must be made available to all who are capable of engaging in it. ‘Full employment’ therefore remains a mandatory objective for every economic system oriented towards justice and the common good.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 288)
Prayer to St. Joseph, as Patron of Workers
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that 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 through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.
~Composed by St. Pius X
Prayer to St. Joseph for Employment
Dear Saint Joseph, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support my family. Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care. Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God. Amen.
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.
Saint Quotes About 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. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, ‘Go to Joseph.’”
– Pope St. Pius X
“St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life.”
-St. Jose Maria Escriva
“I know by experience that the glorious St. Joseph assists us generally in all necessities. I never asked him for anything which he did not obtain for me.”
– St. Teresa of Avila