May 1st is the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. The Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (8 December 2020) was written by Pope Francis, for this year dedicated to St Joseph (from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021). The Letter provides a direct inroad into the heart of this man Joseph, spouse of Mary, who was a beloved, tender, obedient, loving, accepting, courageous, working father.
On this feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, we recognise the need for work for every person especially in these challenging times (locally and globally) in this time of pandemic:
“The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!” ~ (Patris Corde – #6).
The following is the full text from Section #6 of this Letter:
A working father
An aspect of Saint Joseph that has been emphasized from the time of the first social Encyclical, Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, is his relation to work. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.
In our own day, when employment has once more become a burning social issue, and unemployment at times reaches record levels even in nations that for decades have enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron.
Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfilment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living?
Working persons, whatever their job may be, are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us. The crisis of our time, which is economic, social, cultural and spiritual, can serve as a summons for all of us to rediscover the value, the importance and necessity of work for bringing about a new “normal” from which no one is excluded.
Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work. The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!
The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint and to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.
The need for work
On this feast of St. Joseph the Worker, let us pray and give thanks for all who work, and for all who are blessed to have work. Let us also ask St. Joseph to intercede for all those who have lost their livelihoods, and who are striving in difficult and impossible circumstances to find work, that they may feel supported and comforted in their necessity and hopeful of a solution.
For Work, and Workers
Joseph, close to Christ and Mary
You lived with them in poverty
Creating a home
By working with noble dignity.
May we seek God’s will as you did,
As workers of today.
Joseph, inspiration for workers
Person of faith and charity
Help us to be courageous, humble, fruitful
In our labour and our leisure
As we contribute to God’s creation
In whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Help those who need to work
To find it.
And those who are blessed with regular work
To always look out for those who
struggle to survive.
Entrusting all our needs to you.
Certain that you hear, and intercede for us.