May 1, 2018: ST. JOSEPH, THE WORKMAN
May 1, 2018: ST. JOSEPH, THE WORKMAN
Rank: Double of the I Class
In whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them; and I will be their protector for ever. Alleluia.
Obtain for us, O Joseph, to lead an innocent life; and may it ever be safe through thy Patronage. Alleluia.
On May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Workman.
The first society in order of eminence is the family. The successful existence and continuation of the family depends above all things on authority, which is the foundation of society and preserves it in order. Then comes a devoted service of God, which places the family in proper relationship with Him and assures it His blessing. Furthermore, labor is necessary for the natural stability and support of the family. Finally, there is love, which brings with it domestic peace and happiness.
St. Joseph had an intimate part in all these situations, because he was the guide, protector, counselor, and consolation of the Holy Family in all its joys and sorrows. Thus in his benign fatherliness he is a born patron and protector of families. His place is deservedly in every home. He is the Family Saint. And since there are workers in every family, it is fitting that we turn to St. Joseph and invoke him also as the Patron of Workmen.
In the ecclesiastical year there are two feasts of St. Joseph, which are celebrated throughout the whole Church, the Feast of St. Joseph, celebrated on March 19, which originated in the fifteenth century under Pope Sixtus IV, and the Feast of St. Joseph the Workman, which is celebrated on May 1, and which replaced the Feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph [that had been celebrated on the second Wednesday after the Octave of Easter]. An entire month, March, has been especially dedicated to the veneration of St. Joseph by Pope Pius IX and Leo XIII.
As an obedient child of the Church, follow her example and advice by venerating St. Joseph faithfully. “Go to Joseph” (Gen, xli. 55) in your family needs and problems. You cannot do better than to entrust yourself and your family to the prayers and protection of him to whom God entrusted His own Son and His Blessed Mother. May he, The Family Saint, bless you and your family!
By Fr. Lawrence G. Lovastk, S.V.D.
Feast of St. Joseph the Workman,
May 1, 1956
Divine Word Seminary,
Pope Pius XII
(An address to Catholic Association of Italian Workers, May 1, 1955.)
. . . From the beginning We put your organization under the powerful patronage of St. Joseph. Indeed there could be no better protector to help you deepen in your lives the spirit of the Gospel. As We said then, that spirit flows to you and 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: “Ite ad Joseph” — Go to Joseph (Gen. xli. 55).
. . . Yes, beloved workers, the Pope and the Church cannot withdraw from the divine mission of guiding, protecting, and loving especially the suffering, who are all the more dear the more they are in need of defense and help, whether they be workers or other children of the people.
This duty and obligation We, the Vicar of Christ, desire to reaffirm clearly, here, on the first day of May — which the world of labor has claimed for itself as its own proper feastday — that all may recognize the dignity of labor and that this dignity may be a motivation in forming the social order and laws founded on the equitable distribution of rights and duties.
Acclaimed in this way by Christian workers and having received, as it were, Christian baptism, the first of May, far from being a stimulus for discord, hate and violence, is and will be a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which it still lacking for social peace. A Christian feast, therefore; that is, a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor.
In order that this meaning may remain in your minds and that, in a certain manner, We may make an immediate return for the numerous and precious gifts brought to Us from all parts of Italy, We are happy to announce to you Our determination to institute — as We in fact do now institute — the liturgical feast of St. Joseph the Workman, assigning to it precisely the first day of May. Are you pleased with this Our gift, beloved workers? We are certain that you are, because the humble workman of Nazareth not only personifies before God and the Church the dignity of the manual laborer, but also he is always the provident guardian of you and your families.
Prayer to St. Joseph, the Workman.
St. Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the Will of God that you and your foster-Son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for the working classes!
It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind, that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth He read the words of Isaias and referred them to Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because he has anointed me; to bring good news to the poor he has sent me” (St. Luke, iv. 18). It was God’s Will that you should be occupied with work common to poor people, that in this way Jesus Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, His foster-father, and by freely embracing it. Thus our Lord teaches us that for the humbler class of workmen He has in store His richest graces, provided they live content in the place God’s Providence has assigned them, and remain poor in spirit, for He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom ,of heaven” (St. Matt, v. 3).
The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced — a virtue most pleasing to Him. He chose for His earthly surrounding not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man. What a touching example for the worker of today!
While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the Divine Master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as He worked he adored His Father and recommended the welfare of the world to Him. Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with Him who said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and limitless power.
The light of divine faith that filled your mind, did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the saintly Youth working beside you was truly God's own Son.
St. Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are specially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore: (Mention your request).
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph, Model of Workers.
(500 days indulgence, granted by Pope St. Pius X)
Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins and to work faithfully by placing the love of duty above my own desires.
Help me to work with gratitude and joy. Let me consider it an honor to use and develop by labor the gifts received from God. Aid me to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever avoiding weariness and trials.
Help me to work, above all, for the glory of God and not for any selfish reason; and always to keep before my eyes not only death but also the account I must give of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, and of pride in success, so harmful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after your example, holy patriarch. Saint Joseph! This will be my motto in life and in death. Amen.
Memorare to St. Joseph
(300 days indulgence granted by Pope Pius IX, 26th June 1863, applicable to the dead.)
Remember, most pure spouse of the blessed Virgin Mary, my amiable protector St. Joseph, that it is unheard of that any one ever had recourse to thy protection, and implored thy help, without receiving consolation. Full of this confidence in thy power, I come before thee and recommend myself to thee with fervour. Ah! despise not my prayer, O dear foster-father of our Redeemer, but graciously hear and obtain my request. Amen.
Taken from: St. Joseph, the Family Saint, by Rev. L. G. Lovasik. S.V.D., Edition 1956. Imprimatur
St. Joseph, the Workman, pray for us.