St Joseph the Worker - May 1st.
By Robert Ellsberg - Author of numerous books about the saints, and Editor of Orbis Books .
“In early centuries, veneration of St Joseph received little encouragement. Much later, in the sixteenth century, St Joseph, in a somewhat romanticized image of the Holy Family, began to figure more widely in popular preaching as the ideal ‘provider and protector.’ In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared him Patron of the Universal Church.
In 1955, however, Pope Pius XII assigned a new feast, May 1, dedicated to St Joseph the Worker. No doubt this was in some ways an effort to assert a Christian hold on a date celebrated by socialists throughout the world as International Worker’s Day. Through St Joseph - now remembered not just as the spouse of Mary and the surrogate father of Jesus, but as a carpenter - the Church found an emblem of Catholic social teaching on the dignity of work and the rights of working people.
Among those who had intuited this connection was Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement. Under the patronage of St Joseph, she chose May 1, 1933, to launch her newspaper at a Communist rally in New York city’s Union Square. She wrote: ‘For those who think that there is no hope for the future, no recognition of their plight - this little paper is addressed. It is printed to call their attention to the fact that the Catholic Church has a social program-
to let them know that there are men of God (and we’d add women today...)who are working not only for their spiritual but for their material welfare.’ “
From Give Us This Day ... May 1st.
in the night
you teach a
hidden way of
retreat in silence,
or in obedience
But by day,
you lead us
in a prayer,
which is simply
Fr Bill McNichols
May 1, 2019