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Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker

Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker

Saint Joseph is one of the few saints in the Catholic Church to have two feasts! He is celebrated on March 19th as the patron saint of the universal Church and husband of the Virgin Mary; but he is also celebrated on May 1st as the patron saint of workers. Discover why and how Christian workers celebrate the carpenter from Nazareth on Labor Day!

May 1st: The Workers' Feast

The Origin of May 1st: A Civil and Secular Celebration

Labor Day, celebrated on May 1st, originated from workers' demonstrations that first took place in the United States and were then replicated in many countries. These first demonstrations dating back to the 19th century called for an eight-hour workday.

The first May 1st parade in France took place in 1890. This date became the traditional day of workers' demonstration and was established as a public holiday in 1948.

Establishment of the Feast of Saint Joseph and His Patronage

In 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted Saint Joseph as the patron saint of workers and made May 1st the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (or Saint Joseph the carpenter).

Through this patronage, the Church wanted to show its interest in the issue of work as well as the rights of workers, especially factory and construction laborers.

This attention of the Church and this awareness of the difficulties and problems related to the world of work are still relevant today. Although social issues and demands have evolved over nearly a century, today a lot of suffering is still present due to competitiveness, the cult of performance, the pursuit of ever-increasing productivity generating stress, unemployment, and precariousness.

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Workers

Sanctification Through Work

Saint Joseph, a carpenter by profession, reminds us how work is part of the divine plan. Joseph is a model for all workers. He reminds us of the beauty and nobility of work, which should not enslave man but contribute to his fulfillment, liberate, and sanctify him.

Through his handiwork, he provided for the needs of Mary and Jesus. He also passed on his knowledge to the Son of God, who accompanied him before his public life. How many mysteries and graces come from Saint Joseph's workshop, as mentioned by Saint John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos: "Thanks to his workshop where he practiced his trade alongside Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption. In the human growth of Jesus 'in wisdom, age, and grace,' one virtue had an important role: professional conscience, for work is 'a good for man' that 'transforms nature' and makes man 'in a certain sense more man'.

Through our work, we are called to participate in creation. Through humility and dedication to our tasks, we discover its redemptive action.

Christian workers are therefore invited to pray to Saint Joseph on May 1st, but also to entrust their professional life to his intercession so that it may be a source of many graces.

Saint Pius X's Prayer to the Glorious Saint Joseph, Model of Workers

"Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the duty of my work above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to use and develop through labor the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, never recoiling in the face of weariness and difficulties; to work, especially with purity of intention and detachment from myself, always keeping in mind death and the account that I will have to give of lost time, unused talents, omitted good, and vain complaisance in success, so detrimental to the work of God. Everything for Jesus, everything for Mary, everything in your imitation, holy patriarch Saint Joseph! This will be my motto in life and death. Amen."

Find many other prayers to entrust your work to the Lord, especially the novena to Saint Joseph the Worker. 

Pray and entrust your work to Saint Joseph with Hozana!

Hozana offers various novenas to Saint Joseph, especially to Saint Joseph the Worker, to entrust your work-related concerns or to find a job.

Click here to start each day with Saint Joseph and take the opportunity to entrust your workday to him.

Association Hozana - 8 rue du Palais de Justice, 69005 Lyon

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