The National Catholic Review

For well over a century May 1st has been celebrated around worldwide as labor’s holiday. In 1955 Pius XII established May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. “The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter,” explained John Paul II in his 1989 Apostolic Exhortation On the Person and Mission of Saint Joseph in the Life of Christ and the Church.

If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus' work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.

On this Feast of St Joseph the Worker, let us offer a prayer for all those who work with their hands.

And be especially nice to carpenters.

Comments

J Cosgrove | 5/1/2012 - 10:21pm
Some carpenters are worth their weight in gold.  I have met a couple in recent years that made me marvel at their skills.  They were ture artists but with wood and saws.
ed gleason | 5/1/2012 - 10:03pm
Yes today is the St. Joseph the Worker day, I am reminded after a day of sheet rocking my son's bathroom ceiling that needed shims  on the joists  [carpentry?] to make it all come out right. Tired shoulders is a good reminder manual labor is holy, as Joseph showed us.
6466379 | 5/1/2012 - 7:24pm
Saint Joseph is my favorite saint and Confirmation patron. Next to his wife, the mother of Jesus  Blessed Mary, he’s the greatest saint of the Catholic Church, a married man and member of the laity along with his wife, the Queen of Heaven, both of them lay people. That’s remarkable!
St. Joseph was a working man probably with adequate schooling, and well educated  in his trade, that of a woodworker, a carpenter and some suggest skilled in construction as well. I think one may safely assume that St. Joseph, while not wealthy, was able to provide an adequate living for his family. God certainly would not entrust his Son and Mother to a man unable to provide proper support.
There is a tradition not often discussed, that Joseph had been married and had children prior to becoming Mary’s husband and Foster Father to God’s Son. After his marriage to Mary any children that Joseph may have had would become the legal brothers and sisters of Jesus. Are these the “brothers and sisters of Jesus” of which Scripture speaks? I don’t know but I kind of like the idea!
 So then,  Joseph  knew something about family life and what it takes to be husband and father. Was this one of the reasons why the Wise and Prudent God chose Joseph to be a loving and faithful  husband to the Mary ever a virgin and a steady guide to Jesus from infancy through childhood, to early manhood, a Dad on which Jesus would model his human development?
St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Earthly Father to Jesus, Patron of the Catholic Church AND my Patron – the perfect man for the job Heaven gave him, God’s “middle man” and truly a Man for all Seasons! Joseph, pray for us!