May 1st is the feast of St. Joseph the worker. While not the primary celebration of St. Joseph (see below), this feast allows us to celebrate St. Joseph in a way that we can all relate to him —as workers!
We each work—at home, in the world, at school—so we can each draw strength from this humble saint. Here are elevin quick facts about St. Joseph and a prayer specifically to St. Joseph the worker. Also, quick shoutout to my son’s godfather, Joseph, whose birthday is tomorrow! St. Joseph the worker, pray for us.
1. Patron of a multitude
Joseph is the patron saint of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying, social justice, unborn children, travelers, immigrants, a happy death, families, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.
2. Pius XII Established the Feast Day
In 1955, Pius XII established the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, explaining that “The spirit flows to you and to 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.”
3. He is patron of the Universal Church
In 1870, Pius IX declared St. Joesph patron of the Universal Church.
4. A man of many descriptors
In the Litany of St. Joseph, he is referred to as “the terror of demons,” the “glory of home life,” and “model of artisans” amongst other descriptors.
5. Quoteless in the Bible
There is not one single quote from St. Joseph in the Bible, and only a few details of his life were recorded for us.
7. We have tradition on his death
According to tradition, Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, which is why he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death.
8. March is his month
The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph and his primary feast day (Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of Mary) is March 19th.
9. A possible third feast day
It could be argued that St. Joseph has a third feast day since he is a part of the Holy Family and we honor the Feast of the Holy Family on Dec. 30th.
10. Long history of devotion
Devotion for St. Joseph goes back to at least the 9th century, when he was commonly referred to as “nutritor Domini” meaning “guardian of the Lord.”
11. Patron of several countries
He’s also the patron of the Americas, Canada, China, Croatia, Mexico, Korea, Austria, Belgium, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Prayer to St. Joseph:
Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.
Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing
Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.
When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.
(Note: This prayer was taken from the booklet “Devotions to Saint Joseph” by Brian Moore, S.J., printed and published by the Society of St. Paul.)