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Saint Joseph the Worker

Why was Saint Joseph chosen as the patron saint of workers? There have been many saints who were noted for their work and tireless efforts in God's service.

Perhaps it was the fact that he received his employment directly from God, through a message from an angel: he was to care for Mary and her child Jesus. In order to provide for his family he had to earn a living through the trade of a carpenter.

We can be sure that Joseph carried out his work cheerfully, efficiently and conscientiously. It must have been a pleasure to work for such a perfect and lovable family. We are not all as fortunate as he was. We may have to work with difficult or unpleasant people, and our families and employers may not always appreciate what we do for them!

Our work may be boring, repetitive and unsatisfying but even greater problems are faced by those without a job. Some of the unemployed know how soul-destroying it is to search for work, to fill in application forms, attend interviews and be constantly rejected. They know the guilt and misery of being unable to provide for their own families.

What is the purpose of our work? Obviously, we need to earn a living, but some people go far beyond what is necessary. They are workaholics, unable to slow down, relax or spend time with their family. There are greedy, ruthlessly ambitious people who will trample on everyone else as they strive to reach the top of the career ladder. They may gain a great deal materially but they miss out on so much of the real quality of life.

When we speak of work, how exactly do we define it? ls it simply and solely paid employment? Let's remember the housewives and the voluntary workers, many of whom work just as hard as the wage-earners but receive no pay and, sometime, little appreciation.

St. Joseph, because he is their patron, knows the problems of workers and non-workers alike - and he cares for them all. Whatever our work difficulties we can always turn to him to help us cope. So today let us not miss the opportunity of confiding in St. Joseph concerning our work, or lack of it. If we believe in prayer, he will help us to put all our problems in perspective.

Saint Joseph, patron of workers, pray for us.