Today is the Feast of Saint Joseph, the Worker.
The Carmelite Order has had a particular devotion to Saint Joseph for many centuries, venerating him with the title "Principal Protector of the Carmelite Order". Since Joseph cared for Mary and Christ in a particular way, we believe that he also cares for the Carmelite Order which is devoted to Mary and Christ. Saint Teresa of Avila had great devotion to Joseph and saw him as a protector of her new foundations.
Why does Saint Joseph have two feast days?
During the Middle Ages, the feast of Saint Joseph on 19 March became popular when it was promoted by Servite and Franciscan preachers. Pope Sixtus IV (1471 - 1484) extended the 19 March feast to the church in Rome, and it eventually became a universal feast in the 16th century when the Council of Trent revised the Breviary and Missal.
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) described Saint Joseph as patron of the whole Church: “This is his numberless family … because he is the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus.”
The Carmelites observed a feast to honour the Patronage of Saint Joseph on the third Wednesday after Easter. In 1955, Pope Pius XII (1939 - 1958) replaced that feast with the 1 May celebration that honours Joseph the Worker. He intended the feast to acknowledge Christian workers’ value and pay tribute to the nobility of human labour.
Earlier, Pope Francis continued this intention when he wrote on Twitter: “Today is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and also International Labour Day. Let us #PrayTogether for all workers, so that no one might be without work and all might be paid a just wage. May all benefit from the dignity of work and the beauty of rest”.
As Principal Protector of the Carmelite Order, may Saint Joseph guide and support all our labours for the Kingdom of God. In our prayers, we can turn to Joseph and pray that he will care for us in difficult times when loving protection is needed.
Let us pray..
God our Father,
creator and ruler of the universe,
in every age you call humanity
to develop and use our gifts
for the good of others.
With Saint Joseph as our example and guide,
help us to do the work you have asked
and come to the life you have promised.
We ask this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
SAINT JOSEPH, PRAY FOR US.