From the Apostolate of Joseph Site:
In 1955 Venerable Pope Pius XII, established the Feast Day of “St. Joseph the Worker” to be celebrated annually on May 1. This date was specifically chosen in order to counteract the predominantly Socialist and Communist holiday “International Workers’ Day,” also known as “May Day.” Pius XII encouraged laborers to look to St. Joseph as their model and to ask for his intercession in their work.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the Holy Family. I like the "realness" of it - the blurry fatigued look on Mary's face with the fat and pink baby boy nursing at her breast, with no thoughts of covering up or modesty because she's in her own home and frankly, when you are as tired as a new mama can be, modesty is the last thing on your mind, while getting that kid to latch on correctly is a small victory! But I also like St. Joseph in the background, doing his labor, hot and dirty but satisfying work that supports his family. I think it is very appropriate for today's feast, Joseph the Worker.
During pregnancy, childbirth and then nursing, Mr. Pete stepped in many times to fulfill his role as worker, but then also to allow me to fulfill my role as mother. Yesterday he drove us to the hospital and then brought me lunch while we waited for Noah to come out of surgery. Later he put new glass in a window that Gabe had accidentally broken at his home, and showed Izzy how to do it! He's a teaching dad. I imagine St. Joseph was a teaching dad too.
I think that is why on the first day of May, a month where we honor Mary, we give a nod to St. Joseph. And that's as it should be. Joseph, blessed spouse and beloved foster father made it easier for Mary to fulfill her role as mother and homemaker. His work as a carpenter sustained the family.
What a wonderful feast in the liturgical year and a good day to remember the husbands and fathers in our own little domestic churches.
O glorious Patriarch, Saint Joseph, humble and just artisan of Nazareth, thou hast given to all Christians and particularly to us an example of a perfect life through diligent labor and admirable union with Jesus and Mary. Assist us in our daily work in order that we, Catholic artisans, may also see in it an effective means of glorifying God, of sanctifying ourselves, and of being a useful member in the society in which we live. These should be the highest ideals for all our actions.
O dearest Protector, obtain for us from the Lord humility and simplicity of heart, love for our work and kindness towards our fellow-laborers; conformity to God's will in the unavoidable trials of this life together with joy in bearing them; recognition of our specific social mission and a sense of responsibility; the spirit and discipline of prayer; docility and respectfulness towards superiors; the spirit of brotherhood towards our equals; charity and indulgence with our dependents.
Accompany us in times of prosperity when the opportunity is given for an honest enjoyment of the fruits of our labors; sustain us in our hours of sadness, when Heaven seems to be shut in our regard, and even the very tools with which our hands toil appear to rebel against us.
Grant that, in imitation of thee, we may keep our eyes fixed on our Mother, Mary, thy dearest Spouse, who as she spun silently in a corner of thy shop would let the sweetest smile course over her lips. Besides, may we never take our eyes off Jesus, Who was busily occupied with thee at the carpenter’s bench, in order that we in like manner may lead on earth a peaceful and a holy life, a prelude to the life of eternal happiness that awaits us in Heaven forever and ever. +Amen.
See my St. Joseph links on del.icio.us
Father Lawrence OP via flickr, licensed cc