In an address to the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII proclaimed May 1 (May Day) the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. He thus imparted special religious significance to an observance that had been strictly secular—the proper feast of labor throughout the world—and one that had been used by the enemies of the Church to further their evil designs.
Henceforth, May Day is to be “a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor. Acclaimed in this way by Christian workers and having received as it were a Christian baptism, the First of May, far from being a stimulus for discord, hate, and violence, is and will be a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which is still lacking for social peace.”
Thus, the humble carpenter of Nazareth, who was the support and guardian of the Divine Child and His Virgin Mother on earth, is now honored above all other men as the personification of the dignity of the manual laborer and the provident guardian of the worker’s family.
PRAYER: Lord God, You have created all things, and imposed on man the necessity of work. Grant that, following St. Joseph’s example, and under his protection, we may accomplish the works You give us and obtain the rewards You promise. Amen.