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:


St. Joseph is the best protector to help you in your life, to penetrate the spirit of the Gospel. Indeed, from the Heart of the God-Man, Savior of the world, this spirit is infused in you and in all men, but it is certain that there was no worker’s spirit so perfectly and deeply penetrated as the putative father of Jesus, who lived with him in the closest intimacy and community of family and work. So, if you want to be close to Christ, I repeat to you “Ite ad Ioseph”: Go to Joseph! – Ven. Pius XII, Address to Italian Workers, 1 May 1955

 

Venerable Pope Pius XII, 11 March 1958:  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.

 

 PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH MODEL OF WORKERS

COMPOSED BY VENERABLE POPE PIUS XII

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.