The Year of St. Joseph

In the list of the feast days during the week St. Joseph is recognised as ‘the worker’. He was a carpenter and had to work to put food on the table. The understanding of the dignity of work was something very dear to Pope Saint John Paul II. He dedicated a document, “Laborem exercens”, to it:

The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God himself, his Creator, was given particular prominence by Jesus Christ, the Jesus at whom many of his first listeners in Nazareth “were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? Is not this the carpenter?’ For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost fulfilled by his deeds the “gospel”, the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been entrusted to him. Therefore this was also “the gospel of work”, because he who proclaimed it was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth. And if we do not find in his words a special command to work – but rather on one occasion a prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life – at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: he belongs to the “working world”, he has appreciation and respect for human work.