To foster deep devotion to St. Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955.

This feast extends the long relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers in Catholic faith and devotion. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, the dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Genesis 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. St. Joseph, the carpenter, and foster father of Jesus is but one example of the holiness of human labor.

Jesus, too, was a carpenter. He learned the trade from St. Joseph and spent his early adult years working side by side in Joseph’s carpentry shop before leaving to pursue his ministry as preacher and healer. In his encyclical Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II stated: “the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide (social) changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and society.”

St. Joseph is held up as a model of such work. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work.”

From: St. Joseph the Worker | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from