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Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker

Reading 1 Gn 1:26B-2:3

God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground." God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth." God also said: "See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food."

And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.


“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

In my youth, May was always an exciting time of the year with Easter sifting in recent memory and spring filling my surroundings with new life. One spring stands out in my memory in second grade. The second-grade classes performed for the annual end of year program at my elementary school. My class was chosen to close the show, with a song and dance around the May pole. At the very end of the song, we intertwined the multi-colored ribbons flowing from the top of the pole. It was the only time I performed on stage and I still remember the applause.

Little did I know of the historical roots of the May pole, where pagan rituals of fertility were celebrated on the first of May in different regions of the world. In the mid-20th century, the Communist celebrated worker’s day on this May Day. Pope Pius XII wanted to turn this widely celebrated non-Christian day, into a feast day all Christians could embrace. In 1955, he instituted a feast day for the head of the Holy Family, St. Joseph, the Worker. This pope turned our attention to a very important person in the Holy Family and the holy ways we should live our lives.

Today, we are blessed to be celebrating not only this feast day, but the year of St. Joseph as declared by Pope Francis. Just like you and I, St. Joseph was made in the divine image of God. However, God created this humble carpenter for a special vocation. St. Joseph was to rule and serve the household of God. Out of all creation, St. Joseph was entrusted with God’s only begotten Son and the redeemer of the world. What graces he must have been given to be able to perform his duty and to be in the presence of God day and night!

God creates in an orderly and specific fashion to serve a purpose. He has given us St. Joseph, a model father, to run to when we need help. Let us give our daily work to the Lord, but look to St. Joseph as Jesus did.


PAPA Foundation
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