“We ask Saint Joseph to help us fight for the dignity of work…”
On today’s Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, this May 1st, Pope Francis encouraged those watching his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta to join him in this prayer, reported Vatican News.
At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of Coronavirus, Francis prayed for all workers, and for the world of work as a whole.
The Pontiff expressed his hope that there one day could exist a world where no one is without work, and from that work, is shown dignity and given a just wage.
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on work, and how many times workers are treated poorly, as well as those suffering since they have no work at all. Francis underscored the need for just conditions and for dignity to be respected.
“Today we join the many men and women, believers and non-believers, who commemorate the Day of the Worker, Labor Day, for those that fight to have justice in work, for those — good businessmen — that go work forward with justice,” Francis applauded.
“Two months ago,” Pope Francis recalled, “I heard a businessman on the phone here, in Italy, who asked me to pray for him because he didn’t want to dismiss anyone and he said this: “Because to dismiss one of them is to dismiss myself.”
“It is the awareness of many, many good businessmen,” the Argentine Pontiff praised, “who protect workers as if they were their children.”
“We pray for them too,” he added.
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “we ask Saint Joseph — with this very beautiful icon [here in the church] with work tools in hand –, to help us fight for the dignity of work, so that there is work for all, and that it is fitting work, not the work of a slave.”
“Let this be today’s prayer,” he said.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.
Likewise, the Pope had a private Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, with very limited participation by others, at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. One could watch via streaming.
It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.
In Italy where more than 26,000 people have died from coronavirus, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been eleven cases of coronavirus in the Vatican, confirmed a statement yesterday from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.
The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is available below:
FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
“So God created” (Genesis 1:27). A Creator; He created the world; He created man and gave man a mission: to manage, work and take creation forward. And the word “work” is that which the Bible uses to describe this activity of God. “God finished His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done” (Genesis 2:2), and He consigns this activity to man: You must do this, protect that <and> the other; you must work with Me to create — it’s as if He said thus — this world, so that it goes forward (Cf. Genesis 2:15.19-20). To such a point that work is but the continuation of God’s work: human work is man’s vocation received from God at the end of the creation of the universe.
And work is what renders man similar to God, because, with work, man is a creator, he is capable of creating, of creating many things, also of creating a family to go forward. Man is a creator and he creates with work. This is <his> vocation. And the Bible says: “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). That is, work has goodness within itself and it creates the harmony of things — beauty, goodness — and it involves the whole of man: his thought, his action, everything. Man is involved in work. To work is man’s first vocation. And this gives man dignity, the dignity that makes him like God — the dignity of work.
Once, in a Caritas, a dependent of Caritas said to a man who didn’t have work and had gone to find something for his family: “At least, you can take bread home” — “But this isn’t enough for me, it’s not sufficient,” was the <man’s> answer. “I want to earn the bread I take home. He was lacking dignity, the dignity of “making” the bread with his work, and taking it home; the dignity of work that, unfortunately, is so trampled. We have read in history the brutality they did with slaves: they took them from Africa to America — I think of that story, which touches my land — and we say: “how much barbarity” . . . However, today also, there are so many slaves, so many men and women that are not free to work: they are constrained to work to survive, nothing more. They are slaves: forced labour — there is forced, unjust, badly paid labour, which leads man to live with his dignity trampled. There are so many, so many in the world, so many. We read in the newspapers some months ago how, in a country of Asia, a man had beaten to death one of his dependents who earned less than half a dollar a day, because he had done something badly. Today’s slavery is our “in-dignity,” because it takes dignity away from man, from woman, from all of us. “No, I work; I have my dignity”: yes, but your brothers don’t. “Yes, Father, it’s true, but this, as it’s so far away, it’s hard for me to understand it. But here with us . . . “: also, here, with us; here with us. Think of the labourers, of the day labourers, which you make work for a minimum recompense and not eight, not twelve, <but> fourteen hours a day: this happens here today, in the whole world, but also here. Think of the domestic servant who doesn’t have a just recompense, who doesn’t have social security assistance, and has no pension capacity: this doesn’t happen only in Asia, but here too. Every injustice done to a person that works is to trample human dignity, also the dignity of the one who does the injustice: the level is lowered and ends in that dictator-slave tension. Instead, the vocation God gives us is so beautiful: to create, to recreate, to work. However, this can be done when the conditions are just and the person’s dignity is respected.
Today we join the many men and women, believers and non-believers, who commemorate the Day of the Labourer, Labour Day, for those that fight to have justice in work, for those — good businessmen — that take work forward with justice, even if they lose us. Two months ago, I heard a businessman on the phone here, in Italy, who asked me to pray for him because he didn’t want to dismiss anyone and he said this: “Because to dismiss one of them is to dismiss myself.” <It is the> awareness of many, many good businessmen, who protect workers as if they were their children. We pray for them too. And we ask Saint Joseph — with this very beautiful icon [here in the church] with work tools in hand –, to help us fight for the dignity of work, so that there is work for all, and that it is fitting work, not the work of a slave. Let this be today’s prayer.
The Pope Invited to Make a Spiritual Communion with this Prayer:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer You the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness and in your holy Presence. I adore You in the Sacrament of your Love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive You in my poor abode, which my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May your love be able to inflame my whole being in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You.
The Holy Father then ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Before leaving the Chapel, the Marian antiphon Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide.
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,
Is Risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).