Here is a translation of the text of a Letter that Pope Francis sent today to Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo, president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, for the feast, on August 7, of Saint Cajetan (San Gaetano da Thiene), especially venerated in Argentina as “Patron of Bread and Work.”
* * *
Vatican, August 1, 2016
H.E.R. Monsignor Jose Maria Arancedo
President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference
In a few days we will celebrate the feast of Saint Cajetan. Through you, I wish to have my greeting and blessing reach the many men and women who will gather in the different churches of the country dedicated to the Saint, to pray for bread and work or to be grateful for the fact that they have them.
I am moved when remembering August 7 in Buenos Aires – the Mass in the Liniers Shrine and then the long line of people up to the Velez Stadium. To greet, to listen and to support the faith of those simple people … and, so often, facing the anguish of men and women that want and seek work and do not find it. I was only able to shake their hands, caress them, look into their tearful pain-ridden eyes, and weep within. Yes, weep, because it is hard in one’s life to come across a father of a family who wants to work and has no possibility to do so.
We pray to Saint Cajetan for bread and work. Bread is easier to have because there is always a good person or institution that provides it, at least in Argentina, where our people are so solidaristic. There are places in the world that do not even have that possibility. But work is so difficult to obtain, especially as we continue to live moments in which the rates of unemployment are significantly high. Bread solves a part of the problem, but only half of it, because that bread is not the one earned with one’s work. It is one thing to have bread to eat at home and another to bring it home as the fruit of one’s work. That is what confers dignity.
When we ask for work we are asking to be able to sense our dignity and, in this celebration of Saint Cajetan, we pray for that dignity that work confers on us: to be able to bring bread home. That Work, which together with Roof and Land is in the basic framework of Human Rights. And when we ask for work to bring bread home, we are asking for dignity.
The wisdom of our people uses a saying to label one who, though able to work, does not do so: “He lives from above.” And our people scorn those that “live from above,” because, artfully, they perceive in them a certain lack of dignity.
Dear Arancedo: In this feast of Saint Cajetan, may all of us Bishops be able to accompany our brothers that ask for bread and work. And may we do so with affection, closeness and prayer; and, let us also ask for that grace for ourselves: may work never be lacking, that work to which the Lord sends us and which confers dignity on us.
Please, do not forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin care for you.
Francis[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]