Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
This weekend we celebrate May 1st, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. In this year Pope Francis has dedicated to St. Joseph, I want to turn again to his example of both the dignity of work and fatherhood. That example sheds light on the ways in which God wants to be present in our work and our vocation. I quote here a part of a 1983 homily from St. John Paul II on the feast of St. Joseph. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3329
“Today the Church is honoring St. Joseph, the “just man”, who in the humility of the shop in Nazareth by the work of his own hands, provides support for the Holy Family. Today, therefore, is above all the day of men of work. To you, therefore, workers, farmers, artisans, fishermen, to you workers of the land and the sea, who with daily sweat earn what is necessary for your families, I wish to address in a special way my thought and my word in order to point out for your reflection the example of one who, having shared your experience, can understand your problems; take up your anxieties, direct your efforts toward the building of a better future.
Saint Joseph stands before you as a man of faith and prayer. The Liturgy applies to him the word of God in Psalm 89: “He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the rock, my Savior'” (v. 27). O yes: how many times in the course of long days of work would Joseph have raised his mind to God to invoke him, to offer him his toil, to implore light, help, comfort. How many times! Well then, this man, who with his whole life seemed to cry out to God: “You are my father”, receives this most special grace: the Son of God on earth treats him as his father.
Joseph invokes God with all the ardor of his soul as a believer: “my Father”, and Jesus, who worked at his side with the tools of a carpenter, addressed him calling him “father”.
A profound mystery: Christ, who as God directly experienced the divine fatherhood in the bosom of the Most Blessed Trinity, had this experience as a man through the person of Joseph, his foster father. And Joseph in his turn, in the home in Nazareth, offered the child who was growing beside him the support of his well-balanced virility, his far-sightedness, his courage, his gifts which every good father has, deriving them from that supreme source “from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name” (Eph 3:15).
The great role of fatherhood
A great role, this role of fatherhood, which not a few parents today have tried to abdicate, opting for a relationship on a par with their children, which ends up depriving the children of that psychological support and that moral backing which they need to successfully get through the precarious stage of childhood and early adolescence. Someone has said that today we are experiencing the crisis of a “fatherless society”. We notice ever more clearly the need to be able to count on fathers who can fulfill their role, combining tenderness with seriousness, understanding with strictness, camaraderie with the exercise of authority, because only in this way will children be able to grow harmoniously, overcoming their fears and preparing themselves to meet courageously the unknown factors in life.
But where, dear fathers, will you be able to draw the energy necessary to assume in various circumstances the right attitude that your children, even without knowing it, expect from you? Saint Joseph offers you the answer to this: it is in God, the source of all fatherhood, it is in his way of acting with men, which is revealed to us by Sacred Scripture that you can find the model of a fatherhood capable of making a positive impression on the educational process of your children, not smothering their spontaneity on the one hand, nor abandoning their still immature personality to the traumatizing experiences of insecurity and loneliness on the other.”