May 1 is the feast day in honor of St. Joseph the Worker. This year, this feast takes on special significance here in the Diocese of Green Bay since we are celebrating a special year of prayer in honor of St. Joseph. Many people are praying the diocesan prayer and the Litany to St. Joseph at home, especially appropriate since part of our diocesan effort is dedicated to St. Joseph as pillar and protector of the family.
The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was initiated in 1955 by Pope Pius XII. May 1, or May Day, had been a day to recognize workers, especially amongst socialists and communists. Pope Pius wanted to elevate the dignity of work beyond the secular ideas of it. By connecting this celebration to St. Joseph, who has traditionally been an example for and patron of workers, Pope Pius drew attention to the fact that work is not simply about the material world; there is a spiritual dimension to it.