Acton Institute Powerblog

St. Joseph and the Sanctification of Work

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The Solemnity of St. Joseph is usually celebrated on March 19, but as it fell on the third Sunday of Lent, it has been moved to today, March 20. The Solemnity is also the the former-Joseph Ratzinger’s “onomastico” or name/patron saint’s day.

In addition to being a patron of the universal Church, St. Joseph is also known as the patron saint of workers. For the occasion, Pope Benedict said the following during his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica yesterday (click here for the full English text, courtesy of Zenit):

Work activity must serve the true good of humanity, allowing “man, as individual and member of society, to cultivate and fulfill his full vocation” (“Gaudium et Spes,” No. 35). For this to occur, the necessary technical and professional qualification is not enough; neither is the creation of a just social order attentive to the good of all sufficient. A spirituality must be lived that will help believers to sanctify themselves through their work, imitating St. Joseph, who every day had to provide for the needs of the Holy Family with his hands, and who because of this the Church indicates as patron of workers.

And at the Angelus address, the pope referred to John Paul II’s 1989 apostolic exhortation “Redemptoris Custos”, Custodian of the Redeemer, which is full of remarkable observations on the simple, devout life of Christ’s earthly father. The full text can be found on the Vatican’s website by clicking here.

It’s not too much to read, but there’s a lot to reflect upon, even more to incorporate into our everyday lives, and an excellent way to start a work week!

Kishore Jayabalan Kishore Jayabalan is director of Istituto Acton, the Acton Institute's Rome office. Formerly, he worked for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. Kishore Jayabalan earned a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In college, he was executive editor of The Michigan Review and an economic policy intern for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He worked as an international economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C. and then graduated with an M.A. in political science from the University of Toronto. While in Toronto, Kishore interned in the university's Newman Centre, which led to his appointment to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. Two years later, he returned to Rome to work for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the Holy See's lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. As director of Istituto Acton, Kishore organizes the institute's educational and outreach efforts in Rome and throughout Europe.

Comments

  • I would like to highlight another passage from Pope Benedict’s homily (mentioned below by Kishore) from last Sunday’s homily that has particular relevance to our work at Acton:
    We have listened together to a famous and beautiful passage from