Chaplaincy thoughts for the week: 2 May

Chaplaincy thoughts for the week: 2 May
Chaplain's Reflections - 2nd May 2024

Lessons from St Joseph the Worker 

Earlier this week we celebrated the feast of St Joseph the Worker. Throughout Lent all students were introduced to one of our specific prayer stations with the ‘Sleeping St Joseph’ devotion, and reminded of the great example he gives to us with his care, attention and careful consideration. There is so much we can learn from a man who speaks no words in scripture, who is in the background most of the time, who is seen through action. He taught his foster son, Jesus, the value of hard work. It is likely that the humility Joseph exhibited in recorded Scripture spilled over into the simple approach he took to his work and providing for the Holy Family. We can all learn a great lesson from Saint Joseph, who is also the patron saint of workers, on the value of our daily work and how it should exist to glorify God, support our families and contribute to society. 

Firstly, work has at it’s very core, dignity. Joseph himself was a lowly carpenter, a manual labourer – skilled but not the most financially dependable income. Sometimes in today’s culture, there’s a tendency to look down on those who perform manual labour for a living, but every type of moral job has its worth, and all workers have dignity, no matter how much money they make. We are reminded of this in Catholic Social Teaching. 

Work is also a “daily expression of love.” Pope St John Paul II writes in his encyclical. ‘Guardian of the Redeemer’, “Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth” (22). Every spouse is motivated by a deep love to provide for and take care of their family through work; Joseph was no different. He cared for the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, working in Egypt and then Nazareth to support the Holy Family. 

In 1955, when Pope Pius XII established the feast of St Joseph the Worker, 1 May also marked the communist celebration of May Day. Communism is intrinsically at odds with Christianity; communists call for workers’ rights, but do so in the context of atheism and a forced sharing of property. The feast of St Joseph the Worker, in contrast, reminds us of the dignity of work when it is performed virtuously and ordered toward God’s will. Joseph did what God asked of him time and time again, when the Holy Family was uprooted first to Bethlehem, then to Egypt in order to escape the massacre of the innocents. Joseph protected and raised Jesus, helping to fulfil God’s plan to redeem the world. 

May, the month of Mary3 

As we know the role and importance of Mary, the Mother of God, receives a lot of focus and rightful attention for Catholics, Christians and even Muslims. The month of May is traditionally dedicated to honouring our Blessed Lady. The scriptures record both divine words spoken by Mary and profound actions. The first miracle of Jesus is Mary directing the servants toward Jesus and telling them to do exactly what her Son says, and then right at the end of his life she is sat at the foot of the cross during his crucifixion whilst so many of the disciples have run. Mary’s most beautiful words have become a famous prayer and hymn – ‘The Magnificat’ when Mary visits her cousin, Elizabeth, shortly after her encounter with the angel Gabriel. 

My soul glorifies the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. He looks on his servant in her lowliness; Henceforth all generations will call me blessed. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name! His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. He puts forth his arm in strength And scatters the proud hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones And raises the lowly. He fills the starving with good things, Sends the rich away empty. He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy, the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his sons for ever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

- Parent Prayer 

The next gathering in the school Chapel for a time of prayer for parents, carers and family of St Gregory’s students is Mon 4 June at 8am. We look forward to welcoming many of you once again. 


Matt Robinson

Mr Robinson

Lay Chaplain