St Joseph the Worker

On 1 May the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St Joseph the Worker. So each year the Australian Catholic Bishops take this opportunity to reflect on issues concerning the world of work. Their letters have addressed unemployment, underemployment, insecure and casualised work, the meaning of work, the quest for decent work and much more. Thus they have developed a body of teaching on work. Furthermore, their annual Pastoral Letters for this occasion offer a uniquely Australian contribution to Catholic Social Teaching.

Feast of St Joseph the Worker Pastoral Message 2020

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, issued a Pastoral Message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. The Message and accompanying video focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our work lives. Bishop Vincent says “this major shock to our community, and our economy, could provide an opportunity to reset our thinking about…

Jesus Christ was a worker – a carpenter – whose teachings and parables evoked again and again the lives of the people among whom he had come to live. He spoke the language of farm workers, fishermen, builders, shepherd and all men and women who toiled at work and in the home for the care of their children and families.

Bishop Christopher Saunders, Forward, Catholic Social Justice Series No 66.

Recent Pastoral Letters on Work

Collections of Pastoral Letters

Two papers in the Catholic Social Justice Series provide convenient collections of the Australian Bishops’ Pastoral Letters on work issues.

Pastoral Letters for 1998-2009

Cover of Catholic Social Justice Series Paper No 66, Work and Dignity: Pastoral Letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 1998-2009.

Catholic Social Justice Series No 66 collects the first eleven pastoral letters and includes a foreword by Bishop Christopher Saunders.

Pastoral Letters for 2010-2015

Cover of Catholic Social Justice Series paper No 78, Putting People First: Pastoral Letters for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker 2010-2015.

Catholic Social Justice Series No 78 presents the next five pastoral letters and includes an introduction by Professor Paul Smyth.