|Icon of the Holy Family|
(St. Paul's Catholic Church, Juneau)
It's no secret that the feast of St. Joseph the Worker was originally proposed by the Church in the middle years of the 20th century as an alternative to MayDay out of concern that Catholic workers in Europe were joining militant socialist (and later, communist) trade unions. Yet, this feast has also helped to underscore the dignity of work and of working people in an economic system that too often brazenly exploits manual workers and seeks everyway possible to cut costs (and boost profits) by outsourcing, automating or eliminating their jobs. Catholic social teaching proposes that every form of work has dignity, not only because work is necessary to human survival and flourishing but because work is one of the key ways we participate in society and is an intrinsic part of what it means to be fully human.