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When introducing the year Pope Francis described St Joseph as a father who worked to support his family and found himself in doing so. The importance of work in our lives is picked up in the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. Pope Francis also speaks eloquently of the importance that work plays in any human life: ‘Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour. For both women and men work is an expression of their dignity as human beings. Respect for their dignity demands that they be seen and be able to grow as persons through their work. Respect also demands that people have security of employment and participate in shaping the conditions under which they work. For St Joseph, work was both a gift and a struggle. It remains so today. Because individual workers are weak in relation to employers, and so are at risk of being treated as no more than a cost on their balance sheet or as a tool to be used and discarded, the relationship between them will always need to be negotiated. The Feast of St Joseph the Worker reminds us that this negotiation must be based on respect and its fairness be enforced by governments, which must also be fair to people who are unemployed. .... Fr Andy Hamilton SJ

‘In this time of crisis and pandemic, our lives are sustained by ordinary people who do not appear in the headlines yet mark our lives: “Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understand that no one is saved alone. All the people who work, pray and suffer for the common good “can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble”. .... Pope Francis

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