American Catholics are blessed with two Labor Days each year. In most of the world May 1 is the official labor holiday, and we join them as we commemorate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
But the U.S. national Labor Day Holiday falls this year on Monday, Sept. 2. We join with our neighbors in honoring all those who work and in praying for justice for all who labor. What are you doing to express your faith this Labor Day in your congregation or community?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has assembled a lot of resources for those who want to use the holiday with reflections on labor and Catholic social teaching in their liturgy or study grou—or even just quietly pray and reflect. Bishop Stephen Blaire's Labor Day Statement is a good place to start (Blaire chairs the Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development). Blaire reminds us:
As individuals and families, as the Church, as community organizations, as businesses, as government, we all have a responsibility to promote the dignity of work and to honor workers' rights...on this Labor Day 2013, let us renew our commitment to promote the dignity of the human person through work that is honorable, pays just wages, and recognizes the God-given dignity of the working person.
The Bishops have aids for parishes commemorating the holiday, including sample prayers of the faithful suitable for use in the mass and questions for discussion afterward. And their Primer on Catholic Social Teaching—a one-page selection of quotations from papal encyclicals and pastoral letters—would make an excellent bulletin insert or handout. Stop by for a visit, and make Labor Day a chance to share the rich traditions of Catholic social thought in a world that badly needs to hear them.