Easter: May 1st
Ascension of the Lord or Optional Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker
Other Commemorations: St. Joseph the Worker; St. Peregrine, priest & religious (Hist)
Regarding the Ascension of the Lord, the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and the State of Nebraska have retained its celebration on the proper Thursday, while all other provinces have transferred this solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. If transferred, today is observed either as an Easter Weekday or the optional memorial of St. Joseph the Worker.The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in order to Christianize the concept of labor and give to all workmen a model and a protector. By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers. "Workmen and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares"(Leo XIII).
Besides the hope and the joyful expectancy of heaven so characteristic of the Ascension feast there is a note of melancholy. Before the final departure of Jesus, the Apostles must have been very much disturbed: each felt the distress of one who sees his dearest friend and companion going away forever, and finds himself alone to face all the difficulties of life. The Lord realized their state of mind and consoled them once more, promising the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter: "He commanded them," we read in the Epistle (Acts 1:1-11), "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father... you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days hence." But even this time the Apostles did not understand how much they needed to be enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish the great mission which was to be entrusted to them! Jesus continued, "You shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you and you shall be witnesses unto Me ... even to the uttermost part of the earth." For the moment, however, they were there, around the Master, weak, timid, frightened, like little children watching their mother leave for a distant, unknown land. In fact, "while they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Two angels came to distract them from their great amazement and to make them realize what had happened. Then, placing their trust in the word of Jesus, which would henceforth be their only support, they returned to Jerusalem where, in the Cenacle, they awaited in prayer the fulfillment of the promise. It was the first novena in preparation for Pentecost: "All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with ... Mary, the Mother of Jesus" (ibid. 1:14). Silence, recollection, prayer, peace with our brethren, and union with Mary: these are the characteristics of the novena we too should make in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Excerpted from Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
St. Joseph the Worker
"May Day" has long been dedicated to labor and the working man. It falls on the first day of the month that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that this feast would accentuate the dignity of labor and would bring a spiritual dimension to labor unions. It is eminently fitting that St. Joseph, a working man who became the foster-father of Christ and patron of the universal Church, should be honored on this day.
- May 1 is celebrated in Communist countries as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers. Today would be a good day to pray for atheistic Communism's influence to cease and a proper application of the principles explained by Leo XIII in Rerum novarum and John Paul II in Centesimus annus to be the guide used by nations.
- Read St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 and Every Day in the National Catholic Register
- Consider purchasing and reading Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father
As a young man St. Peregrine was a member of an anti-papal party until he encountered St. Philip Benizi, the head of the Servite order, who had been sent to try to reconcile the divided community. While trying to preach in Forli, Philip was heckled and even struck by Peregrine, who was overcome by momentary political fervor. But that moment also changed Peregrine. He began to channel his energies in new directions, engaged in good works and eventually joined the Servites in Siena and went on to be ordained a priest. Returning to his home town, he founded a new Servite house there and became well known for his preaching and holiness as well as his devotion to the sick and poor.
- Read more about St. Peregrine here