St. Joseph: The Patron Saint of the Workers

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D.

May 1, 2022


Today is May 1, Labor Day and St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of the Workers


Yet, the workers across the globe are in great pandemonium. I can't wait to know how my esteemed Saint Joseph would react to the plight of his fellow workers if he were here with us today.

With lockdowns, curfews, no work, no pay, no stimulus, no other income, the world's labor sector is very restive, with no food to lay down on their tables, even as the rich continue to flaunt their wealth in public with no masks, heartily feasting and reaping on the extravagant smorgasbord of global pandemics through their shares, commissions, and wily maneuvers to empty the coffers of our national treasures.

Would St. Joseph recruit 12 apostles and establish an international labor union? Or, like his son Jesus, would he defy religious and non-profit institutions of Church-run establishments that continue to exploit, even enslave their workers?

Many did but ended up being bribed, selling their fellow workers, or silenced, accused as threats to the company's security, and outrightly terminated with no retirement benefits and other job-related perks.

Would St. Joseph join the rich in eating the wide array of expensive smorgasbord of global pandemics? Or, would he just prefer to be quarantined so that he and his family would not get infected and contaminated by the deadly virus?

Would the low-born furniture trader, a saint at that, join street demonstrations bearing placards to stop lockdowns, open work establishments, and lambast our political leaders and business conglomerates?

Would he go underground and play the role of an agent provocateur organizing rallies every now and then in order to create a national-security crisis (homeland securities be alerted) and risk being tear-gassed, water-cannoned, and arrested, incarcerated for life, or even salvaged and mutilated?

Would the industrious holy laborer be ready to stand out and shout that the workers and the poor of the world are worth dying for?

Or, would he just remain silent and simply mind his family-owned carpentry shop so he can ensure feeding his growing family and at the same time protect them from any pandemic?

Or, would the lowly carpenter just wait for all our leaders to be infected with the deadly coronavirus and pray that they all die because hospitals are full and front liners are disappearing, exhausted, sick, or also dying?

More pragmatically, would he just wait for the coming Messiahs to appear in the coming national elections, of which many are already queueing and lining, while busily cooking up campaign strategies, amassing themselves with stacks of gold for the coming nationwide campaign,

What will St. Joseph’s father Laban and mother Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve members of the tribe of Israel, advise him?

Would they support and stay by his side in whatever he is doing? In any scenario, would he be doing his father's will? Coincidentally, Laban means "fight" in the vernacular and is the name of a still-existing political party here now competing for the electoral race.

While it's the best time for the workers and people to unite and take action, would our beloved St. Joseph wait, stop, look, and listen, like Julius Caesar leading a huge army, before he leaped and crossed the Rubicon?

It's easy for the West to criticize and sing praises to their Third-World colonial and labor practices, justifying themselves by alleging that the wages they are paying in the least developed economies are substantially higher than our domestic wages.

But the truth is that their giant establishments aren't playing a vital role at all in the industrial development of poor countries. What they have done instead is demolish small-scale and family-owned cottage industries, even grabbing lands of small farmers and landowners in the name of industrialization, and emptying our rich natural and human resources.

In the final analysis, each of us is left on our own to protect ourselves and our families. I'll be careful so that the global smorgasbord of pandemics will not spill over to inflict me and my family. Let's don on all our protective and safety gear.

I too am incapacitated and disabled because of my senior vulnerability. I can only shout out with others like a roaring lion patiently waiting for, I don't know what.

In hindsight, yes, St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, will not come on May 1. But, while we continue to celebrate him as our patron saint, many will come in his name, laying down free eat-all-you-can food on the world's smorgasbord table as an alternative to the luxurious array of pandemic foods of the rich and famous, to all the more heighten the confusion and militancy of the workers and the people worldwide against today's pandemics.

I wonder how labor leaders and their members celebrate Labor Day today. Will the elected labor leaders be the promised Messiah that could break the vicious cycle of wage increases and inflation?

What happens to the deceptive profit sharing promoted by DOLE and some giant multinational corporations? Total failure! A band-aid solution that all the more ties the workers to perpetual debt and slavery.

How about co-ownership of the company? Good luck, fellow workers of the world. You are the most divided sector of society. You’re in fact the root of the problem.

That’s why I’ll pray and plead to St Joseph:

"Blessed St. Joseph, patron of all working people, thank you for the opportunity to build up God’s kingdom through my labors. Help me to be conscientious in my work so that I may give as full a measure as I have received.

"May I do all things in a spirit of thankfulness and joy, ever mindful of the gifts I have received from God that enable me to perform these tasks? Permit me to work in peace, patience, and moderation, keeping in mind the account I must one day give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vanity of success, so fatal to the work of God. Glorious St. Joseph, may my labors be all for Jesus, all through Mary, and all after your holy example in life and in death. Amen."

And then I sing:

"We shall not, we shall not be moved

We shall not, we shall not be moved

Just like a tree that's standing by the water

We shall not be moved."

Or perhaps the “Internationale”!

Anyway, let’s celebrate the Labor Day!

Mother Mary and Baby Jesus in various religious traditions

Aug 15, 2016