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Catechesis by Papa Francis on Saint Joseph the Worker
General Audience, Feast of St Joseph the Worker, 1 May 2013 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning,
Today, 1st May, we celebrate St Joseph the Worker and begin the month traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. In our encounter this morning, I want to focus on these two figures, so important in the life of Jesus, the Church and in our lives, with two brief thoughts: the first on work, the second on the contemplation of Jesus.

1. In the Gospel of St Matthew, in one of the moments when Jesus returns to his town, to Nazareth, and speaks in the Synagogue, the amazement of his fellow townspeople at his wisdom is emphasized. They asked themselves the question: “Is not this the carpenter's son?” (13:55). Jesus comes into our history, he comes among us by being born of Mary by the power of God, but with the presence of St Joseph, the legal father who cares for him and also teaches him his trade. Jesus is born and lives in a family, in the Holy Family, learning the carpenter’s craft from St Joseph in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the commitment, effort, satisfaction and also the difficulties of every day.

This reminds us of the dignity and importance of work. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created man and woman entrusting them with the task of filling the earth and subduing it, which does not mean exploiting it but nurturing and protecting it, caring for it through their work (cf. Gen 1:28; 2:15). Work is part of God’s loving plan, we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way share in the work of creation! Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use a metaphor, “anoints” us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts (cf. Jn 5:17); it gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation. And here I think of the difficulties which, in various countries, today afflict the world of work and business today; I am thinking of how many, and not only young people, are unemployed, often due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks profit selfishly, beyond the parametres of social justice.

I wish to extend an invitation to solidarity to everyone, and I would like to encourage those in public office to make every effort to give new impetus to employment, this means caring for the dignity of the person, but above all I would say do not lose hope. St Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us. And then I would like to speak especially to you young people: be committed to your daily duties, your studies, your work, to relationships of friendship, to helping others; your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, of sacrifice and do not view the future with fear. Keep your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon.

I would like to add a word about another particular work situation that concerns me: I am referring to what we could define as “slave labour”, work that enslaves. How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, when the person is at the service of his or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity. I ask my brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat the trafficking in persons, in which “slave labour” exists.

2. With reference to the second thought: in the silence of the daily routine, St Joseph, together with Mary, share a single common centre of attention: Jesus. They accompany and nurture the growth of the Son of God made man for us with commitment and tenderness, reflecting on everything that happened. In the Gospels, St Luke twice emphasizes the attitude of Mary, which is also that of St Joseph: she “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19,51). To listen to the Lord, we must learn to contemplate, feel his constant presence in our lives and we must stop and converse with him, give him space in prayer. Each of us, even you boys and girls, young people, so many of you here this morning, should ask yourselves: “how much space do I give to the Lord? Do I stop to talk with him?” Ever since we were children, our parents have taught us to start and end the day with a prayer, to teach us to feel that the friendship and the love of God accompanies us. Let us remember the Lord more in our daily life!

And in this month of May, I would like to recall the importance and beauty of the prayer of the Holy Rosary. Reciting the Hail Mary, we are led to contemplate the mysteries of Jesus, that is, to reflect on the key moments of his life, so that, as with Mary and St Joseph, he is the centre of our thoughts, of our attention and our actions. It would be nice if, especially in this month of May, we could pray the Holy Rosary together in the family, with friends, in the parish, or some prayer to Jesus and the Virgin Mary! Praying together is a precious moment that further strengthens family life, friendship! Let us learn to pray more in the family and as a family!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask St Joseph and the Virgin Mary to teach us to be faithful to our daily tasks, to live our faith in the actions of everyday life and to give more space to the Lord in our lives, to pause to contemplate his face. Thank you."


"Bienvenus chers pèlerins francophones venant de Belgique et de France. J’adresse un salut particulier aux pèlerins de l’Archidiocèse de Paris et des différentes paroisses, ainsi qu’aux jeunes! Je vous invite tous à apprendre à prier en famille et comme famille! Quant à vous chers jeunes, que chacun mette du sien dans ses devoirs quotidiens, ses études, son travail, ses amitiés et dans sa vie de charité. Bon pèlerinage à tous!

I am pleased to greet the many pilgrimage groups present at today’s Audience, including those from the Archdiocese of Gwangju in South Korea. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord.

Mit Freude heiße ich alle deutschsprachigen Pilger willkommen, insbesondere die vielen Schützen aus Deutschland. Wie Maria und Josef wollen wir in der Gegenwart des Herrn leben. Das Beten des Rosenkranzes hilft uns, an der Seite Marias die Geheimnisse des Lebens Jesu zu betrachten. Es wäre schön, gerade im Marienmonat Mai in den Familien gemeinsam den Rosenkranz zu beten. Das gemeinsame Gebet festigt das Familienleben. Beten wir wieder mehr in unseren Familien. Dann wächst der Glaube und kann der Herr in uns und durch uns wirken. Die Heilige Familie schütze euch alle.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, Argentina, Costa Rica, Perú, Chile, México y los demás países latinoamericanos. Pidamos a san José y a la Virgen María que nos enseñen a ser fieles en nuestro trabajo cotidiano y a afrontar con fe las vicisitudes de cada día. Muchas gracias.

Dirijo uma cordial saudação a todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nomeadamente aos grupos de brasileiros presentes nesta Audiência. Neste mês mariano, com a ajuda de Nossa Senhora e São José, buscai contemplar mais intensamente a face do Senhor Jesus para que Ele seja o centro dos vossos pensamentos, das vossas ações, da vossa vida. Grazie.

كلمات الأب الأقدس للحجاج الناطقين باللغة العربية:

أيها الأخوات والإخوة الأحباء الناطقون باللغة العربية! لا تخافوا من الالتزام، ومن التضحية، ولا تنظروا إلى المستقبل بخوف؛ بل احتفظوا برجاء حي لأن هناك دائما شعاع نور يطل في الأفق. ولا تنسوا الصلاة، وخاصة تلاوة المسبحة المقدسة، طالبين من القديس يوسف، ومن العذراء مريم، نعمة أمانة الالتزام اليومي: إعطوا للرب مكانا أكبر في حياتكم. أمنح للجميع البركة الرسولية !

Dzisiaj, w drugą rocznicę beatyfikacji Jana Pawła II, szczególnie witam przybyłych na audiencję Polaków. Pozdrawiam liczną pielgrzymkę z Diecezji kaliskiej i grupę z Sanktuarium z Pólka. Pozdrawiam kleryków i ich moderatorów z Seminariów Duchownych w Pelplinie i w Białymstoku. Niech wasze życie przenika przykład wiary, miłości i odwaga apostolska Jana Pawła II. W modlitwie wypraszam dla was wszystkich, dla Kościoła i całej Polski, opiekę Matki Bożej i potrzebne dary Bożej Opatrzności. Z serca wam błogosławię.

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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto i sacerdoti del Pontificio Collegio Missionario San Paolo, i sacerdoti e seminaristi di Vicenza, e i seminaristi dell’Opera Don Guanella. Saluto poi i religiosi della Società delle Missioni Africane e le Figlie della Presentazione di Maria Santissima al Tempio, che celebrano i rispettivi Capitoli generali. Saluto i fedeli delle numerose parrocchie, come pure le Associazioni, i Gruppi Scout e le varie realtà ecclesiali. Possa questo incontro rafforzare in ciascuno un generoso impegno di fedeltà alla propria vocazione e di testimonianza cristiana. Desidero infine rivolgermi, come di consueto, ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. Cari giovani, siate innamorati di Cristo, per seguirlo con slancio e fedeltà. Voi, cari ammalati, immergete le vostre sofferenze nel mistero d’amore del Sangue del Redentore. E voi, cari sposi novelli, col vostro reciproco e fedele amore siate segno eloquente dell’amore di Cristo per la Chiesa. Grazie."